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June 10, 2012

What’s your mission?

When I start working for a new project most of the times my part of work is being asked AFTER a project has already been started. There have been discussion between the sales person and the customer, a project plan has been developed and promises have been made.

So usually I am confronted with a goal – which is defined by the customer needs. Which is most of the time tied to making money.

This is wehre my work as an interaction designer starts – and my job is it to come up with a visual concept of how to reach that goal.

But these goals are very often too high-level. “We want to make more money” or “We want more visitors on our web site” or “We want to sell more online”.

So before I start working I start asking questions over and over again to find out about the customer’s VISION. Which is very often hard to define as it demands the customer to describe his imaginary future.

I just stumbled over a great TED talk, where Simon Sinek is talking about a different way of thinking. If people want to sell something or convince others from their idea they usually start talking about the WHAT and the HOW (“We are selling phones” (=what) and we are make them user-friendly (=how)). But if you want to convince people you have to start with the WHY: “We want to connect people (=why) that’s why we thought about user-friendly solutions (=how) which are our great and simple to use phones (=what)”.

Which means: I shouldn’t start my project work with asking about the vision (as this is something I can help to define with the work I am doing as an interaction designer); I should start to ask questions about the MISSION and learn more about the WHY: what is the main motivation of my customers to do what they are doing?

And here is Simon’s TED talk: How great leaders inspire action

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psychology, work life