Main conference presentation

The information architect and the fighter pilot

Matthew Milan

Thursday March 13 2008, 11:15 - 12:00PM

A fighter pilot and military strategist, the late John Boyd is considered by some to be the most important strategic thinker since Sun Tzu. His influence has been felt in the military community as well as the business world, with an increasing number of successful business leaders claiming his influence in their approaches to strategic thinking.

With much of his thinking based on the notion of conflict, Boyd’s ideas seem to be contrary to the way in which information architects engage in the design of experiences. This couldn’t be further from the truth; Boyd’s thinking can teach us a great deal about how to understand, interpret and design for human decision-making. In particular, his ideas on trust, communication and group interaction are extremely relevant to the contemporary information architect.

While Boyd’s ideas will have multiple applications for information architects, one of the most intriguing areas of interest is the design of social networks and emergent software. A common theme in Boyd’s work is the design of behavior for group situations and his ideas have considerable value in the context of informing strategy and design for technology-mediated social environments.

This presentation is targeted at all levels of practitioners, but will be of most interest to intermediate and advanced information architects who are looking to bring deeper perspectives to their design practices

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