Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get to know EdgeRyders. I drew an (unclear/unspecific) image from my online experience that got much clearer and much sharper after an offline experience - meeting in person with Noemi. I view this gap as an opportunity to contribute to the EdgeRyders online community some ideas from my experience with design.
Following the meeting with Noemi I began thinking about (and compiled a document of) questions (with some temporary answers of my own) that may form a foundation for a design process. I would like to give these questions to the wider EdgeRyder community, but this requires some preparation. I believe it is important to first share why these questions need to be asked before actually asking them. Which brings me to this session proposal (thank you Noemi for providing the structure).
I would like to suggest a 30 minute session to share some ideas about design (hint: beyond graphics, beyond screens, beyond user experience). OK, another hint … have a look at the session title again. I believe that design is first and foremost an inquiry of dharma - a precious opportunity to identify and connect with purpose. When you want to create something (for example a website), having a clear sense of the purpose of that thing can be very helpful. It may sound obvious and/or far-fetched (funny how such extremes can coincide), but I believe it can have very practical implications.
That would be followed by a 1 hour session in which I would be happy to facilitate a discussion during which we could begin a process of EdgeRyders design. I will bring my list of questions as a starting point and together we could review those questions, ask new ones, suggest answers, hear different views … and maybe co-create a new view/approach to our community effort of creating an online EdgeRyders presence.
Though much of this session will be aimed at EdgeRyders’ online presence, it will, (by design!), touch the heart of EdgeRyders itself. It is the purpose of EdgeRyders that connects the website, the business model, customers, projects, community … everything. A wonderful thing about EdgeRyders is that purpose is abundantly available. We need to put a bright light on it and find tools and techniques that will keep us attentive to it as we continue our journey.
I have an additional secondary wish/agenda in this proposal. I believe open-source development suffers from a systemic flaw when it comes to design. Most people speak of user-experience, but I believe that flawed user-experience is a symptom of something deeper (and that trying to fix user-experience without going deeper is a flawed effort). I have been on the sidelines of open source for some years now, occasionally attempting to contribute through my design skills (not much luck so far). I believe that if we can find a way to introduce practical and relevant design into our own community, that in doing so we may be able to provide something valuable to other open-source / community efforts.
If you are interested in this and wish to come more informed and better prepared I recommend this inspiring and fun to read book: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum
- A writing-board with colored pens to write on may be useful.
- A computer + web browser + internet connectivity + projector setup may be useful.
- Writing tools (pen and paper) for participants may be useful (bring your own!s?)
Update (original post left unedited) Sep 18th:
- I'd like to leave the first session early in the event as already planned: 30 minutes introducing ideas + 60 minutes workshop. Hopefully this will leave us all thinking and wanting to say more ... and so
- I'd like to add a second 2 hour session later in the event where we can let ideas flow and try to move in an actionable direction. Beyond the actual design discussion it would be useful to talk about how to implement this process (should we choose to continue it) in the EdgeRyders system.
If you’d like to come more invested and prepared to this session:
- check out the book recommendation above.
- spend time with the question: "What is the purpose of EdgeRyders?" Try to be specific, if there are a few things try to prioritize.
- based on your answer spend time with the question: "Who are the people (=roles they play, not specific names) that are involved (technically: stakeholders) in EdgeRyders?". Again try to be specific (try to characterize beyond general titles) and to prioritize.