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Running for the IA Institute 2008 Board of Directors

The past several weeks have been marked by a lot of introspection and decisions about my future. One of the things I really want to do more of is to rekindle my relationship with the IA Institute.

While considering that, very kind people nominated me for the Board of Directors elections, which kick-started fantastic discussions with my peers and friends. The most fruitful, however, have been with Matt Milan and Russ Unger.

We share many common interests and values in addition to our collective appreciation and reverence for what the IA Institute has accomplished to date. With that, we decided to run for the Board of Directors as a unified platform.

Here is what I submitted for my Position Statement, which will be available in the IA Institute’s website along with all other candidates on September 8th:

Livia Labate’s Bio

I have been designing shared information systems my entire professional life. I consulted for small, medium and large enterprises across several countries for several years, where I learned that observation and adaptability are IA’s best friends. As the owner of my own business, I learned how to apply IA to business situations as successfully as to design problems. Finally, as the one responsible for developing the practice inside a large organization, I’ve learned that competence, self-confidence and bravery take you very far, but it’s in caring for and understanding the goals, interests and needs of others that you deliver meaningful results.

I was lucky to come across the IA community and subsequently the IA Institute, where I jumped to the opportunity to participate in the Translations Initiative, Mentoring Initiative and as a member of the Board of Directors in 2003-2005. I have also been part of the organizing committee for the IA Summit for the past 5 years where I’ve been involved with pre-conference seminars, organizing Bird-of-a-Feather sessions and more recently, the very successful Wall of Deliverables.

The quality and energy of the IA community was a key influencer in my decision to pursue Information Architecture as a career. More than a professional relationship, it’s in the IA community that I connect with people with like minds and interests, and continue to expand my horizons and contribute to something bigger than myself. In that continued pursuit, I believe I would be a valuable addition to the IAI Board of Directors.

Position Statement: Vision, Empowerment & Transparency

Matthew Milan, Russ Unger and I are running on a common platform in the hopes of being able to make a more meaningful impact to the Information Architecture Institute if we are elected.

We believe that the IAI needs to be a more transparent organization. We need to open a dialog with our members, encourage their involvement and find improved methods of making people aware of what is happening within the organization.

We believe the IAI should take a leadership role in educating our membership, people who are new to the workforce, new to working within our field and the companies that will hire them.

We believe that the IAI needs to get better at marketing and selling Information Architecture. We need to, as an organization, provide the services to companies who want to hire our members and begin practice areas where our coaching would be invaluable. Likewise, we need to train our members how to do this within their companies.

Finally, we strongly believe that the IA Institute should have a clear vision of its role within the User Experience community and more importantly how it contributes to the advancement of the field of Information Architecture. With strong vision comes strong capability, and we have a duty to our membership to provide this role.

We need to ensure the profession grows as we encounter new types of digital spaces. A large portion of IA practitioners have been web-focused, but as the web itself is crossing device, domain and platform boundaries, our practice needs to follow suit. That includes the substance of our practice as well as how the IAI supports its members and collaborates to accomplish its goals.

  • Let’s take advantage of our expertise in engaging audiences with like interests in non-physical spaces to further develop the Institute’s role. Our membership has grown and evolved along with the practice; there are numerous tools to explore beyond discussion lists and newsletters that can better fit this audience’s expectations. If I can accomplish only one thing as a member of the board of directors, that will be to bring the membership into the decision-making process — whether that happens through direct participation, awareness about actions taken by the directors or shared feedback.
  • For Information Architecture to become widely applied, we need to reduce the barriers for people to adopt the practice. From new job seekers to seasoned professionals, we need to convey simply what value our practice ads to people’s professional experiences, whether they are IA practitioners to the core or professionals with other interests that can benefit from the thinking offered by IA approaches. The IA Institute was born out of this need and it’s originally stated goals remain as applicable and relevant as ever.
  • There is a whole generation of practitioners that have graduated to positions of more visibility or influence, a luxury we did not have when the Institute began. They are ambassadors for our discipline and true enablers for expanding our reach and visibility. Whether they identify themselves as information architects, product managers, entrepreneurs, design managers, principals, or something else, the IAI can help channel that collective expertise and help those starting off their careers or exploring new paths, to figure out how to introduce, develop and advance the practice across their own organizations.
  • We can play a much stronger role in the field of User Experience by working with our sister disciplines and their respective entities. We have common goals and many overlapping interests; this represents an opportunity to combine our different strengths to shape what we want UX to become. We see practitioners doing this individually every day and we can accomplish exponentially more as an organization; one that learns from and with its members and external collaborators.
  • Establishing a more transparent organization with a long-term vision that empowers its members to fulfill our mission requires a board of directors that defines measures of success for the organization, with clear criteria and accountability. I hope to be a part of that.

    Contact Information

    I would be happy to further explore our position in greater detail. Please feel free to contact me via any of the methods below.

    PS: Elections are funny. It’s quite easy to state what you are for and what value you bring to the table, but takes good writing to frame it in a way that speaks to the different people across our community. The statement is nothing but a starting point – I would much rather be able to speak directly to the people who are going to vote and decide what they want the IAI to become. So please, write us!


    MLipson said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

    You have my vote!


    ldepaula said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    Nicely written… and imagine that all started with ” I see the moon in the sky” :)
    You have my vote too!


    Livia said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

    The two people who commented on my position statement (on this blog) are my mother and my mother in law. If nothing else, I know that my family believes in me!

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