This book was written as a response to the positive and heartening reception to a series of articles published (online and print) on innovative interventions in organizations. The core message of We Tried to Warn You is that every day, micro-failures of communication and their cover-ups can accumulate, and enable a network of decisions that lead to systemic-level failures of organizations. I report on first hand experiences as an organizational participant, and more recently as a design/management consultant, informed by the substantive research published over the years by key authors I have learned from, and cite in the book.
We Tried to Warn You presents a case study in compact form, with identifying details obscured to protect the great and the guilty alike. I focus emphasis on the knowledge-based practices that enable organizations to sense and make decisions from critical feedback from customers in the field, especially the multidisciplinary field now known as “user experience” (or UX). UX has become a primary conduit for understanding “real users” and their needs in current organizations worldwide. UX is often involved throughout all phases of a project, from user research, to product concept design, to final design and user testing.
As a still-emerging knowledge discipline, UX practices were developed in the case organization as a response to a systemic failure, with outstanding positive results. The book also shares lessons learned from a process called socialization, which distributes leadership and skill development among organizational players in the formation of key strategic practices such as UX.