Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jun 2023

Frustrations of Un-Optimization

In the shape of Avanceé, there’s the aforementioned challenge of the coaching down-slope, but also there’s that of other frustrations. Not speaking of things such as tech/tools not working, or even of slower-than-desired answering of questions. No, probably the hardest frustration to deal with is that of un-optimized workspaces. Where there’s an ask to do/be more, but upon nothing more than a cursory assessment, addition isn’t needed. Optimization is. This usually means some level of retraining - and depending on the audience, this can be somewhat… frustrating.

While setting up the new lab, this aspect of being frustrated about not having something optimized has come up pretty often. This lab is supposed to have a portion of what would be considered normal computing (small desktop, monitor, mouse and keyboard). The lab also has a few things that are not so normal. (a few hacking tools, some alternative input devices, and means to be able to log into the desktop without ever needing a screen). However, on the road to setting this up to work in such a way that invite it to be alive, the workspace is not really all that optimized. There are shades of computing which looks like the 1990s sitting on the desk next to shades of computing from 50 years from now. Pieces of software do not connect as easily as they should, and therefore, a workflow that had intentions of being futuristic, think something like Star Trek the next generation. This software is more like the 90s never left, and attention to detail has taken a backseat to “power user functionality.“ It’s quite frustrating.

These kind of things can also be inferred in projects. You might notice it on your team when you are not using the software suite or workflow service in the way that it could be best used (for example, saving local copies of documents onto your machine versus using cloud services and contact management features). You might design a product to act in a particular fashion, but find that your primary user base is doing something you totally are against or didn’t see coming. Or it could be that the Alcom from using a particular product or service it’s not something that’s easy to measure, if you will, you’re doing things that are not by the book even though you’re getting intended results. These kind of things can be quite frustrating.

So what then do you do?

There’s a piece of the entrepreneurial journey here which says that you should just go ahead and persist. That you should take these lumps and observe them, not as a wall, but as a challenge. And sometimes this can be true. it takes time to mature your workspace, it takes time to orient teams, it takes time to change an organization such that things no longer look like there is intentional friction. There’s also a part of the journey where you have to be OK with giving up, closing shop, if you will. You went down a particular road and it really was not the good destination. And so you move forward no more. You stop, do a U-turn, and go about some other path to a newly desired end. If you can successfully make that change in your mindset and your behaviors, the frustrations of things not being optimized can now become fuel, for what allows you to optimize a new set of circumstances.

It’s in the space where you find that creative spark, and you touch on that thing which enables you to answer the challenges of your marketing opportunities, your life, opportunities, or even simply just getting your research lab in the best posture for advancing…