I'm off to the west coast of the USA for a week, visiting a slew of design companies (or companies that do design) as part of a fact-finding mission. It's part of the UK government's DTI's Global Watch programme - more details here.
With a handful of colleagues from the UK design scene, I'll be visiting and/or talking to NOP, Volvo, BMW, Intel, IBM, Cal State University, Jump, IDEO, Adaptive Path, Xerox Parc, Microsoft and Nike amongst others. We're going to be quizzing them as to their views about user-centred design techniques, innovation and strategy, and their design processes in general. Within the group, I'll be the one asking questions about adaptive design principles, and issues of transparency, openness, hackability etc - like a dog with a bone. The rest of our group have some really interesting angles on design, research, innovation, branding etc to pursue too.
Should be fantastic. My only teeny-tiny regret is that the schedule is so tight (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland in five days!) This means that a) I won't be able to meet up with the many people I'd like to meet up with on my first visit out to the west coast of the US, and b) I won't get to see much of these cities, several of which I've read, watched and heard so much about. Next time. (I'm not complaining!)
I hope to be able to blog some impressions as I go along - though I'm not sure if I'll be able to yet, either technically or ethically (on this, I won't blog anything without asking colleagues/'interviewees' first). Either way though, I'll report back here one way or another, as well as contributing to the 'official report' our group will be producing.