An artist’s journey in IT

Artist Studio

I have spent my career in IT, primarily because it has afforded me the opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills every single day. I have a questing disposition – in that I am attracted to challenges that help me get better faster. And I measure my improvement by way of the value I deliver to those I serve.

My questing disposition also shapes my avocations. I am a jeweler, a blacksmith, an enamellist, a lapidary, a glass blower, a carver…which is to say that when I can find time after the demands of work and family, I create art objects. At least I like to think so.

For much of my working life, I have thought that my approach to IT was orthogonal to my approach to art. My approach to IT was to develop a design then implement it. After all, how hard is it to figure out what’s needed? By contrast, my approach to making art has always been an interactive dialog with the materials. With art, I am not one of those people who develops a design then executes it. Instead, I assemble and juxtapose materials. I play with curves and angles. I combine and contrast textures and colors. The result is often wildly different than the initial intent or inspiration.

For me, IT and art were different. But over time the IT industry has coalesced around interactive dialog. For example I’m on firm ground when I cite my colleague Annu Singh’s blog on the five principles of Service Design Thinking:

  1. User-centered: Design services as experienced by the user — e.g., a company in New York uses kinematics software and 3D technology to custom design garments as per the user’s body, allowing the garment to flexibly conform and fluidly flow in response to the person’s body movements.
  2. Co-creative: Include users and all stakeholders in the process — e.g., Star Citizen, a video game company, raised $137 million by co-creating the game in modules along with the gaming community
  3. Sequencing: Visualize services as interrelated actions — i.e., uberization or democratization of services helps simplify several steps; blockchain is another development.
  4. Evidencing: Make these actions tangible — i.e., pilot using machine language, AI, VR. Fail fast, build small, be agile. These help you design and refine a better service and reduce time to market.
  5. Holistic: Consider the entire environment of the service.

There’s good reason for the IT industry to embrace these principles. After all, no matter how brilliant your original design and execution, the world does not stay the same. So the key is to embrace fast learning and rapid response to changing environments and citizen needs. That’s what a 21st century organization does when it cultivates a culture of sensing and experimentation.


Service design thinking: What?

Service design thinking: How?

Transforming to a digital enterprise


  1. Very interesting! Inspirational even but how does he manage to do all?


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