Me: Weathering 2020. Ambivalent about 2021.

Boon Yew Chew
7 min readDec 31, 2020

2020 has obviously been a very different year—I’m grateful my situation has been largely uneventful, somewhat repetitive throughout. I’ve cherished working from home and not missing the daily commute, learning how to bake sourdough bread, spending more time with my family, and gradually doing up the house.

I did break up the monotony by attending several conferences and workshops this year, namely SofaConf and Primer (my post-event ramblings here), then Interaction Design Day, which I helped co-organise with many other talented local leaders. The two workshops I attended during Primer conf—SystemViz and Layers—opened up new perspectives for me on speculative design and systems thinking. I was also fortunate to be in Milan for Interaction20 (again, post-event ramblings from me), before the lockdown happened, and I will attend Interaction21 fully remote in February.

Locally through IxDA London, Jason, Tanya, Jill, Igor, Giuseppe and I have organised 10 events this year, covering topics from Interaction20, systems thinking, strategic design, art and IxD, somewhat-smart and autonomous things, and designing for an uncertain future. We even managed to maintain our annual movie night run despite going virtual. A few weeks ago, a small group of attendees joined us for our final event of 2020 – a quiet, end-year reflection of the year and some smart guesses towards what we’ll face in the coming months and years – a nice way to wave the year goodbye.

Systems, Organisations, and Strategy

My mostly routine, mundane, daily work-at-home life feels unfair amidst challenges people are facing due to the pandemic, not to mention climate change and other complex issues the world has to weather over the coming years.

It’s got me thinking more broadly and towards future horizons, and investing more time and effort into systems, organisations and strategy. This began last year when I attended CIID’s organisational change through design course and MapCamp 2019, and am now extending in 2021 via Acumen’s Systems Practice course and CIID’s turning people into teams.

I’m not quite sure where this will lead me in the next few years, but I feel like I’m learning a lot of new things again, just like how I did when I first started out in UX and design. One thing is sure – I can no longer look at design in the same way I used to, which is somewhat scary because I’m still designing but I feel like…

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Boon Yew Chew

Principal UX designer at Elsevier. IxDA local leader and board alumni. Strategy. Systems. Visual thinking. Design. Has a brain in his stomach.