Jared Spool: ”Maturity is what's holding back”

Ola Nilsson

A true pioneer in the UX field is coming to From Business to Buttons this year. Jared Spool. And he has things to say about how to progress in design and business.
– Every organization can get better. In general, it’s their maturity that is holding them back, says Jared Spool.

Say hi to Jared Spool in person. Get you tickets for FBTB now!

Jared Spool talks about several growth stages of organizational UX design. He starts with what he calls "The Dark Ages", with no resources for design. At the other end is "Infused Design", in which every team member has fluent design skills. He speaks enthusiastically about it when we reach him via Skype.

– I’m going to talk about the design maturity of organizations, and how they can become more design mature.

– Because if you are not design mature, you cannot produce great designs. So designers have to understand how to help their organizations to become more design mature.

You have also said that "there is a true role that design plays in business".

– Well, design helps businesses to become more competitive. You can only compete on price and quality of a product for so long. Another competitor will will come along and beat you at one of those. So if you truly want to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you have to start thinking about the design.

– All computers were the same until Apple started competing on design – and now all computers are very different. And all cars were basically the same until companies like Tesla started competing on design, and now cars are very different. Competing on design gives you an advantage that you don't get through other mechanisms of competition.

But how do you manage it, how do you get there with your organization? Is there a trick?

– There is no trick. I mean, it is sort of like saying "What is the trick that a football team will use to win the World Cup?". 

– It's a lot of hard work and every team has a different set of strengths and weaknesses; likewise their opponents all have different strengths and weaknesses. And the situation on the field changes and you have to be completely adaptable. The team that is most effective in being adaptable is going to succeed.

– Nobody wins the World Cup by thinking there's a trick. So you have to think strategically.

– And you have to have "plays", tactics that help you with your strategies. And you have to know what your options are, how to do situational awareness and how to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Then you can begin to say "okey, this is how we're going to do this". But no two organizations are going to do it the same way.

What are your expectations for this FBTB conference, the 15th of May?

– I’m really excited about it. It's always been something that I've wanted to do.

– So my expectation is: I'm going to have a lovely time in Stockholm and meet a lot of amazing people and have really great conversations and get to eat apple cake.

Apple cake?

– Yes I mean there's nothing quite like Swedish apple cake! I've been to Stockholm before, so as soon as you invited me, my first thought was "OK, apple cake!", haha. 

You do many conferences every year, How do you keep up the energy and the interest?

– Well apple cake helps a lot… 

– Getting out and talking to people is the most fun thing about my job. Getting to learn from other people and and see what their challenges are. I'm hoping to talk to everybody who comes to From Business to Buttons.

– So everybody should make an attempt to come up and say hi.

Take the chance to say hi to Jared Spool in person. Get you tickets for FBTB now!

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