I tend to leave a trail of giant whiteboards wherever I go. The giant whiteboard is one of the most important instruments in an information firm. Whiteboards are colorful and communicative. They’re democratic. Anybody can really get up, grab a marker, and really go at it. They’re raw. They’re just awesome. I use them to collaborate. I use them to present problems, solutions, and opportunities. The eraser is a memory hole. Any mistake, any exploration, any avenue is open and correctable. It’s outstanding. Powerpoint. Ah yes, powerpoint. Powerpoint is an awesome visual medium. It’s great in that it really doesn’t command anybody being presented at to do anything. People sit there and you point at them. Powerfully. Powerpoint has uses.[…]

I asked five questions flowing out of eMetrics Toronto, posted on May 1, 2011. Some editorial to contribute. No hard evidence by way of a survey yet. (You’re all surveyed out anyway.) Does the a culture of testing, if sustainable and feasible, drive incremental improvements in usability simple because the organization becomes more aware of usability? If the dependent variable is clear, uncontested, and lends itself to a direct attribution model, a culture of testing is likely to drive incremental improvements. There exists a ‘bathtub’ point where the marginal returns on optimization are consumed entirely by headcount and technology attempting that optimization. Why don’t/won’t designers and analysts work together more often? The Excel communication medium hampers the relationship. The Photoshop[…]

I grabbed this data from the Toronto Open data site. I loaded it into Google Refine. I used SPSS to understand just what was going on. I’ve stripped this post of political editorial, so if you’re here for that, this post will dissapoint. The story: Always read the data dictionary and description. In this instance, I have a file containing a sample of a sample of all the service calls to 311. Toronto has a single call center routing system called 311. It’s pretty efficient, in that it’s a single department, and that any citizen can dial and report something, and get routed through to the right place. It’s an example of very good policy learning. The disclaimer is that[…]

Duane Brown‘s launch of Eat:Strategy was a success. Speakers included Brian Cugelman, Jon Lax, and Cheesan Chew among many others. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that marketing strategists and design thinkers got into the same room and talked to each other. Duane’s format was effective. Speakers got 20 minutes to present, had to really stay within the time limit, with QA happening one on one during the breaks and over lunch. It’s a great format and Duane really pulled of a great venue and a great launch. A massive thank you and recognition to him for his leadership. Memorable takeaways included Brian Cugelman’s communication framework, which is a unification and reinforcement of scattered communications literature. It’s excellent,[…]

Nearly 3/4 of the respondents to the WAA Outlook Survey cited ‘making the data actionable’ a top concern and priority. Just under 1/3 of respondents reported using web analytics as an input into budget and planning. Great. So what are we going to do about it? To make something actionable, you have to understand what people are trying to action. And there’s huge industry variance. KPI identification is at the core of what web analytics consultants and leaders do. So, that’s all known, and not a research question. We know it. And sometimes, the website just isn’t that core to how a firm makes money. It could be. And relevance can be found through compelling business cases. That’s all known[…]

Amanda Wood and I will be presenting/paneling findings from the WAA Industry Outlook Study 2011 this coming Wednesday. Members of the WAA are welcome to dial in for it at noon. Quite a few surprises and a few trends on what’s happening out there. A few shifting priorities which are important to note. It’s good timing for this webcast too, as many of us start to refocus for September and the usual Q3/Q4 madness.

What do you think causes branding? I’ve been asking myself that, part of my series on being skeptical of root assumptions and theories, and took the opportunity to work through something in a foreign land. I spent some time in real Mexico, and couldn’t resist a first exposure. I went to a ‘Mega’, without really knowing what it was, and took in an in-store experience. The brand was unknown to me pre-exposure. A rare opportunity. So I walked in, and the first thing I notice? Banners hung throughout the store told me that everybody wanted to be Julio Regalado. I have no experience with the brand or the frontman. But everywhere, literally down every isle, there he was, with that[…]

There’s a pretty big movement afoot in Canada. It’s called the open data movement and several levels of government are getting on board. It’s the movement for governments to make large datasets freely available to the public. It’s pretty rough going right now. I’m reading reports that the sets frequently lack a data dictionary and suffer from some pretty bad accessibility issues. The early efforts are to be commended. I’ve spoken to several government statisticians who are both excited and frustrated by what they’re able to share with the public, and where they’re totally blocked. They’re bullish on this movement. These pains in the public sector mirror those in the private sector. Will open data cause better public policy, and[…]