Mike Lee – Designing a Strategy for Organizational Transformations

Sean Carmichael

March 29th, 2011


Technologies change quickly. The world around them changes just as fast. Organizations need to be able to recognize these trends and adjust their focus to stay relevant and efficient. But where do you even start?

Mike Lee has to face this challenge. Mike is the Senior Digital Strategy Advisor at AARP. With much of the organization’s 53-year heritage being within “traditional” media realms, shifting its publishing and broadcast businesses into the online world is no small task. In this podcast, Mike joins Jared Spool to discuss some of their design challenges. They also discuss the ways AARP has transitioned to the web, and how they have been exploring and taking advantage of mobile and tablet technologies.

Here’s an excerpt from the podcast.

“…obviously we know and we look very carefully at what the ROI is on the paper side, and I think the inertia that is behind this machine is at least two faceted. One is a good piece, it’s to say, well, it’s working and we’re pretty sure that this mode of doing the paper piece is going to be useful and engaging and accepted for a five to 10 year time frame.

But, for example, our numbers tell us there are about five million members with smart phones. And that number is only going to grow. Our mobile traffic, which is still in the single digit percentages, is showing its 70 percent IOS devices and 20 percent Android devices.

So that number, if it’s five million now out of nearly 40 million members, as it grows, will start to be really interesting and impactful when you start to get into the teens and the 20 percent share. Here’s this group that prefers digital and they want the green, sort of, membership, they want to opt out of paper. We’re not seeing a big rush to that yet, but, I think it’s only inevitable. And we’re seeing that that’s an opportunity.

So, as great as a paper magazine is, and it doesn’t need a battery and it doesn’t crash, and (it’s) ultra high resolution, and you can bookmark it really easily. (It) has page numbers, which the Kindle just only recently added, right?

Digital engagement is extremely compelling, because the person can engage with the organization from wherever they are. And if we do our job correctly, it’s offering the tools that they need, wherever they may be standing…”

Tune into the podcast to hear Mike address theses additional points:

  • How do you get an organization as old as AARP to begin to think about new technologies?
  • Do you find that you have to argue for good user experience?
  • Do you have a dedicated user experience team?
  • Are people talking about user experience closer to the beginning of projects now?
  • Has there been a change in energy level amongst management teams when it comes to the idea of user experience?

Mike is also one of the Masters joining us for the 2011 Web App Masters Tour. We’re coming to Seattle in May and Minneapolis in June. For more details such as dates, pricing, and agenda, visit UIEtour.com.

UIE Web App Masters Tour:
Get $100 off the Minneapolis Masters Tour with the promotion code BLOG.
Last Stop! Minneapolis

Recorded: February, 2011
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