going, going, gone!

President of AIfIA and my clever partner Victor Lombardi has published a call to IAs and desingers in […]

President of AIfIA and my clever partner Victor Lombardi has published a call to IAs and desingers in hisAIFIA | Editorial: The Best Sourcing of Information Architecture. Wake up people, it’s not “if my job moves to India,” it’s “when my job moves to India (or china, or Russia)” what wil I do? And when your job moves, do you know what your next job will be? Or are you assuming it can never move? Because you are wrong. Moreover protectionism doesn’t work; it’s better that people learn to continually grow into the next oppurtunity.

There was an excellent article in the October HBR on why we will not only lose jobs to the emerging countries, but we won’t be thinking up good new ones in America’s Looming Creativity Crisis ($$).

The strength of the American economy does not rest on its manufacturing prowess, its natural resources, or the size of its market. It turns on one factor–the country’s openness to new ideas, which has allowed it to attract the brightest minds from around the world and harness their creative energies. But the United States is on the verge of losing that competitive edge. As the nation tightens its borders to students and scientists and subjects federal research funding to ideological and religious litmus tests, many other countries are stepping in to lure that creative capital away. Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and others are spending more on research and development and shoring up their universities in an effort to attract the world’s best–including Americans. If even a few of these nations draw away just a small percentage of the creative workers from the United States, the effect on its economy will be enormous. In this article, the author introduces a quantitative measure of the migration of creative capital called the Global Creative-Class Index. It shows that, far from leading the world, the United States doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 in the percentage of its workforce engaged in creative occupations. What’s more, the baby boomers will soon retire. And data showing large drops in foreign-student applications to U.S. universities and in the number of visas issued to knowledge workers, along with concomitant increases in immigration in other countries, suggest that the erosion of talent from the United States will only intensify. To defend the U.S. economy, the business community must take the lead in ensuring that global talent can move efficiently across borders, that education and research are funded at radically higher levels, and that we tap into the creative potential of more and more workers. Because wherever creativity goes, economic growth is sure to follow.


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    I’m sorry, but with all due respect to the esteemed Victor, India, China, and Russia are all a *very* long way from nurturing cultures where user needs are given the proper attention.

    Web design, scripting and coding may well be commodities, but good sound user-centered IA is not and will not be. Having worked with code farms in India and Russia, disappointingly on all occasions, I have grave doubts as to whether the conditions and economics that gave rise to them would ever be able to produce complementary IA organisations. As we know, such organisations must produce more than just engineering.

    All of which is another way of repeating my mantra: “The proper mindset is much harder to convey than the appropriate toolset.”

  2. 3

    As far as their skill development goes, I never say never; the 20th Century contained enough suprises that good UCD in Russia, China, and India in the 21st Century seems perfectly reasonable.

    But will the average designer there achieve Adam-like capabilities? Never! But unfortunate as it may be, most clients aren’t enlighted enough to seek out such high standards.

  3. 4

    With “best practices” and “IA standards” becoming easily available I do see cheaper sources taking over our jobs, be it overseas or college kids or having an internal staff member do it.

    I’ve seen this happen with software. We build all these great tools and methods, only to find out that Acme Company has released a similar tool/function in their MajorSoftware product.

    If we rest on our laurels IA designers are going to be a commodity. I believe we should be selling the idea of IA, not the tools and methodologies. Eventually I see people specializing: IA for commerce, IA for entertainment, IA for games, IA for new-device-B.

    Even in today’s world where progamming is a commodity, I will choose IBM software over ContractorABC. They have the brand name. They have the years of dependability. They will be around to support me.

    My goal: be useful to my clients. If I show them my value, I don’t need to debate my fees. I don’t need to be told “my five year old nephew can do a better job.”

    I need to market myself as the solution. I don’t need to market myself as an IA.

  4. 6

    in childhood my younger brother written a poem the poem heading going,going,gone in this poem he wrote the behavior of seasons.

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