I found out on Monday morning that I didn't win a spot on the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute this year. While the competitive lizard-brain part of me doesn't like losing, the overall outcome of the Open IAI initiative and its impact on the Board elections was extremely positive, so I can't help but be very pleased.
I want to congratulate the newly elected board members, Andrew, Russ and Livia, as well as returning board member Christian. As many have remarked, the pool of candidates for the board this year was among the strongest ever. Not unlike the NBA draft class of 2003. This election went very deep, and the overall strength of the candidates means that the the biggest beneficiary has been the IAI. To the other candidates who didn't succeed this year, don't stop pushing. I expect to see all of you running against me for a spot on the board next year!
Talent was not the only element that made the IAI board elections great this year. The conversation around the issues moved beyond the candidates page on the IAI website. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the IAI Email list all saw fantastic conversations that really cut to the core of some of the unresolved issues facing Information Architecture today. As I mentioned before, Livia, Russ and I were all very pleased with the impact that the Open IAI platform had on the process. I expect this isn't the last that the IAI election process has seen of multi-candidate, platform based campaigning. It's certainly not the last you've seen of the Open IAI. That's something I'll address in an upcoming post.
To be clear, it wasn't just the Open IAI initiative that made the engagement around the elections great this year. Many people, both candidates and members, got involved and made a difference. Christina Wodtke did an amazing job instigating some great conversations on the IAI mailing list. David Malouf was extremely effective in challenging the candidates to be clear about their perspectives. David and I probably sit about as far apart as possible on definition debate, but his passionate thinking was a very positive input into the process, and that's something I really respect.
The outcome of all of this activity between members and candidates quite positive. The Defining the Damn Thing conversation was frenzied and furious right up to the day before the election wrapped up, and it was great to see a pragmatic angle to what is usually a relatively unproductive conversation. In particular, Jorge Arango's new web app, thatword.net was a nice solution to the typical tail chasing - make sure you check it out.
If ever an incoming IAI Board has had a positive mandate from its members to make things happen, I have to believe that it's this one. The existing Board members and the new elects should make for a nice mix of experience and determination. I'm excited to see how they build on the work of past boards. With new initiatives like the IAI Vision project, things look very good.
I haven't seen the IA community this lively in a while, and I hope the IAI Board can harness this and keep the momentum going. As a member organization that is mostly volunteer driven, it's critical that members get involved in shaping the future of the Institute. If you're a new member, I encourage you to get involved - the IAI needs people who care about Information Architecture.
So again, congrats to the new board board members, and thanks to the outgoing folks for your hard work over the last two years. I also want to thank the people who voted for me and supported me publicly and privately. Your confidence is truly appreciated.