Alternative Narratives on Economic Growth: Prototyping Change at the System Level

Research paper published in Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD7) proceedings (2018)

Increasing inequality, rising social unrest and climate change suggest new approaches to economic growth are needed. Motivated to understand what a human-centered approach might bring to the challenge, this paper explores taking the value of design thinking and a prototyping mindset beyond service delivery to the level of policy research, design and development. Causal Layered Analysis is used to understand and comparatively analyze the current growth-first narrative, an emergent participation narrative and a speculative freedom narrative. This analysis informs a reframe of economy and a participatory experience for stakeholders in the larger economic system to explore how change might happen. Responses to the role play experience show the power of a participatory approach and provide insight into engaging diverse stakeholders as contributors in the future of economy, not just as the passive receivers of policy. Proposals for change are presented based on candidate strategies generated in the role play.

Read full paper in RSD7 proceedings (pages 60-78)

Understanding Bitcoin Currency and Blockchain Technology as a Media System: An integrated systems and foresight model approach

Research paper published in Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD5) proceedings (2016)

This paper highlights research into the people and communities involved in Bitcoin cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Applying Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s Laws of Media tetrad and Lance Gunderson and C.S. Holling’s Panarchy as an integrated systems and foresight model, this research explores the future of economic exchange and of our financial systems in co-evolution with these revolutionary innovations. Building on a review of the literature and field research with subject matter experts from Toronto’s Bitcoin community, the authors developed a research framework and an integrated visual model for mapping scenarios and charting system-level impact over time that helps illuminate the impact of Bitcoin as media on the real economy, financial services, and traditional sovereign currency. The results of the study highlight the application of the framework and visual model as a basis for understanding phenomenon, developing scenarios, anticipating adaptive change, and for guiding future social change and innovation. The narratives that emerged are a sample of other narratives that could be crafted from the model, used to guide future studies and engage audience discussion.

Read full paper in RSD5 proceedings

Reframe user experience challenges as motivations
Article published on CommerceLab (2013)

User experience design practitioners face many challenges in seeing the value of their work through to implementation. It can be an overwhelming endeavor to effect the changes in organizational process necessary to overcome these challenges. Recently, we ran a workshop called Advancing UX in Your Organization at Fluxible 2013 in Kitchener, Ontario to start participants on a journey of identifying areas for potential change in their own work environments and consider ways to make that change happen.

Read the full article on CommerceLab

Jazz Navigation for Integration (this article is no longer available online)
Article published in Design @ IBM > Design Gallery (2011)

The Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) project is focused on coordinating the software development activities across requirements, development, build, and test. The IBM products that manifest these disciplines are Rational Requirements Composer – a requirements management application, Rational Team Concert – a change and configuration management application, and Rational Quality Management – a quality management application. Jazz Foundation is the centralizing hub for the integration and functional services of these applications.

One of the goals of Jazz Foundation is to use and provide a single consistent UI framework for supporting tasks across applications. A significant piece of this is the main web banner and navigation system. Without these unifying navigational elements in place, the only way to navigate between applications, and the projects within them, is to point your browser to a particular URL. This works for ad hoc visits to different applications, or if all your time is spent in a single application. But it doesn’t work so well when you need to move between different types of artifacts within the software development lifecycle, such as between a requirement and its related test case, or between a development plan and its related test plan.

Our challenge was to design a ‘container’ and functional elements to support this type of fluid movement.

Read the full article and learn about the team behind the design on IBM.COM (this article is no longer available online)

The Value of Visual Design in Software Development
Article published in interactions Magazine, Volume 16,  Number 1 (2009),  Pages 66-68.

The question of whether or not visual design has value in software might seem moot. For decades now, graphical user interfaces have been the dominant paradigm [1]. We revere the visual fruits of Apple; we delight in the graphical levity of the pervasive Web 2.0 look; and we get a visceral tickle out of the many visual and interactive effects of the Microsoft Vista, Linux Ubuntu, and Mac OS X operating systems. We like to be delighted and engaged visually. And why not? Whether our use of computer software is business or personal, we spend a lot of time with machines and the soft stuff that helps us get things done. The time spent might as well be pleasant.

This sentiment is appreciated in mainstream software, yet things have been a little different in the world of software development for programming and business tools, where user delight and the virtues of visual elegance have not been so widely or confidently embraced. Things appear to be changing, and exposure to design is a significant part of this change.

Access the full article through the ACM Digital.


Jazz Team Blog
Contributions from 2008-2012


UI Pattern and Style Guide for Jazz Web Applications
Author and lead of this effort to produce guidelines for designers and developers working on Jazz web applications.


Eclipse UI Best Practices
Co-author of guidelines

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