Strategy

Book Notes: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

Book Notes: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

Notes (quotes, really) from Dan Hill’s Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. A Strategic Design Vocabulary. Some of these are a tad out of context. I’d read the book if I were you. It’s very good, short and has both high level strategy ideas and lower level tactical examples. What gives designers the right to approach such complex areas, usually the domain of political scientists and civil servants? Aren’t these essentially beyond the capacity and capability — if not remit — of design? Culture is not something that can be designed, after all; is it even ethical to consider that it could be? However, a…

UX Agencies Sell (and Clients Buy) Informed Decision Making

UX Agencies Sell (and Clients Buy) Informed Decision Making

What is User Experience (UX)? UX is a process, an approach, a way of thinking and an outcome. Outcome, in particular, is the key aspect to UX’s value. Are you solving a real problem? Are you tackling something meaningful to people? Are you bettering the organization, the system, the… whatever? I hope so. Otherwise, you’re selling an inferior product (be it a physical thing, a service, an idea, etc.). Let’s also be clear that outcomes are not journey maps or competitive analyses or any number of other artifacts that will be generated during the course of a project. As much…

Change and the Habit of the Present

Christina Wodtke gave some needed depth to an old cliché: people don’t like change. Whether or not change is adopted, she argues, is not determined by a simplistic and innate dislike for new things. It’s determined by how well the change is communicated and how smoothly people transition to it. Wodtke writes: “…when a big change comes, the end user is focused on what they have lost: productivity, comfort, familiarity. And the user weighs that loss as three times more important that any gain that company professes to offer.” Her thoughts are like those that underly the ‘habit of the…

State of Social Media at DU

As I make my exit from the University of Denver, I’ve decided to write one last series of posts outlining what I consider the state of social media at the university. To do so, I’d like to use The Community Roundtable’s Community Maturity Model as a starting point. The model is part of the Roundtable’s 2012 State of Community Management report. Below is the model with my determination of where DU sits. One caveat: I’ve ranked DU as a whole in this illustration rather than my department- MarComm- specifically. There’s a lot of variance in terms of social media sophistication across campus, so you…

Book Review: The Innovative University

Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring apply Christensen’s disruptive innovation theories to traditional, 4 year, public and private higher ed institutions. It’s a great primer for anyone who wishes to understand the issues currently facing the higher ed world. I’ve written quite a bit at this blog about the issues this book puts into historical context. I’m now much more well grounded as to the origins of the problems I see and how they can be dealt with in the future. Here are a few highlights: Three of Harvard’s successive presidents- Charles Eliot, Lawrence Lowell and James Conant- each contributed to…

Social Media Starts With Your Own Place

I couldn’t have said it any better. John Battelle talks about social media in a McKinsey interview: “A lot of companies are saying, ‘If we’re going to do social, then we’re going to build in Facebook.’ They think they can just check the box and cover the majority of their social program by investing in a really good Facebook page. I agree that all brands probably should be on Facebook, but what you really need is an integrated strategy that has – at its root – the brand’s own domain, independent from any platform other than the Internet itself. The…

Thoughts on Higher Ed in the Mobile Space

Mobile is on everyone’s mind these days. Many schools have already launched some kind of iteration to meet and compete in the mobile space. But I’m finding the early versions lacking. That’s not meant as a criticism though. All early attempts will be rough around the edges as novelty wears off and best practices begin to form. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on where things stand. Don’t conflate audience segments with use cases I see this all the time in higher ed. A mobile site offers links to content aimed at prospects and also throws in…

Thoughts on Audience Segmentation Via Clayton Christensen’s Theories

In the past, I’ve written about the line that exists between audience segmentation versus fragmentation. In it, I pondered whether our institution’s landscape of nearly 300 social media accounts constituted good segmentation or out-of-control fragmentation. Since that June 2011 post, I’ve been doing a deep dive into Clayton Christensen’s work. He discusses how well intentioned, smart people can wind up with erroneous conclusions and poor results through the use of traditional audience segmentation practices (i.e. demographics) when it comes to innovation. Why? Because it typically only leads to incremental advances, squeezing out a bit more success where small pockets of opportunity…

When Audience Segmentation Turns Bad

I came across this series of blog posts from NYTimes columnists David Brooks. In his own words: “…I asked readers over 70 to write autobiographical essays evaluating their own lives.” I love that idea. Higher ed could do take Brooks’ basic idea and fill some of the gaps that exist with prospects’ and students’ relative lack of life experience compared to alumni. Imagine if we offered the accumulated life experiences, lessons learned, career exposure and general worldliness of alums to the rest of our university’s community. It would create bonds of affinity (not to mention a deep well of outcome…

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