Seeing Things Differently

There’s a few quotes within John Thackara’s In The Bubble book that gave me another important realization with regards to my purpose and how I seem to help people the most (yet have such a hard time describing it on a resume or bio).

We’re so flooded by noise that it’s hard to understand what’s going on. True, we have learned to filter out noise and distraction, but in so doing we have also constrained our capacity to reflect on and make sense of the bigger picture.

In order to do things differently, to reassert some kind of control over the evolution of events, we need to design ways to see things differently. Tomorrow’s literacies therefore need to be process and systems literacies.

Our world is filled with representations of invisible or complex phenomena. But most of them have been made and used by specialists as objects of research. So the design challenge described in this chapter has a second aspect: how to deploy new representations in such a way that they influence wider groups of people.

Although information overload is frequently discussed in the media — which helped cause it — our delimma is not that we receive too much information. We don’t receive anywhere near the quantity of data it takes to overload our neurons; our minds are capable of processing and analyzing many gigabits of data per second — a lot more data than any of today’s supercomputers can process and act on in real time. We feel flooded because we’re getting information unfiltered, unsorted, and unframed. We lack ways to select what’s important. The design task is to make information digestible, not to keep it out.

Simply put, I seem to have this knack for seeing the intangible and helping to make it tangible. For example, I have this ability to see the ebb and flow of a business, both internally and externally, as a whole system (or ecosystem). It’s why I seem to be so effective at defining processes and standards within a business, as well as defining the identity and culture of it as well. It’s also why I’m so fascinated with figuring out new ways of socially collaborating and interacting together, both offline and online (i.e. business organization, MMOs, CMSs, etc).

This is also why I’m so frustrated at trying to find work that can make use of this talent. For example, in a recent interview, someone told me that I might be better suited working in Human Resources. That to me would be like chopping off one of my arms because it only lets me utilize half of my talent. Why? Because when your talent is working in systems or more appropriately ecosystems, it involves working with both living and nonliving elements. Thus only working in Human Resources would “cage” me within human (living) interactions. Yet for me to work effectively from a whole systems approach, I need to work and immerse myself in all elements of it, no matter if it’s people, hardware, or software, because they are all connected.

Hilariously enough, this same interviewer proved this point to me. He indicated that the job position required work that related to “marketing”. When he described the details though, it sounded like user interface design and development.  When I indicated this, he agreed somewhat but elaborated that the purpose of the “interface” was to communicate and be a method of “interaction” between their customers and the company which is what marketing does. A radical thought to me at the moment but now it makes perfect sense.

All said and done now, my current challenge is how to effectively communicate this talent of mine easily, preferably within a visual way. I’ve got some ideas, based upon some previous research I’ve done in the past but I’ll have to play around with them before I can add them to my portfolio.