Posts tagged “champion”

Breakfast of Champions

Last Friday we opened our doors to a few superheroic leaders from Silicon Valley firms for a morning discussion about championing user research within an organization (thus “Breakfast of Champions”). This event came hot on the heels of Steve’s recent webinar and provided a learning forum for us as consultants and for our guests, who shared insights and questions from the client perspective.

The discussion included trials and triumphs, questions about current challenges, and new frameworks to yield as tools for overcoming obstacles.  We were impressed with the humility and willingness to share evident in the discussion as research champions from diverse departments, companies, and industries swapped war stories and provided each other with encouragement and new ideas.

I captured some of the conversation on our whiteboard. On the left side are successes, questions and ponderings in the middle, and current challenges on the right. See a bigger image here.

We covered a lot of ground during two hours so the list below is not exhaustive, but it does start to hint at the themes that came up.

  • The importance of measuring, benchmarking, and storying research successes
  • The value of taking non-researchers (especially skeptics and critics) into the field
  • The challenge of confronting organizational paradigms and questioning sacred ‘truths’ when framing research questions
  • Success with embedding research in the design process as opposed to making it a distinct, standalone project
  • Overcoming obstacles of apathy with insights that are action-ready and and deliverables that are easy to share
  • Thinking strategically about the relationship between quant and qual, and considering how they feed each other
  • The value of research in corporate strategy and business solutions and the need to frame it as such
  • The changing role of the consultant and research provider
  • The importance of show and tell of research results to various groups, departments, etc.

This was our first time doing something like this and we’re looking forward to doing it again in the near future!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Core77 launches a product: a limited edition "curated" bike with a $1500 price tag – Core77 has been insanely brilliant at facilitating design discourse and ultimately design itself for a very long time. They've experimented before in launching their own product, I think, (I seem to recall a shoe) but this is a big leap, with this fancy-shmancy bike. To those that know what makes for a great bike, it may be a truly wonderful object, but it seems to manifest the worst part of design: elite hipsters making artificially cool stuff for other designers who revel in the semiotics of exclusivity, rather than what I believe Core77 can better champion: the design field of talented passionate people solving tough problems in unique, beautiful and successful ways. I challenge Core77 to take this (hopefully successful) experience in Launching Products (no doubt an insanely difficult thing) and apply it next to Launching Products That Make A Difference To Everyone (or at least Helping Others To…). The MoMA design world doesn't need Core77, but the real design world so badly does.
  • R.I.P., Oscar Mayer – The 95-year old retired company chairman dies. He was actually the third Oscar Mayer to run the company, co-founded in the 1890s by his grandfather, Oscar Mayer. "They began using the Oscar Mayer brand name in the 1920s, stamping it on the country's first packaged, sliced bacon, which the Mayer brothers introduced in 1924 — an innovation that earned them a U.S. government patent."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Cows with names produce more milk, scientists say – The story is slightly hyperbolic – a cow with a name is a proxy for all the other differentiating factors in cow-care. "Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name can – at no extra cost to the farmer – also significantly increase milk production. Maybe people can be less self conscious and not worry about chatting to their cows."
    (via @timstock)
  • Time magazine has called Beer Lao Asia’s best local beer, but outside Laos it's almost impossible to find – Like a film festival winner without a distribution deal, the rice-based lager has struggled to turn cult status into anything other than good press. Just 1 percent of its annual production is exported. Lao Brewery hopes to change that. It would like to see 10 percent sold abroad, and it is counting on Vang Vieng’s beer-loving backpackers to help them make the sale.

    Lao Brewery is building a network of fans-turned-distributors who import and sell the beer in select markets. Some distributors are former travelers who see potential in a brand with little international exposure. Others just really like the beer.

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