What Do Idea People Do?

What Do Idea People Do?

We had an interesting lunch in Portsmouth: me, Mark Reeves and Jeff Leombruno discussing the nature of professional organizations. We were wondering what it would take to get some kind of professional organization of developers and designers going in the Portsmouth / New Hampshire area…just idle talk right now, since none of us really know what’s already here already. We also chatted about what we’d expect from such an organization, and how not to let it get stale (anything but that, please). It would be nice to have a core group of people who were interested in sharing process and information on a regular basis, though this runs somewhat counter to the usual motivation of “meet and drink beer”. So clearly there are some kinks to work out of the idea :-)

Bring On the Clowns

An interesting tangential conversation we had, which Mark succinctly summarizes, is the offering of value through ideas and inspiration. It’s great stuff, but how do you convince people it’s worth paying for? A big part of web development often ends up being about strategy and business, and we end up giving that away for free because people like to pay for what they can see and touch.

It occurs to me that the way out of this is not to sell ideas, but to sell performance. Yeah, like a clown! Don’t laugh…people understand the value of a clown far more easily than they do YOUR job.

To understand the value of a real information architect / idea person, you might have to sell this as a performance. If a clown delivers laughs, then an IA guy must deliver insights and inspiration. Understanding THAT, I think, is the key to packaging ideation services.

That suggests it’s time to get on the Podcast bandwagon and start thinking in terms of performance by proxy. The written word is fine, as are diagrams and other supporting media, but surprisingly it’s NOT the main deliverable for an idea guy or gal. Interesting, yes?

1 Comment

  1. James 18 years ago

    David, you may be interested in the Refresh activity that goes on in many cities around the US (and now around the world).


    Refresh is not a professional organization, but I believe that is a big part of the appeal.  Each city is self-organizing; there is no Official Refresh Central.  The first group began in Dallas, but folks in Phoenix liked the idea, stole it, ran with it, and evangelized it; now there are over two dozen local groups.

    The monthly meetings of coders and designers are always fun and informative.