Adam Greenfield, author of Everywhere and new Head of Design at Nokia, brought the recent Royal Society meeting on Ubiquitous Computing to a crescendo on Tuesday with a clean, TED style, run through on the pervasive nature of contemporary computers and five principles of design. These are taken from my notes (apologies Adam). As Adam spoke I was trying to relate them to soft systems as well, say HR systems.
Once I got back home, I tried to phrase them positively.
1. At the end of the day, will my client, or my employee regard themselves as better off? And am I willing to be accountable for my impact on them?
2. Am I willing to discuss fully with my client or my employee or a knowledgeable person they select, what we are going to do and what might be the consequences?
3. Does my suggestion honor my client or my employee and bring them esteem and status in the minds of people important to them?
4. Am I aware of the time constraints and rhythms important to my clients and employees and have I entered the rhythm of their activity in a way that is pleasing to them?
5. Is my client and employee in effective control of the process and do they feel that? Are they able to terminate at any time freely and without collateral damage?
Why do we find this so hard to do? I have been following a discussion that the Chief Happiness Officer started on customer service. Why do customer service people hate their customers so much? Quite likely because they have not benefited from these design principles and feel disrespected themselves. Until we, the people who design HR and management systems convey genuine respect towards them, they are not likely to feel well and happy themselves
So while customer service people protest their innocence on CHO, what is our best defence? Have you designed systems which violated these principles? Have you had success stories which surprised even you?