Lou Rosenfeld talk at UMSI: Beyond user research, building an organizational brain

I'm at Lou Rosenfeld's talk at the Michigan Union, with the title "Beyond user research: Building an organizational brain". Notes below.

 "You are not your user." The importance of talking to your users. The book "Design of Everyday Things", 1986 as a watershed event. Everyone understands this now, so "we won". But what does victory look like?

 Less of an information architect, more of an information therapist.

Reports from the user research group; information about site search analytics (in another group); logs from the call center (yet another group); reports from web analytics applications (yet another group); also "Voice of the Customer" (survey research); CRM applications like Salesforce; papers from a research center; papers from the net; a "mental model" diagram; brand architecture research; net promoter score (survey research).

The problem: where's the insight in a situation that's completely siloed. Risk to "user research" work is that it's siloed away. If you collaborate you're "the brain for the organization".

1. What vs. why. 

2. Quantitative vs qualitiative.

3. Organizational goals vs user goals.

4. Measure what you know vs. explore what you don't know. (Look for outliers, surprises, patterns.)

5. Statistical data vs. descriptive data.

How to succeed in getting user research to cooperate? Use data from other siloes. Examples: site search data from search logs; match persona with search log analysis; use analytics tools to frame questions about user behavior; field study + analytics combined. 

Example: query search for "lost" on Netflix.

How to get out of your silo: get out of your (physical) space; eat in the other cafeteria.

Boundary object: things that are common to a couple of fields. Linkages are connective areas of shared interest.

(The preso will be up in slideshare….these notes are incomplete of course)

Build a map – put the various interests on the map to generate the space that you can evaluate the various options. 

Stop using words – "useless, misunderstood terms impede progress". Meaningless buzzwords, none of which involve solving problems.

Build a dashboard (a failed metaphor) which incorporates information across a number of separate siloes. 

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