Spurring UX Innovation in Academia Through Lean Research and Teaching
My newest article, “Spurring UX Innovation in Academia Through Lean Research and Teaching,” is currently available in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library as part of the proceedings of the 2016 International Professional Communication Conference (Pro Comm). In the article, RJ Thompson, Karan Saggi, and I explain our approach to doing Lean UX research and teaching within higher education.
Why Do We Need UX Innovation in Higher Ed?
As we explain in the article, Lean UX is a perfect methodology for developing innovative industry partnerships, research projects, and teaching opportunities. UX is a high-demand skill set right now, but both higher education and industry professionals alike have been slow to develop training opportunities in it. Why? Part of might be misunderstanding on both sides. From the industry side, many UX practitioners weren’t formally trained in UX, but learned on the job. They may not realize how important training is for future generations if we are to keep up with current market demand. From within higher education, UX represents a large repertoire of skill sets that have previously been represented by disparate disciplines.
Lean UX creates an important touchstone for low-risk, high-reward innovation by removing waste from design processes, creating cross-functional teams, and embracing experimentation.
What Does Our Approach Look Like?
In the article, we follow the model of Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden:
- Removing waste: Lean research and teaching within higher ed means putting outcomes before careful planning and documentation
- Creating cross-functional teams: Projects in higher ed are typically divided by disciplinary boundaries; Lean means breaking down these boundaries to create teams that work across disciplines
- Embracing experimentation: Analysis paralysis can often plague projects in higher ed; Lean favors experimenting with multiple iterations of a project rather than trying to get it right the first time
For each part of the Lean heuristic, we provide detailed steps for higher ed professionals of all stripes who want create innovative research and teaching projects.