IxD and strategy

On the IxDA list, Dan Saffer of Kicker Studios (and perhaps the next luminary of interaction design? :-) asks this simple question: What should interaction designers know about strategy…in reference to an upcoming chapter for his 2nd Rev of Designing for Interaction. Great discussion on the list, some wonderful nuggets of wisdom. Here’s my take:

For me, strategy is inextricably related to leadership (or being a design visionary commanding a design strategy).

So then the question might really be: what are the leadership qualities needed to a) properly envision a compelling, valuable, integrative design concept and b) enable its fruition into a real product for the business, looking across markets/cycles/platforms/eco-systems, etc.

I’ve written about this on my blog recently:
http://www.ghostinthepixel.com/?p=162

(Based upon a talk I gave at IDSA few years ago)

One of the major points in my view, is that IxD’ers should be like ecologists, conscious of the integrated system of invisible consequences. A corollary is that asking critical questions driven by a set of conceptual frameworks is necessary for the IxD to identify the right problems to address.

Also, when I think of what i need to know about “design strategy” I often go back to Vogel/Cagan’s “Creating Breakthrough Products” as the prime textbook on this, framed as an interdisciplinary product development challenge. Kahney’s “Inside Steve’s Brain” has many tasty morsels (the evolution of Apple’s “digital lifestyle” strategy), as does Robert Brunner’s recent “Do you matter”.

To dig even deeper, Tony-Golsby Smith at 2nd Road, Jeanne Liedtke at Darden/UVA are pushing the boundaries of strategy as argument/conversations, which inherently involve the concepts of “interaction” albeit for slightly different purposes and audiences (4th order systems, etc.). This maybe more advanced level of understanding however…

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