In my travels, I’ve been equally confused and inspired by strategy. By strategy, I mean:
There’s probably more, but the above items are a good start.
I think for strategy to be effective, it helps for more people to understand it. This might include people who have no reason to know about, care for, let alone be involved in strategy. …
The shadow of systems thinking looms over everything I do, partly because I really enjoy learning and understanding complex things, but more so because the nature of our problems—and thus, solutions—avail themselves very differently when viewed through this lens.
…systems thinking is also a sensitivity to the circular nature of the world we live in; an awareness of the role of structure in creating the conditions we face; a recognition that there are powerful laws of systems operating that we are unaware of; a realization that there are consequences to our actions that we are oblivious to.
This is an aimless ramble about virtual conferences in the age of COVID.
In a surreal twist, lockdown has enabled me to attend 2 conferences at the same time — Primer and SofaConf—remotely. Strangely, intentional or not, the way the sessions are sequenced across the two conferences enabled me to watch them back to back without that much overlap.
That being said, I am finding myself engaging more with SofaConf than Primer, and it has to do with the more-practical content, and engaging Q&A follow-up after. …
Last week in Milan, I attended my 8th Interaction conference. If I could count Boulder as my first, then Milan would be by 9th, but it was a partial attendance because I was following tweets and updates remotely from my loft in London. The coverage was so amazing that I was able to sketchnote several talks and one workshop, and some people even thought I was there.
But I was smitten from that moment, and over the years, IxDA has become a professional home for me and many others.
I won’t be posting my thoughts on the talks I attended—they were all very high quality and I urge you to watch them when the recordings come out. I also recommend what Jason Mesut and Aleksandra Lazovic have both posted from the week. …
What I learnt at the final week of CIID Summer School 2019
Last week, I attended the “Change Management through Design” summer school course at CIID. The course was facilitated by Mary Wharmby and Grace Ascuasiati of Design Transformation, and formerly from Spring Studio and BBVA, where they led the design transformation change across the BBVA organisation.
It was exhausting, but I got a lot of out of it. It renewed my optimism for design thinking approaches as a counterpoint to traditional top-down, management-driven initiatives, by balancing it with human-centricity, creativity and experimentation, iteration and learning.
The main takeaways for me was about maintaining focus on people, having the right attitude, making incremental impact and trusting the process. I’ve tried to document my reflections from the course here. …
Last weekend, I was in Berlin for my annual trip for the European IxDA Local Leader’s Retreat and UXCampEurope. I facilitated an informal discussion session on “learning from each other’s backgrounds”, and captured some notes.
This session has inspired me to be bolder at embracing and driving a pluralistic way of working and seeing the world. This means less beating each other up about who’s-doing-design-better-than-X, complaining about other fields… but being more open to different ways of working, learning from others…
Disclaimer: I know I’ve complained about other domains / approaches before. If this was you — I’m really, really sorry. …
Experiencing and observing failure at work is highly undervalued skill for a designer to have. It’s priceless to have gained hard-earned professional insight, and almost all expertise and maturity depends on how to manage the risk of failure of all shapes and sizes.
Consider what your response might be to the following situations:
It was an intimate evening of discussions and camaraderie, as I took the opportunity to briefly rekindle with Jo Wong and Dan Szuc from Apogee HK, as well as other friends I haven’t met in years. But there were many new faces I got to know that evening, and we were sharing and debating and, well, reflecting on the idea of reflective practice.
I recently worked on producing design recommendations for a client’s chatbot, and as I focused primarily on the user experience (rather than, say, writing conversation flows), that process had me thinking more deeply about what makes chatbot experiences work.
Currently, there is a much experimentation and many chatbots now reflect this. Most articles and blogs focus on getting started, but there isn’t much focus on the human experience with deeper consideration for usefulness and context within people’s lives.
But the medium is becoming increasingly accessible and available, and I feel that artists, writers, designers and users play an increasingly important role in shaping what chatbot experiences are desirable and valuable. …
IxDA’s Interaction16, held in Helsinki last week, lived up to the expectation of fielding current trends like virtual reality, internet of things, designing with algorithms, artificial intelligence, and driverless cars.
And indeed, those topics did take centre stage, but with a different subtext than the ones I’m so used to seeing on my daily feeds. This subtext is about “designing the future for people”, rather than “what is the future enabled by more fancy tech?”. A slight but crucial difference.
As I reflect on the conference, I’m reminded by this Don Norman quote,
Technology first, invention second, needs last
As designers, we often can’t invent our way into the future as we rely on the means to get us there. In general, technology arrives to us first as crude and unrefined solutions, and then as diverse forms of adoption, before we ever get to influence its evolution or integration into society. …