Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where's the innovation?

One of the pluses and minuses of the new job is that my new employers do not want traditional manuals and online help. They want something new and innovative. Something very "Web 2.0" (or probably "Web 3.0").

The problem is that I haven't seen much that's new and innovative in the documentation world. Same old stuff. Oh sure, people are using DITA and topic-based content. But, that's not particularly earth-shaking stuff. And it seems odd to me that people are using DITA and creating output that makes it obvious that someone is using DITA. It's like keeping the outside cover of your laptop transparent so you can see how it was put together. Does anyone really care?

I did speak to one of the well-known consultants in the business and gleaned some ideas of how to incorporate videos and wiki content into user documentation. Simple, yet sensible ideas. So, I have something to start to mull over.

Having a mandate to create something new and innovative is kind of cool. Except, there isn't a lot of innovation in the tech doc world, so there aren't a lot of things I can use as a model. Ironically, my business card states that innovation is one of my strengths. It's a little bit of a lie...I'm not really all that innovative on my own. I can extrapolate ideas from others but a true innovator? Not really -- not when I'm starting from scratch.

It's all very exciting. And exhausting. Since 2000, I've had 4 jobs and now I'm starting the 5th. Five jobs in 9 years. What I liked about my old job is that it was comfortable. I knew the tools, I new the process, there was little stress involved. Now, I'm starting over, most likely creating a completely new tool kit. Which is good in some ways, but not exactly comfortable.

But, all whining aside...I DO truly recognize that I am very, very lucky to be offered the position. I am determined to live up to the expectations...some how. Because, I really want to be able to stay with this job for as long as possible.

1 comment:

Peter O said...

If anyone can do it Joan, with flair and substance, you can! I'm so happy for you.

Peter O.