Small Revolutions

Reading Steve Portigal’s article in Appliance magazine and watching Stephen Anderson’s talk from MX2008 got me thinking…UX people seem to be interested in culture primarily because we have to try to change it all the time, in little ways. Steve says “Driving these kinds of cultural changes isn’t trivial, but it isn’t impossible, either” while Stephen points out that good ideas are, by nature, revolutionary.

And getting new things to happen usually incites a push-back of inertia: That is not the way we’ve done things. Stephen points out out that the struggle looks different from the inside of an organization (as an “innie”) or as an outside consultant…but either way, we have to use intelligence and patience to make change happen.

Again, it all comes down to empathy!

“Fomenting a revolution isn’t always possible or appropriate, but starting from your locus of control and pushing outward can produce steady results. Understand how customers make sense of the world, and make all your small and big decisions with that understanding clearly in mind. Show colleagues and superiors how that understanding manifests itself in product decisions and track the outcomes. Being mindful of your own successes will help others see the impact this approach can have on the bottom line.

“We need empathetic individuals to make empathetic organizations, which will in turn make more empathetic individuals.””


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