Last week in my Information Architecture class at NYU SCPS, I asked the students to form teams and quickly come up with business ideas roughing out their high-level vison, taxonomy and functionality using a card sorting exercise.
For homework, I stretched the assignment unusually, asking that each student conceive a 3 year plan for each of the businesses.
When we met yesterday in the second class, I asked that they analyze each individual plan as a team and reassess their business idea that had been formed the week before.
To make it more interesting, I introduced them to Wordle.net and recommended they paste all of their individual plans into this portal and analyze which words seemed to dominate the descriptions of the ideas. I then recommended they analyze the similarities and see if it helped evolve the vision.
My intention was that they look beyond their biases and view the business and its vision from a different angle, focusing their efforts not only on architecting the information and content that went into these websites and potential features, but also to critique, redefine and reaffirm the companies’ visions that had been birthed a week earlier.
I believe that designers need to be able to study ideas and feedback and think through a company’s vision; to own it and its business needs, making their work more informed, more precise and easier to understand. Not only to help architect the information within those services, but more importantly, to also architect the vison that leads those services.