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Should UX designers be able to facilitate teamwork and engage in organizational design? A few years ago, the most likely answer would have been: No. We have process consultants, Human Resources (HR) consultants, and all sorts of coaches to help organizations organize their people and processes. But today’s businesses are confronting some significant changes that impact the role of User Experience, as follows:
Design challenges have become more complex. Some prominent. independent design firms have decided to join bigger collectives to address such issues. Recently, IDEO joined the kyu collective, Adaptive Path was acquired by CapitalOne, and there have been many other instances of this trend.
The role of the UX designer is shifting from merely imagining and executing on solutions to fostering collective creativity and engaging all sorts of professionals in a co-creation process.
Just as the impact of the design discipline has gradually expanded from products to services, over the last few decades, it continues to expand to process and organizational design. Branding agencies like Wolff Olins and transformation consultancies like SYPartners are leveraging the power of design to help companies re-imagine the way they work and organize themselves.
There have been a lot of articles recently that discuss the idea of whether User Experience has staying power as a profession. I’ve read about ten of these—most of them discussing how automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics will decimate the need for almost all professions as we know them today. Even the articles that were positive and upbeat about the future of User Experience made seemingly dire predictions about the need for all UX professionals to adapt to new technologies to survive. That actually sounds very reasonable to me. In fact, it’s what UX professionals have always done.
Before User experience, there was Human Factors. In some ways, that might be a better term to describe what UX professionals do. Now, it’s not a hip or edgy term, but it does encapsulate the fact that as long as there is a human factor in anything that people create, our profession has its place. We still live in a human world. Our job will still be to create products, services, and things that people interact with. Whether a user interface is on a screen or is a mechanical manifestation of our human selves, someone still has to ensure that people can work with it efficiently. I don’t really see that fundamental changing—certainly, not as much as the types of interactions people may have with products. UX professionals absolutely must adapt and learn—and that’s a really good thing. Read More