Episode 58 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Jesse James Garett. Jesse is author of The Elements of User Experience and co-founder of Adaptive Path. Now, he coaches design leaders, and in this podcast we explore the relationship between IA and leadership.
Why does this matter? As Jesse put it,
any leader, anyone who gives direction to people in an organization, is on some level a steward of the organization’s understanding of the problems that the team is trying to solve.
Leaders do this through storytelling, which Jesse described as a “sense-making activity” that “gives people an understanding of the world.”
So, if the leader is noticing and attending to sense-making as a core part of the value that they bring to the organization as a leader, then they can look across their communications and the various pools of data that they may be responsible for tending and to interpret what they’re doing in terms of creating more robust and more nuanced and more accurate information structures.
Such sense-making is the responsibility of leaders in all fields. When I asked Jesse how leaders might develop these skills, he suggested that those in design approach it as a design problem:
It is a creative problem-solving task. It is a systems-thinking task, as a leader. So, looking at the ways that you’re already doing that systems-thinking, the ways in which you already doing that architecture for yourself in the work that you’re already doing, and those will be your strengths.