The überconference – Lean UX NYC 2014

Sharing: facebook, twitter


überproduct was übertraveling to NYC and Jersey City to attend the überconference Lean UX NYC 2014 – the only possible über-ommission being that we didn’t use uber for transport.

It has to be said that this is the best experience of a conference we had in a long long time. It can only be compared to the old days of Lean Kanban, when the topic was completely new and open and a million of new insights and topics were to be discovered.

Will and as few as three colleagues and less than a handful volunteers came up with a conference hosting 700 visitors, 54 speakers and 30 workshops (3 hrs each). But the real thing was that the most diverse topics were covered. From the most deep down UX topics over anything Lean over to philosophy and logics. But those working on the forefront of knowledge work could work their pattern recognition muscles to finally find out that all of those disciplines are covering the same cultural and mythological issues.

High Line

NYC High Line

So, the actual learning was across the disciplines and that there is a common solution pattern. And without being able to formulate in a few sentences the ingredients of solving knowledge works problems, it goes along the lines of creating a culture of an openness, collaboration under the umbrella continuous learning and at times the complete openness to accept counter intuitive truths, putting your models upside down, reframing them, accepting your own biases and finding ways to counter them with more diverse insights from the outside perspective. There’s – of course – much more to it.

To name just a few, the following speakers really made an impression on us:

Jabe Bloom, opened the conference with his key note on Russell Ackoff’s “Idealized Design”. Listen to this and you know a lot about how to come up with the right services and products for your customers. Deep stuff. So deep in fact, that we had to rewrite our talk after that.

Tomer Sharon, who gave a talk on the wrestling universe of the WWE must be mentioned. He simply gave a talk on his insights in the culture of WWE to demonstrate how really understanding a culture opens up all kinds of opportunities to serve this culture. While the talk seemed to be pure entertainment, it made such point of how deep understanding can go and how well such understanding can be presented and then again be understood by outsiders to the research that is was sheer magic how subtle the point came across: Research is only research when you really care! This was one of the best examples of “Show, don’t tell” we’ve ever seen.

The third person we absolutely need to mention is John Shook, simply for lifetime achievement and embodiment of the Lean culture and values. He so much IS the world of Lean that simply listening to his stories and talking to him teaches you more about Lean than a truckload of books or trainings.


Required support: CoffeeUp

The major theme bridging the diversity of the topics of the conference was Dave Snowden’s approach to complexity theory ‘Cynefin’.

Also to mentioned, of course are the contributions by

  • Fridel and Arne of Jimdo on “Management, Alignment, and Collaboration Done Differently”
  • Jeff Gothelf on overcoming agile dogma in his talk “Purity vs. Pragmatism
  • Trevor Owens of Javelin (formerly known as the Lean Startup Machine) on problems with and a model for Innovation inside of the enterprise which is also covered in his (and his co-authors Obie Fernandez) book “The Lean Enterprise
  • many more need to go unmentioned, as a book could be written on the content.
Side trippin'

Side trippin’

We ourselves gave a talk on the topic of “Creation and Production combined”. In it, we stated that companies do best in making explicit two different kinds of work: Creation (exploration) and production. As Lean UX says, they can be integrated – but only to a certain level. We explained which kind of research can be integrated into development and which better not. Also, we gave a workshop on “Service Design for Agencies” in which we explained how Agencies could better transfer their external insights to their clients by applying their very design tools to their own work.

It is a unique opportunity that Will curates such a diverse group of speakers and audience that really gather the most advanced thinking across the discipline that you may be able to encounter these days.

Mark your calendars for next year’s issue of this great conference – you can already register here. As we said earlier  it is one of the events that really matter.

If you cannot wait until next year, you can experience Will in our 2 day “Bootcamp for Lean Product Management” on July 1–2 in Berlin, Germany, betahaus. We are waiting for you. Be sure to make a reservation as long as we still have capacity available. Read more on the Boot camp’s content here!

For questions or requests Simply drop us a line (info at ueberproduct dot de)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>