- Friday 28 April 2023
- Presenters / Facilitators
- EDUCAUSE webinar on this topic (February 2023)
- This page contains slides, a transcript, and a recording of this presentation (access to the recording requires logging in with your institutional identity provider).
2.1. Background & Context
- Phyllis has a higher education background, most recently working on user experience at UW Madison
- Current role (as of February 2021) is Chief Experience Officer at UCSC
- Phyllis' role at UCSC is being created somewhat organically and focuses on the following areas:
- Bringing design and human-centered design principles to higher ed problems
- The intersection between people and technology
- Developing practical ways to apply design thinking to our work
- As the session progresses, think about gnarly, wicked, hard challenges, "third rail" projects that everyone is afraid to touch.
- These difficult problems are particularly well suited to design thinking and strategy.
- Framing is a strategy for encapsulating an area of focus to help think about it clearly.
- Phyllis described an example from their life working in a machine shop
- How and why are they used?
- How can people access them, learn from them, etc.?
- Tried to develop a system.
- Their relationship with blueprints and need for them changed - a new perspective.
- Learned things that they wouldn’t have considered from this new, expanded point of view.
- Phyllis' area of expertise within the shop was in the office, filing blueprints.
- This was a tiny little slice, or “frame”, within a much broader space.
- Over time, the need for people to work with blueprints became more involved and complex.
- Phyllis eventually started working on the shop floor instead of in the office.
- Quick Poll
- Results - roughly half of participants create frames for others and half both create and receive frames. A majority prefer to work with larger frames.
Four Design Strategy Tools
- Leaders and teams often focus on “symptoms” but lack really solid problem statements.
- This makes it challenging to solve problems, leads to getting stuck, delays, and squandering resources.
- Framing problems well is really hard!
- We’re often not working on the “right” problem.
- Some key questions to ask when framing problems are as follows:
- Very important in human centered design.
- Focus on the human side of things.
- This can be hard to discover and often requires investigation.
- A joke...
- “What is the technical term for when there is no user research?” Guessing!
- We often fall into “guessing” - sometimes we have to, but investing more time in gathering actual information can go a long way.
- Use the experience of people as our evidence layer
- Building an example problem statement:
- Gathering up evidence creates a much more meaningful and well-defined problem that is more likely to be solvable.
- A lot of patience is required...
- It's tempting to not investigate enough or just try to tackle “low hanging fruit”.
- Again, the human aspect is key (emphasized).
- Another quick poll:
- Results - in practice, well defined and researched problems are not the norm...
- We tend to know more about our internal problems and less about the problems experienced by our users, customers, clients, etc.
- Solutions we come up with often don’t work for end-users.
- How do we define and understand how what we do impacts our users?
- Chat bot example - is this really making our users' lives better?
- One magical and important human-centered question we can ask:
- We often aspire “lower” than improving someone’s life.
- A user or human centered focus really changes things...
- It holds us to a very high standard and sets a high bar (in a good way).
- It paves the path for motivating and sustaining transformational change.
- It’s hard to think this “expansively”.
- Sometimes induces panic or fear.
- Can feel too ambitious, too hard
- In higher ed we often struggle both with actual scarcity and with attitudinal scarcity - "we don't have the resources to do an awesome job!"
- But we need big goals to shoot further on the horizon and deliver truly-impactful outcomes for people.
- Back to our example problem statement, but now let's try to include “meaningful impact”:
- With predictive outcomes, we're looking for changes in human behavior, something that solves their wicked problem meaningfully.
- This is not based on things like server efficiency, response times, or open rates, but on things that actual people actually do.
- How do we know if we are making a meaningful impact?
- Changes in behavior can often indicate that we are on the right track… Or the wrong track!
- Think about scenarios when you expected an outcome but it’s not turning out the way you thought…
- Users aren’t using the tool.
- Help desk requests are increasing instead of going down.
