This weekend I was at the Future of Information Architecture retreat. I’m still sleepy, as when IA’s get together they work each other into a frenzy of ideas that tends to last until 3 a.m. but starts up again at 8. Whew. The summits run that way also. If you are an insomniac, I suggest you check it out– your night-time will be full of ideas.
This event was a huge pleasure for many reasons. For me it was not just the people (smart and diverse!) not just the location (gorgeous and wild!) not just the format (interactive and participatory!) but the chance to discuss topics out of the ordinary. Honestly, I’m tired of “how to use metadata to improve ROI” and “optimize your site with flash” and so on. It was good to discuss offshoring of design, career paths for senior designers, enabling organizational change and the death of the page.
I’m sure notes will start appearing, and hopefully someone will get enough sleep to write up their notes as a B&A article. But for now I’d like to leave you with a little exercise.
Write down your last five jobs.
Now write down your next five jobs.
Now write down how you are going to get to the next two.
You don’t have to hold yourself to these, but thinking about them leads to interesting questions. For example, one participant was CEO of his own small technology company. Asked what his next job was, he shrugged and said “do you mean if my company fails?”
But another participant (who had been CEO of a couple firms before that) clearified the question by asking him if he wanted to stay CEO as his company grew, or would he step aside and become CTO, or be chair, or hire a CEO….
In our world, there is always a next step. Success or failure leads to the next success or failure. It’s good to think of what that could be, and prepare for when the future arrives. The future always shows up sooner than expected.