Holocracy. Replacing the management hierarchy with an explicit yet appropriate ruleset that sets clear expectations. This adoption takes some time to understand, but in the end, makes the decision-making authority transparent at every level of the organization. Establishing the laws aren’t meant to block the success of the team, as stated by David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.

His 5 step design process involves creating order out of chaos. This is a vital organizational step for design leaders. Establishing explicit rules eliminates the guesswork of how work gets done, undercuts hidden power dynamics, and can create much more efficient teamwork. Some e-commerce organizations have taken advantage of the Holocracy® method completely, and others just need to understand the rules of the game better.

Having the ability to shift and evolve as the organization evolves is also a key part to this method of governance. It’s founding fathers understood that the roles within teams need to be flexible, and multi-faceted to succeed. This lean organizational approach rewards those who are able and willing to wear multiple hats of expertise. This method of governance is best applied in master data team scenarios. For example, customer data is at the center of privacy and legal debates today, and teams responsible for it’s stewardship must have explicit rules to operate under.

It makes things so much better. Imagine if the car this morning blew the red light. Or if we put the milk in the pantry and the cereal in the fridge. We all agree on simple, smart rules. Then we use these to guide us to make better decisions for our customers.

We all know by now, successful organizations empathize with the customer’s needs. To interact at the right time, with the right information. Of course, this philosophy, like all successful organizations in business relies heavily on an instilled passion for their customer’s needs and success. Making sure the circles are as cooperative as possible. It never claims to work with “bubbles of influence.”

Without truly understanding their path, there is no use to apply governance to ourselves. In other words, Step #1 is observation and capture. Capture where the attention should really be. The customers and users today are more involved than we can imagine. If they say we need to fix their future experience, we need to listen, review, and just do it.

Stretch for Agility – & Make Wonderful Music

Spotify. The place to find and share music. Another not-so-radical movement is the Spotify agility model, which is an evolved version of the matrix organizational structure. Instead of running into roadblocks with absent hierarchy members and program managers, the organization uses independent teams working together on topics with their expertise.

Spotify calls them Tribes, and Guilds. Tribes are cross-functional teams that focus on a particular value streams. Guilds are a teams with similar roles and expertise of a particular practice. So you might have a “mobile” and a “web” tribe and a “CX” and a “engineer” guild. This video by former Spotify Agile consultant Henrik Kniberg explains how this model works for them.

Conshohocken, PA – Built in 2003, 300 Four Falls is a 298,371 square-foot, seven-story office building constructed atop a six-story parking garage located in West Conshohocken, PA. The property features over 400 feet of frontage along the Schuylkill Expressway and is situated within one-half mile of the Schuylkill Expressway and Interstate 476 interchange.

Minds Eye Concepts partnered with Architectural Concepts and Acorn Development / Carson Consulting to oversee construction and deliver a complete marketing package for the partnership resulting in full lease contracts for 98% of it’s office and retail space.

Hayden makes strategic purchase.

Intelligence Augmentation (IA)

What are the differences between people who are trained with hard vs. soft skills? Generally speaking, there are automated scripted, or programmed tasks that are routine and can be moved to machines. We know. But, life and the problems that exist today, (the ones we’re solving now) are more complex. Aren’t they?

“They still involve interaction, and skills that humans possess to make moral and empathetic design decisions that have even larger impacts on the quality of products and services.” – Matt Mondzelewski

Artificial Intelligence (AI) vs. Intelligent Augmentation (IA)
Having the ability to apply intelligence effectively, or harness it’s power to solve problems does not come from artificial intelligence. Applied artificial intelligence is the result of a deep understanding of the human condition, and the defined principles to which they’re applied. In the social media world, very small fuzzy insights may seem small, but can drive the meaning for which platforms base their entire existence. Snapchat for example, understood the social media clash between what defines a truly authentic moment. They compete directly for market share with Instagram who is implementing post deletion features as well. Their definitions rely on the understanding that posting photos, new snippets, and posting personal interactions (that are often times staged and filtered) gives its viewers a false sense of the authentic lives people lead every day.Scott Hartley, author of The Fuzzy and the Techie explains that social issues today deal with topics that are diverse. Hartley explains,

“Sectors, for example: government, legislation, engineering, DARPA, are clearly defining the needs that exist today and pioneering new methods and perspectives that take on problem sets. These sector leaders construct lean composite teams to solve them.” – Scott Hartley

This allows the problems to be surrounded by team members with both high tech, (STEM) backgrounds to work side by side with arts and humanities training. This combination allows business processes to evolve and iteratively achieve higher-value in product development cycles. Watch Hartley’s CSPAN interview.

In 2015, Mind’s Eye Concepts was hired to set the standards for usability across all 26 global e-commerce stores.

Mind’s Eye Concepts implemented a user centered design approach and process improvement to their e-business organization. This involved creating the quality user testing (QUT) program within VWR’s e-business. In addition to this, requirements for engineers were run through a user story practice to ultimately define what problems their development work would solve for the end-users. This was a significant change to the requirements gathering process that was in most ways, trying to keep up with feature launches from other sites.

The problems that arise from this practice occur when the UX team strays away from their own customer’s needs, and loosely defines them based on what works for other sites. User testing and market and customer research isn’t always a necessary step for improvements, news, or when curating new content to publish. However, when features in an e-commerce distribution network as big as VWR is running, and with consistent B2B customers to compete for, being able to secure their business relies on two things.

(1) Building appropriate solutions for them.
(2) Making sure it works for them.

User testing and solution definition are vital to pleasing customers with solutions they want. On the flip side, it can also save organizations potentially millions of dollars engineering solutions they never wanted in the first place. Here’s an example of investing in mobile application development and why testing early and often with customers is so important.

Program tasks involved defining specific life science, and many other professional services personas, designing tasks for them to perform, validating, and reporting the results. This information was essential to design decision making, and requirements for major features in their ecosystem, such as search, and search results. Mind’s Eye Concepts was asked to collaborate with the search steering committee teams around the globe, to define and study the users needs. This eventually led to the re-design of the logic and presentation of search results on VWR’s global e-commerce platforms.

Mind’s Eye Concepts performed business consulting leadership for 30+ improvements to the e-business platforms. Including key admin controls for specific global experiences based on culture, laws, and their support of features. A ratings and reviews feature designed by Minds Eye Concepts, launched in the UK, and France. QUT also played a major role in early stages of the new customer procurement and account profile process.

Since then, e-commerce revenue has sky-rocketed, and VWR positioned themselves for acquisition late in 2017, with e-commerce and distribution capabilities as their biggest assets offered in the merge. Building the program within the organization took years to develop, and eventually Mind’s Eye Concept’s role was passed to colleagues on the UX team.

After the introduction, training, and publishing the UX process improvements for our colleagues, we designed and built requirements to track and store the information gleaned from tests with quality assurance. This ensured the process could be used to measure even more solutions in the future.

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