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xDKC Message Board › Separation of concerns - some thoughts on meeting procedures

Separation of concerns - some thoughts on meeting procedures

user 15426811
Kansas City, MO
Post #: 3
I return tonight from the IxDA meetup at Block, with some thoughts ruminating in my mind.
Over all it was enjoyable.
And the Block useability lab was really cool.
I enjoyed the presentation on ecosystem thinking.
And the thoughtful exchange on startups vs larger companies.

The ideation exercise, as a continuation of the process that France Rupert took us through
was a cool idea. And, to some degree, the execution was fine. But it is also the source of some
concern for me.

I felt uncomfortable, when the specifics were announced, about doing design work, on the site of the company hosting the event, for that company.

It was, in a way, a more extended problem to the somewhat ill-fated IBM meetup. In that case, for those of you not in attendance, the guest speaker, an employee of IBM, rather hijacked the audience to make sales pitches for IBM software, in between talking about design in the telecom industry. (In truth, I found what he was discussing in his non-sales pitch segments to be of interest. But I am not likely to be buying any IBM software anytime soon.)

As uncomfortable as that meetup was, it was clear the speaker caught both the IxDA organisers, and the IBM host, off guard. Ok. Not the best situation. But we can learn from it.

And now tonight's meetup. Here, once again, it seems the event is serving a need which is not in alignment to the needs of the group. But rather, it is in alignment with the needs of the host of the event. Which seems to raise an issue we might contemplate: what are our guidelines on the relationship between the group, and the companies or organisations, or individuals, who partner with the group as presenter or hosts?

In discussion after the meetup, one thing another participant mentioned was the idea of specificity. In the meetup with the insurance company, they solicited some design input from the group on their application. But it was quite specific. It became a situation where we as IxDA/UX/UI/Etc professionals were helping out other practitioners in our (fields) in their process of refining their work. I have experienced this at the Wordpress meetup as well.

This is rather different than the global brainstorming we did tonight. It felt more like doing work for someone else, rather than supporting them in the work they were doing. We weren't just allies, as such. It was a bit like crowdsourcing.

So my question to the group is ... how do we talk about, and come to some agreement, on our relationship with other parties interested in participating in our process?

What are our guidelines?
What are our boundaries?
What is our procedure for post-event feedback and discussion?
William J.
user 98798082
Lenexa, KS
Post #: 1
I would agree with the concern, I was quite surprised to see the topic for discussion would be a problem that the host is working on. The role of the host should be just that, to host the meeting provide the space for the group to meet, if they chose to do so provide drinks and light snacks that should be their decision. It should not be looked at as an opportunity to augment their internal resources. General topics are just fine for exercises such as the ideation process.
Wiljan van N.
user 82709302
Kansas City, MO
Post #: 1
First of all: I very much appreciate the host and the people involved in pulling off the event. I however share the sentiments regarding the topic of the case study. Without over organizing these Meetups I think it is essential to communicate clearly what the program of the evening is going to be so everyone can use their own judgement to decide whether the Meetup suits their interest or not. Collect feedback after the meeting (a little more detail than the 4 or 5 star rating on the Meetup website) and use that to learn what works and what not. That feedback might not avoid incidental misfits, but it should at least prevent them from reoccurring and give additional direction on the interest of the audience.
A former member
Post #: 9
Ashby, William, and Will - first of all: thank you for sharing your constructive thoughts.

In following the IxDA KC charter to be "dedicated to the professional practice of UX/UI design and development for all devices", we should always err on the side of such fundamentally core UX "soft skills" as authenticity, intentionality, and empathy. The IxDA Leads met to discuss these themes - as well as conduct event planning for the upcoming six months - just last week.

Going forward, to provide greater advanced planning and communication, IxDA KC Leads will meet a few days before each event on a monthly basis. In addition, to reach more local UX pros, we'll start offering large-scale morning events roughly once per quarter (at the Google Fiber Space in November and The Roasterie in February). Finally, as many hands make light work, we are actively assembling an advisory board of senior UX managers of large teams throughout KC.

IxDA KC is stronger when we work together. Share speakers, event ideas, recommendations, and preferences either by posting on the message board (here) and/or emailing Again, thank you for your passion and candor. Please come by next Thursday and we'll chat!

Sincerely, Brian
Steven H.
user 13107073
Overland Park, KS
Post #: 1
First, sorry I missed it. Again I am out of town when something good happens. I think I have been to more UX events not in my hometown than in it.

So, while I didn't see this, I'll take the description of the activity as though it is truthful and complete, and am reminded of a workshop I did a few months back for IXDA Silicon Valley. It was at Yahoo! and I specifically used a fake product, for a fake company, with no particular relation to Yahoo! or any of my own clients. The event organizers asked questions along these lines before I presented it to make sure there wouldn't be secret info shared, or conflicts of interest. It was in no way a hardship.

It might be good to mix stuff up even if someone comes with an all-in-one solution. Block (for example) can host and show off stuff but the speaker/workshop should specifically be from somewhere else, and if a Block (or Block-related) speaker has a good presentation, they have to do it another time, at another location.
A former member
Post #: 10
Good points, Steven!

Rather than solving a fictional problem, to provide greater benefit, we're working toward involving local nonprofits who need help solving design challenges.

Another option might be bartering problem-solving skills for event space, speaker fees, or similar - just some ideas.

Good to hear from you again - join us at Snow & Co. this Thursday!

Best, Brian
Steven H.
user 13107073
Overland Park, KS
Post #: 2
I'd forgotten about the "solve real problems for the needy" one because, get this: some agencies won't let their people participate. Really. Pro bono work has to come through the agency, etc. etc. This is in the Bay Area where some companies don't let you moonlite, so not an issue here I should think, but WOW.

You can put me down to volunteer to try to do the first phase interview about the project (though over email probably) to turn their needs into readily-consumable info to speed up the workshop. Might make up for the many sessions I expect to continue to miss :)
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