A Shepard Tone (from Wikipedia)

In 2015, Rosenfeld Media launched the Enterprise UX conference for designers and researchers who tackle the complexities of designing for and within large companies. In 2019, we dropped the “U” from the name and became “Enterprise Experience” in order to invite our cross-functional partners to the conversation. In 2021, we are iterating again, to reflect the changes in needs, challenges and maturity of our audience. Welcome to the world, the Design at Scale conference!

What is Design at Scale?

If you are familiar with the E(U)X conference, think of Design at Scale as “enterprise experience beyond basics”. Instead of tackling all enterprise challenges, we will…

John Snow’s Cholera Map of 1854. If you think about it, it’s actually an amazing example of early civic design. More from The Guardian.

TLDR version: We’re launching a new community and conference on civic design; sign up here for details/announcements.

Talk talk talk

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been on a listening tour, meeting over 40 designers and researchers, as well as some design-adjacent folks, who work in or with the public sector. I’ve been trying to paint a landscape of the state of design in all kinds of government settings: national, regional, and local, outside the US and within.

It’s been absolutely fascinating. I knew the public sector was rich and complex, but with each new conversation, it’s clear that there’s so much…

You might have heard how grueling and painful it is to write a book. Well, I hate to break it to you, but it’s even worse than that. It’s a slow and lonely slog through the prose equivalent of the vast and miserable Siberian tundra. While you journey, you’ll be torn away from your loved ones for dreary, ceaseless stretches. And the slog offers no shortcuts (unless you’re one amazing plagiarist): you’ll have no choice but to slash your way through tens of thousands of words and hour upon countless hour to reach a destination unknown at the start.


A snippet from the excellent table of contents of Amy Bucher’s excellent book Engaged. Notice a pattern here?

I read through a dozens of book proposals each year. They often feature compelling prospective titles, succinct and illuminating blurbs, and proposed take-aways that make me wish I could run out and buy them today.

But rarely do I encounter a proposal author who knows where they’ll take their reader. Call it whatever you like—narrative arc, table of contents, reader journey—but proposed book structures tend to be, well, weak—if they exist at all. Weak structures generally lead to a difficult writing experience and a crappy reader experience.

It’s not surprising: most people who submit book proposals have very little experience…

‘Tis the season for companies to write year-end retrospectives. It’s a fraught sub-genre these days, given the shitshow that 2020 has been. But retrospectives offer a great opportunity to look back, learn, and plan. Here goes for Rosenfeld Media:

A quarterly review

Our 2020 started and ends on high notes, with a deep, dark, dank valley in between:

Q1: Who’s invention’s mom again?

We launched our third conference, Advancing Research, in late March/early April. Five weeks prior, we’d sold it out. Three weeks prior, we scrambled to convert it to a hybrid event — both in-person and virtual. Two weeks prior, we realized that we’d have to go…

Every year, I read dozens of book proposals and work with a similar number of conference speakers. And I find myself giving them the same advice, again and again, so I’m writing it down once and for all here. If you’re pitching a book or a talk — at least to Rosenfeld Media — here are three suggestions to keep in mind.

It’s a conversation, dammit

Learning is a social activity; if you’re crafting your brilliant ideas in a vacuum, no one will care because no one has been invited to care. …

Update: As of November 23, about 100 people have joined the Google Group. Discussion is starting to pick up a bit. We’ve also scheduled a couple of kick-off meetings. About 30 participated in the first one, last week, and another is scheduled for 5pm ET tomorrow, November 24 (join the Google Group and I’ll send you an invite).

I’m putting out a call for data scientists who give a damn about qualitative research.

(I’m not having trouble finding qualitative researchers who value quantitative research, interestingly. I have theories! Some other time though.)

If it wasn’t obvious, one of these blind men represents data science. Image from Dave Gray’s Liminal Thinking.

If you’re a data scientist who knows that…

This is the written version of a short speech I’m presenting to a group of past and present Enterprise Experience conference speakers in late August of 2020. Sometimes it helps to write these things out in advance…

Way back in the aughts, when I was an independent information architecture consultant (between my Argus and Rosenfeld Media careers), I worked with huge enterprises like Caterpillar, Ford, Paypal, the VA, and the CDC. I did my darndest to get those organizations to make their information more accessible — to customers, partners, and employees.

While I had some successes here and there, I…

Can virtual conferences compete with the in-person experience?

Sometimes it seems that everyone is struggling to pivot to remote: school teachers grappling with remote learning, social workers trying to decode remote therapy, and even comedians scuffling to kill it on the virtual stage. Conference sponsors are no different, and most are still in shock; they’ve not had the chance to catch their breath and figure out the role they should play in virtual conferences.

Well, there’s good news: there are many silver linings when it comes to virtual conference sponsorship. Maybe even some benefits when compared with sponsoring in-person events. At least that’s what we’re finding at Rosenfeld…

Combatting Zoom fatigue with attendee cohorts and sponsor activities

I realize that this photo is inverted. But I have no other ideas for imagery to associate with virtual conferences. They are, truly, creatures of the Upside Down.

Not going to lie: it’s been an, um, challenging time to be in the conference business. I’m sure the reasons are more than obvious. And if I hear (or say) the word “pivot” one more time, I’m going to barf.

That said, it’s also been a wonderful time to be in the conference business. I’m an idea junkie, and when you’re forced to virtualize a conference, you have no choice but to try out new (and dare I say innovative) ideas. …

Louis Rosenfeld

Founder of Rosenfeld Media. I make things out of information.

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