UX / UI, Idea development, OpenIDEO, and being the old guy
Recently, I decided to return back to school to obtain a Master of Product Innovation (MPI) degree. While I have extensive experience with UX/UI, web development, analytics development, 3d printing, and experience with programming. I decided that I needed to be able to focus more on being able to develop my ideas on real-world products and solutions.
UX / UI lessons
This is the first week of class working towards the degree and this week’s focus is on Ideation techniques, UX / UI principles, and developing low fidelity MVP. I’m already pretty familiar with a lot of UX / UI principles and found myself chuckling at some of the topics and “laws”, presented in the lecture. Not that I thought they were invalid but just had remembered instances in my career where I was trying to explain these principles to management and other developers and designers.
One of my major lessons this week is better techniques to develop ideas. I was a fan of the “Crazy 8’s” ideation methodology and will continue to use that in the future. I found it a little challenging but rewarding to think of multiple approaches to the same end goal. It was also interesting seeing how people’s backgrounds and daily life created their approach towards building a product idea. A few all had the same crazy ideas mostly from works of fiction and fantasy, which made me realize the importance of fantasy and fiction and what it can mean for product development.
This weeks class centered around and OpenIDEO challenge. For those not familiar with OpenIDEO, it’s a platform developed by IDEO, to crowdsource innovative solutions to large scale problems. Recently, the Richmond IDEO chapter had a meeting regarding the newest OpenIDEO challenge which focuses on this challenge. We had a panel of experts on the subject come in and speak then formed groups and walked around the space developing ideas about the challenge. I met a few interesting people and learned a lot about some of the issues that are being addressed in this challenge. It was a really interesting event and encourage anyone reading this to find and get involved in their local chapter and learn more about OpenIDEO.
In class, we have been focusing on product development with this challenge as our focus. I have immersed myself in osteoporosis knowledge and we have begun to work on potential solutions and learn more from how facilities are dealing with this issue. I’m working on a small team that is beginning the discovery phase of our potential solution and it has been a learning experience working with a diverse team. I certainly have learned a lot by working with others with unique perspectives.
Being the “old guy”
In my cohort, I am one of the “old guys”. There’s one person who is older than me, and I’m about 7 years older than the average student in the class. I discovered this as we developed our class “persona”. I was really hit with the sense of being an old guy when I was asked if I wanted to go out after class. 8:30 on a weeknight? When I have a 30-minute commute with animals to feed and a house to remodel? You’ve got to be kidding me.
I recently listened to a podcast that was a speech given by Chip Conley. This article sums up most of the lessons pretty succinctly. It gave me pause though and made me think a lot more about my mindset, and the importance of being an “other”. A really interesting point chip made was about the success rates, delivery, and the importance of diversity in a workforce. I’ve been developing on how to leverage my own expertise and background and learning how to supplement my weaknesses with other’s strengths. It’s been interesting working with younger students with different backgrounds and being able to leverage my “wisdom” while also learning new lessons.