Category Archives: people

are you designing your career?

this post ignited quite a few discussions with friends and folks from industry – thought would make a couple of quick edits/updates. v2.0

about people, places, things and EXPERIENCES

This isn’t a post about your passion, following your dreams or what have you. I think there is better material available out there. These are few lines about my observation in our industry – IT industry as you know it. Most of us who work for an ever evolving organisation or come from a background where everything revolves around ambition of getting to next level, important role and probably an onsite opportunity … there is a lot that rides on our choices (on the way) between those years spent at an organisation.

My question is – do we make choices when making important career decisions? 

You may compare jobs/roles when we are joining a new organisation (or may be note) but what about the career choices when you have to grow within an organisation? Do you ask the right questions like where does a particular role take me? whether the choice of work takes…

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are you designing your career?

This isn’t a post about your passion, following your dreams or what have you. I think there is better material available out there. These are few lines about my observation in our industry – IT industry as you know it. Most of us who work for an ever evolving organisation or come from a background where everything revolves around ambition of getting to next level, important role and probably an onsite opportunity … there is a lot that rides on our choices (on the way) between those years spent at an organisation.

My question is – do we make choices when making important career decisions? 

You may compare jobs/roles when we are joining a new organisation (or may be note) but what about the career choices when you have to grow within an organisation? Do you ask the right questions like where does a particular role take me? whether the choice of work takes you to a predefined outcome?

Truth is, most of us (including me) have made decisions that revolve around – What’s best for the organization

Forget about making conscious choices, do you (if you are reading it thus far) consciously making a choice of where your career needs to go ? the path, the direction, the outcome – I call it “Designing” your career.

Do you design your career or do you go with the flow?

Mentoring/Coaching/Growth conversation in organisations revolve around outcomes that look like rewards (like i mentioned above – promotion). Mostly these conversations aren’t focused on expertise, long term goals and most importantly link back to career choices that are being made. As long as the role benefits the organisation it is good role and good reward. I don’t intend to be a cultural change agent here – I don’t even intend to call out whats wrong etc. etc. in fact, I would argue that none of this is happening on purpose. It is happening because individuals (You and Me) aren’t making conscious choices that link back to our career aspirations (not the rewards). It’s us who need to rethink our priorities, rethink what career means, rethink the outcomes that are linked to expertise and have a “Design” of our own that leads to a possible certain outcome in terms of long term career planning.

I believe we all stand somewhere in these three boxes – its a matter of identifying that and (may be) work on moving towards the right side (if that makes sense). I don’t think there is anything wrong in being in any of the boxes but its important to be aware where you belong.

career-design

I have seen many folks struggle because they make choices assuming someone else (mostly their seniors) are making the right decisions for them, or make choices that have no thinking put into it.

Do you have a design for your career?

Does the opportunity fit into that design?

You have to own your career – best, you have to design your career. No one else, but you have to take the accountability for defining what do you want?

what is a creative technologist ?

Why do we need creative technologist? Here is a nice read on how creative contextual application of technology can have profound impact on our society.

http://www.sapientnitroapac.com/2015/05/04/creative-technology-connecting-the-next-billion

So, while you may hear a lot about this role / profile esp. in agency context –

what really makes a creative technologist?

creative-tech

Creative technologist has to solve for specific problems – commerce, marketing, service, product – a need, a behavioral change or what have you. So a creative technologist would need to really operate in the context of an overall solution.

It is important to operate from the position of an expert – expertise could be the domain expertise, knowledge of ecosystem (device or channel) or social context.

Creative use of technology is as relevant as the understanding of inner beauty of a product/service connect with the consumer – how does the consumer feel while using your product or a service and technology just becomes a medium to make that happen. So the context and understanding of experience becomes really important for a creative technologist.

and finally, as new technologies emerge – there would be an opportunity to build new ideas into reality. So a creative technologist of today needs to be a maker – someone who can bring digital-physical together, can build new products that may or may not have any precedence.

Steve jobs is probably the greatest creative technologist that  the world has seen – he understood consumers and solved for the unforeseen needs using technology with UX at the center of all his products.

There are a bunch of organization focused on building new profiles, promoting hybrid talents.  Although there are different views on developing this sort of mindset – the agenda and outcome is probably similar i.e. to solve for complex problems with a new hybrid point of view. MIT media lab is one of the first one on my list where technologist, biologist, architects, environmentalists (and many other disciplines) are trying to solve real human problems using technology – it probably is the most advanced culture to groom such a hybrid talent. On the other hand agencies like wieden+kennedy have developed their processes in such a way that technology and creative work on everything together – in fact they have gone a step further and have decided to do away with domains.

I believe that next set of challenges would require a new set of skills and new kind of solutions. These ideas and solutions for a more complex modern world will come from hybrid talent – creative technologist is right at the center of it because it directly deals with Human Experience and Technology.

are you a leader ?

Leadership to me is defined by three most important attributes:

    Authenticity:
    A leader has to be authentic in their approach towards people, matters and situations. It is imperative to command respect that you have original ideas and thoughts but most importantly you also have a style of your own. Many folks may or may not like it but I believe it is imperative to have a style that you can call your own.
    Expertise:
    Leadership is as much about inspiration as it is about expertise. A true leader stands for something, they should lead from the point of expertise and not necessarily general best practices. Expertise is the only way in which you can lead smarter folks (in many cases smarter than you), you can probably understand their POV and most likely add value to their thoughts and ideas. Expertise could also be a connecting the dots expertise, where in you can bring together a bunch of different expert skills together provide it a specific direction and turn the sum total into a beautiful piece of product/service/art.
    Risk taking ability:
    True test of leadership is when you have to stand up for your people, your values and your preachings. A leader would put his neck on the line in making the decisions that needs to be made, but would not vouch for the credit undue. In my experience, leadership can be earned just by exemplifying this one characteristic in situations where team looks up to decision making, decisive outcomes and predicting success and glory in the face of uncertainties.