- Changes in human behavior are the strongest measures of the impact we are having…
- Think about better measures of human behavior and changes.
- Seeing these changes is very powerful and meaningful to leaders and stakeholders.
- We often fall back on “one dimensional” measurements.
- Sometimes we may need to start over.
- Let's return to our example and add a predictive outcome:
- It's important to think about the outcomes (changes in behavior) that would be most powerful and impactful if solving the problem is successful.
- A way to draw attention to, define, and bring clarity and focus to a problem.
- A frame can help us decide which problem we are focusing on, what the impacts are, and how it will help people (improve their lives).
- Design frames help people rally around a problem, really understand it, and envison how success might look.
- Design frames tie the design strategy tools together with a design-thinking "how might we?" mindset:
- Again, the four design strategy tools, shown here with a human centered focus as our foundation:
- We often need to “loop” back on this path to make it better.
- Some tips and tricks for employing these techniques:
- See this Google Doc for various references and reading material.
- Reach out to Phyllis.
- “How do you recommend framing measurements of things that may be more qualitative in nature, such as behavior. I find that many are more comfortable with more concrete measures.” (from chat)
- Can be hard...
- Sometimes we need to look for creative ways of showing changes in human behavior.
- This can be hard, but it’s possible!
- People often want to fall back on more quantitative measurements.
- “Softer” measurements are harder.
- Tie quantitative measurements together to show change in behavior? One idea.
- Traditional “satisfaction” measures are often useless.
- Are people actually changing - staying, leaving, accomplishing something they couldn’t previously, etc.
- We sometimes have to do qualitative research and analysis. (Louis)
- A different type of assessment is needed, even though it is harder.
- More human measures, if you can do them, are much more compelling. (Jim)
- How much time mucking around in tools versus experiencing some high-quality help/advising? (example)
- Hard to argue if you show real human change and quality of life improvements.
- Ground things in human experience - makes for compelling cases.
- UK gov online services redesign example.
- Important to grasp the “whole problem”.
- Solving things on the periphery can sometimes make things worse.
- How do we approach folks who have come up with a strategy but there does not appear to be a clear problem statement informing the strategy? (Dana from chat)
- Can be a tricky pitfall.
- Ask questions - do we really understand this?
- Ask to re-frame, redefine.
- Phyllis - problem framing, outcomes, and impacts needs to be taken seriously rather than “simple brainstorming”.
- Try to adopt the mindset of an outsider - ask questions - help me understand this. (Louis)
- Beginner’s mind - novice mindset - can be very powerful.
- People often respond positively to this and are happy to take a step back and explain.
- Assumption storming (Phyllis)
- Really look at our assumptions and talk about how they fit into a bigger picture problem.
- Deficit mentality (Jeff from chat)
- Problem / need can often be huge.
- Low hanging fruit - problematic expression.
- What really matters to people may not be evident.
- People may not want a chat bot - they want to really solve something - their lives become easier.
- New to EA graduation coming up and will present in a bi-weekly ITANA call.
- Business Architecture group ongoing.
- API working group has a session May 11 - API developer portals
- June meeting will be a retrospective on the group and its future.
12:05:12 From Dana Miller-U Texas Arlington to Everyone:
12:05:26 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Thank you, Dave!
12:05:28 From Louis King to Everyone:
12:10:49 From Louis King to Everyone:
Reconciling social identities with the same person with institutional identities.
12:11:21 From Jim Phelps (UW) to Everyone:
Redesigning IT Governance for UW
12:12:19 From Dana Miller-U Texas Arlington to Everyone:
Sorting out the Advising Task Force strategy…
12:13:04 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
Rearchitecting the data integrations, supporting knowledge, and fulfilment processes underpinning our "Student Experience Centre" which is currently a bit broken, and not providing good experiences to students (or our staff).
12:29:57 From Jim Phelps (UW) to Everyone:
Rats! We missed capturing that naming opportunity for Itana.
