Eric Reiss

CEO and Author


Innovation vs. Best Practice – Conflict or Opportunity?

“Best practice” implies doing things in the best possible manner, based on past experience. But we like to think of ourselves as innovators in a dynamic industry – we want to go where no one has gone before. Thus, “best practice” and “innovation” are like oil and water – they don’t easily mix.

How can we, as UX professionals, balance the need for consistency that “best practice” provides, with our on-going mission to improve the quality of our products? How can we create genuine improvements – and when have we been seduced by the evil twins, Fad and Fashion?

“Innovation vs. Best Practice” explores the elements that make up these two ends of the UX spectrum. We’ll take a closer look at the popular definitions of both innovation and best practice – and discover why these are frequently inadequate, misleading, or both. Why is a “standard” not always a “best practice”? And if “invention” can be spontaneous, why is “innovation” always planned?

We’ll also examine some of the worst reasons to innovate, which are also some of the most common, plus the Japanese concept of “chindogu” – “useless innovation.” Perhaps most important of all, we’ll see how User Driven Design helps us avoid harmful innovation in comparison to the more common User Centered Design methodology.

Want to learn the four Laws of Innovation? Want to be able to recognize the three danger signals of Fashion and Fad? Want to know why Jakob Nielsen may be right 37% of the time? See you at UX.LIVE London

About Eric Reiss

Eric Reiss has held a wide range of eclectic jobs: piano player (in a house of ill-repute), senior copywriter (in an ad-house of ill-repute), player-piano repairman, adventure- game creator, and stage director. His experiences have served him admirably as a designer, content strategist, information architect, and usability “expert” - although he can’t explain exactly how.

Eric has been actively and successfully involved in service-design projects since 1985. He was part of the team that made Scandinavian Airlines “Airline of the Year” in 1985. And a few years later, he worked with British Airways to accomplish the same thing following their privatization. Later, his service design techniques were used to train over 3500 civil servants throughout the European Community.

In more mundane lives, Eric has been a two-term president of the Information Architecture Institute and Professor of Usability and Design at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Today, Eric is CEO of the FatDUX Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, a leading UX company with offices and associates in over a dozen cities worldwide. He also has several books to his credit, including the best-selling “Usable Usability,” which is now available in five languages. You’ll find him on Twitter at @elreiss.