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FatDUX Eric Reiss on Leadership

FatDUXOn today’s show I chat with Content Strategist and Partner at FatDUX in Copenhagen, Denmark Eric Reiss about leadership in the age of information.

Eric points out that leadership isn’t about creating a buzz it’s about creating results. In essence a leader is someone you can trust to make a good decision on your behalf.

Younger people can do the job in many cases but they lack the experience to help them avoid pitfalls common to anyone starting out. Our experience in life determines our perspective and that perspective in turn shapes our unique reality.

This is a fundamental reason why we have a difficult time communicating effectively; we value different ideas based on experiences that shape what is important to us as individuals versus that which can be left undiscovered.

Eric discusses the work of Eli Whitney and the way in which he changed how we work during the Industrial revolution through the development of interchangeable parts. This in turn lead to the creation of products that forever changed the workplace from one of artisan to that of an employee in a factory.

In turn this lead to the advent of the corporate culture and to this day businesses discuss how to best motivate employees. We still talk about the “carrot” and “stick”. Prior to the industrial revolution there was just the “stick”. You had to do what you were told. Then with the creation of factories and different managerial styles, the “carrot” or rewards to motivate people came into play.

Eric argues that there needs to be a third element to the “carrot” and the “stick” – not quite sure what that might be but we need to start debating and thinking more about that element.

“If I haven’t experienced it, it can’t be true.” A mantra that many have, and yet holding fast to such a thought process prevents us from gaining new experiences and by extension improve our capacity to lead others.

The video below was a framework I shared with good friend and colleague in Philadelphia Michael Carvin @mcarvin about how to move the conversation away from the usual debates that force projects to compromise and lead your team back to a focus on those for whom you are designing.

Seek First to Understand from Jeff Parks on Vimeo.

User Experience has much more to do than the web! “Back in the day” Eric was the Assistant Director of plays at the Royal Theater. In one particular play the scene took place in Italy in an authentic old world Italian kitchen; yet no one could get into the scene, it just wasn’t working. Eric suggested they fry up some onion and garlic stimulating the olfactory senses of what it would smell like in a real Italian kitchen allowing both the actors, and during the live performance the audience, to feel as if they were literally in the old country. (Plus snack sales went through the roof!)

I suggest that the IAI and IxDA board members should find ways to interact with their members through video and engage with their members in a more human way.

Eric is helping to build EuroIA 2009 this year being held in Copenhagen Denmark at the Scandic Hotel. Speakers are flying in from 14 different countries; an event that is shaping up to be an incredible opportunity to learn from those both within and outside the Information Architecture discipline.

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