12:30:09 From Kelsey Lunsmann to Everyone:
Reacted to "Rats! We missed capt..." with 😂
12:30:32 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
"Leaders of Awesomeness" = https://leaders.centercentre.com/
12:30:42 From Louis King to Everyone:
Reacted to "Rats! We missed capt..." with 🤨
12:30:45 From Matthew House to Everyone:
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12:32:46 From Louis King to Everyone:
Totally agree on the need for big goals!!!
12:32:53 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
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12:42:23 From Stacy Divine (she/her) Kansas State Univ to Everyone:
Q: How do you recommend framing measurements of things that may be more qualitative in nature, such as behavior. I find that many are more comfortable with more concrete measures.
12:43:47 From Louis King to Everyone:
Another challenge. Foster a culture of innovation in IT@Yale.
12:46:26 From Dana Miller-U Texas Arlington to Everyone:
How do we approach folks who have come up with a strategy but there does not appear to be a clear problem statement informing the strategy?
12:46:52 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Reacted to "How do we approach f..." with 👍
12:47:35 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
I second Dana's question. I have just had one of those items drop on my desk.
12:47:36 From Rupert Berk to Everyone:
We read this book in our Itana book club and I think it has a lot of good ideas regarding how to measure "intangibles":
12:47:37 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
Interested also in the deficit-mentality culture (learned helplessness vs growth mindset?) in EDU where we struggle both with _actual_ scarcity and also with _attitudinal_ scarcity in an environment with lots of behavioral inertia = wondering how to shift that, and imagining that framing + focus on meaningful impacts could help with that too. Loved the "how might we?" too!
12:48:04 From Dana Miller-U Texas Arlington to Everyone:
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12:48:51 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
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12:51:45 From Stacy Divine (she/her) Kansas State Univ to Everyone:
Reacted to "We read this book in..." with 👍
12:51:55 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
UK has https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-design-principles and similarly NZ has https://www.digital.govt.nz/standards-and-guidance/technology-and-architecture/government-digital-standards-catalogue/digital-standards-principles/ = we use these here in the wider enterprise architecture and design practices.
12:52:30 From Phyllis Treige ( she / they ) to Everyone:
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12:52:32 From Matthew House to Everyone:
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12:53:24 From Stacy Divine (she/her) Kansas State Univ to Everyone:
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12:56:43 From Louis King to Everyone:
Love that, “assumption-storming.”
12:57:06 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Agreed. I am definitely borrowing that :)
12:57:45 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
And I like your outsider approach Louis, that's usually what I do to get questions answered "Help me understand...."
12:58:18 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Reacted to "UK has https://www.g..." with 👍🏻
12:58:50 From Stacy Divine (she/her) Kansas State Univ to Everyone:
Thank you for your presentation! Such great information.
12:58:55 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
https://www.charannconsulting.com/assumptions-storm/ (and lots of others in the always-helpful https://gamestorming.com/ too).
12:59:02 From Kelsey Lunsmann to Everyone:
This has been incredibly helpful and can’t wait to try some of these tool!! Thank you so much!
12:59:08 From Louis King to Everyone:
This has been hugely helpful. Thank you so much for sharing you brilliance!!!
12:59:31 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Thank you Phyllis !
12:59:34 From Stephanie Warner - UW Milwaukee to Everyone:
Fantastic presentation. Thank you!
12:59:39 From Rupert Berk to Everyone:
Yes, thank you! This is super helpful.
13:00:02 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
Replying to "And I like your outs..."
+1 and as an enterprise architect there are lots of situations where "hello, i am new here" is an authentic positioning on entering a room | space | undertaking.
13:00:14 From Beth Schaefer/UW-Milwaukee (she/her) to Everyone:
Thank you, great presentation! Much appreciated, Phyllis!
13:00:22 From Lonnie Smetana to Everyone:
Reacted to "+1 and as an enterpr..." with 👍🏻
13:00:26 From Dana to Everyone: