hyper island

#24 The UX Leader

Jane Austin is Head of UX at The Telegraph, one of the world’s most successful news sites. She also has the best name of all time. Jane is a User Experience specialist with a particular interest in data, start ups and how UX works with Agile and Lean. You can watch her talk about how to give and receive design feedback over here. I heard Jane talk at UX Scotland and immediately wanted to be her friend. I'm delighted she is spending an afternoon with the Experience Design students at Hyper Island. Here's what she has to say for herself...

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

Ask for forgiveness, not for permission. In other words; be confident, own your decisions, act like a leader. Always have a brilliant proposition, but remember it's the execution that makes the difference. The key is not to sweat the small stuff.

What’s your burning question of the moment?

How might we make content pay? How might we achieve the perfect balance of personalisation and editorial viewpoint? How do I get more creativity into my life now I'm a team leader and not a doer?

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What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

Now don't blush, but your talk, Designers: Guilty By Association, at UX Scotland was right up there - the power of design to engage, to do good, to be radical, to change lives, to be human. It made me examine what I'm doing and what I want to do.

The amazing work work being done by Tech Will Save Us (collaborating with the BBC on MicroBit) to get kids coding. Also the work done by the guys at Kano to get kids in developing countries coding using their Raspberry Pi interface. The whole set up process is one of the best examples in experiential design.

What would be your one piece of advice to students on Hyper Island’s new MA in Digital Experience Design?

Sleep on it. Easier to solve a tricky problem with a fresh head. Believe in yourself and be yourself. Find your voice and your style. Know when to stop talking. Took me years to realise this!

Credit to Andrew Millar

You can read more profiles over here...

#23 The Behavioural Researcher

#22 The Service Designer

#21 The Local Government Designer

#20 The Start Up Designer

 #19 The Human Centered Designer

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker 

#1 The Go-Getter.

One day in the Outbox House

When I first met Anne-Marie Imafidon I was instantly hooked by her vision of bringing lots of young girls together to live and play under one roof to launch tech businesses. Introducing the Outbox Incubator! I was delighted to accept Anne-Marie's invitation to come to the house and talk to the girls. The Outbox Incubator is a ground-breaking approach for young women who want to create Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based companies.

It's run by the award-winning social enterprise, Stemettes and it gives teenage girls the funding and support to launch their own science or tech-based businesses.

45 girls aged 11-22 are spending six weeks learning and living together under one roof in the Outbox Incubator house. They are visited by experienced mentors to find out more about running a business, developing a product and getting funding to take their ideas to market. The team have just completed their second week and I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with them last Friday.

I started by telling my story; from studying Product Design at undergraduate level, setting up Snook and moving to Manchester to work at Hyper Island. The key messages of my talk were: why service design is important when building a digital product, designing the future you are building and designing the future 'you'.

 

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It was a gorgeous day so we headed straight into the garden and kicked off the session with an energiser. You can find a host of energiser ideas over at Hyper Island's tool box. We played ultimate rock, paper and scissors!

Outbox: stemettes - redjotter

I introduced the girls to customer journey mapping and tasked each of them to think about the journey of their customer - both physically and emotionally. The mapping of the customer journey is a key tool associated with Service Design. From the very second your customer downloads your app he or she will encounter touchpoints (places of interaction between the customer and service) that will contribute to their final evaluation of your service. For example, during a typical trip to a supermarket, the cashier will likely be the last touchpoint of the customer service journey. How the cashier treats the customer will affect the impression the latter have towards the company. Prior to this, there are also other touchpoints which will shape the entire shopping experience. The second stage will culminate in the evaluation of the individual experiences customers have with the provided service.

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We then spent some time thinking about the future and the impact we want our ideas to have on the world. It's all well and good talking about changing the world but what do you want to change and why?We created mock newspaper headlines from ten to twenty years from now to visually tell the story of how our idea could shape the future.

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We then dived straight into thinking about the future. I believe we should all treat our future like a brief – turn it into a project. The only thing we know is that change is the only constant, and the ability to acquire new skills is the best skill of all. Seth Godin says :  “If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will wilfully ignore the future that is likely”

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I was particularly moved by this 12 year old stemette's vision for the future. I reckon you should print it out and stick it your wall too .

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Then I introduced the idea of ‘The Better You’. The Better You is your believable possible. First, the students sketched each other and then notated their own portrait with the qualities of their believable possible. In the end we had fifteen crowd sourced portraits full of our believable possibles.

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The Better You by Jack Cheng : Someone is sitting at your desk. There is something familiar about this person. From a distance, this person bears a striking resemblance to you: they have the same frame, the same face, the same features are you. But as you get closer, you begin to notice subtle differences between this person and yourself. They look like they eat healthier and exercise a little more regularly. Their posture is slightly better and their clothes have fewer wrinkles. This person is The Better You.

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The Better You knows the same things you know. They’ve had the same successes you’ve had, and they’ve made the same mistakes. They strive for the same virtues and falter to the same vices. The Better You procrastinates, too. The Better You is not perfect. But the difference between you and the Better You is that the latter reacts a little faster, with more willpower. They practice their virtues a little more often and succumb to their vices a little less often. They rein in their procrastination a little quicker. They start their work a little earlier. They know when to take a break a little sooner.

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The Better You knows, just as you know that doing what you love is difficult but worthwhile. They know, just as you know, that the difficulty is what makes it worthwhile in the first place. They know, as you know, that is everything was easy, nothing would have significance, and you wouldn’t needs to adopt new metaphors or read new books about how to do the work you should be doing.

The Better You is your believable possible. Your believable possible is your potential at any given moment, the person you know at your very core that you are capable of being in that instant. Only you know what your own believable possible is.

It raised energy and aspirations and I hope these better you’s find new homes on the fridge doors of the Outbox house! They certainly inspired me and made me smile.

We wrapped up the afternoon with a feedback session. Feedback is at the core of Hyper Island's methodology and you can find out more about some of the tools we use over here. As some of the girls had only spent a few days together we used "my current strongest impression of you is..." and "one thing I really appreciate about you is..." These are good first feedback exercises. They support individuals to try out giving and receiving a very basic form of feedback in a safe way.

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It all about openness. Openness creates trust and trust creates more openness. Feedback exercises aim to support groups to build trust and openness and for individuals to gain self-awareness and insight. Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. We wrapped up the session with a check out which is a simple way for a team to close a process.

Thank you again to Anne-Marie for inviting me and having the vision and skills to make the Outbox house a reality. Thank you to the stemettes for your energy and your lovely feedback. I am truly inspired by each of you.

Be your believable possible and stay brilliant!

#21 The Local Government Designer

I met Dom Campbell on twitter eight years ago. We had a strong shared interest in wanting to change the world :) One of my very first service design projects was working with Dom and his team at Future Gov on ALISS. Fast forward to today and now Dom and Carrie lead a team of forty, with studios in London and Melbourne. I am a big fan of the work Future Gov do and applaud the impact they are having on public services as well as a wide range of social challenges. Their approach and work have been a consistent source of inspiration for Snook and I'm thrilled Dom is coming to Hyper Island to talk to the students about public service transformation and social innovation. Here's what he has to say... What's the biggest lesson you've learnt over the last year?

How to manage a growing company after taking investment. We’ve nearly doubled in size and opened an office in Australia in the past year. This has needed a lot of commitment from a lot of people to keep the show on the road and grow and succeed. At times it’s easy to lose focus on what really matters - your people and your team - when you’re focused on travelling around and winning new contracts. You just can’t afford to lose focus. Your team is everything.

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What’s your burning question of the moment?

Where does digital government go next? We’re at a bit of a cross roads where we have been doing this a while now (FG for 7 years, GDS for 5 and a whole host of others). We’re well on course to fix the basics, but with “austerity heavy” heading our way in the next 5 years, will public services open their doors to a way of creative disruption through digital and design, or freeze like rabbits in headlights and default back to old behaviours.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen / heard / read in last year?

As a Brummie, the highlight of my year was probably TEDxBrum. Not only did I get to pour my heart out to my home town, but I got to hear from all the amazing people pushing the city forward. There’s a real sense of energy and momentum in Birmingham right now, due in no small part to the amazing Immy Kaur. One to watch.

Oh and in terms of reads, read this.

What would be your one piece of advice to students on MA?

Go and get experience in a big company for a year or two, learn all the good and bad of working for those firms (process, structure, hard work - good and bad sides of both), apply your trade in one deep area (e.g. government or banking), get frustrated and either strike out on your own or work for a small business. It just works, trust me.

You can read more profiles here...

#20 The Start Up Designer

 #19 The Human Centered Designer

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker 

#1 The Go-Getter.

#20 The Start Up Designer

I got to know Anna through Social Innovation Camp. This was where the idea for Mypolice.org was born and since then I've followed Anna through her journey of Bethnal Green Ventures, studying an MBA and launching Poetica.  I'm thrilled Anna is coming to talk to our Experience Design students as part of their Business Strategy project. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

Be comfortable with what you don’t know. I’ve learnt a great deal about both the process of building software and the current state of web technologies, but I am the only non-engineer working on Poetica (https://poetica.com). I couldn’t write the code that powers what we’re building myself; but I understand how it works and I can explain the technology to anyone who asks. I am a generalist and pragmatist: I like knowing a little bit about a lot of things and I enjoy learning as much as I need to achieve something or find useful connections between things. It’s liberating to work with talented people who do jobs you can’t: it forces you to completely trust your co-workers and helps you focus on your own role within a team. It also teaches you to ask good questions and to be unafraid of admitting you don’t know something. Being comfortable with the unknown is also important for creating anything new: everything is unknown; it’s your job to discover it.

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What’s your burning question of the moment?

What to prioritise next. The hardest thing about building a new company/product/service is deciding what the one most important thing you should be working on right now is. That’s true of both of what you as an individual within a team should be doing and making decisions about what the team as a whole should focus on. That’s always the most burning question. Your time and resources are finite; your options for what to spend those on can feel infinite. There’s noone telling you the answer. Finding ways of prioritising product features, prioritising which users you talk/listen to, prioritising business development opportunities - that's consistently our biggest challenge.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

A software developer called Kate Heddleston has been writing a fantastic blog (https://www.kateheddleston.com/blog) about working culture in the technology industry. We talk about the lack of women being a ‘problem’ in science and technology. Heddleston argues that the lack of diversity is actually the canary in the coal mine; it’s not the problem itself. The problem is the working culture that we’re creating that makes not only women and others unwelcome, but hinders innovation and productivity for everyone in organisations. Her writing is thoroughly researched - grounded in academic studies, not reckonings - and offers practical ideas for improving that culture, making it the most helpful, optimistic writing I’ve read about some of the challenges this industry faces. We need to put as much effort into designing our companies as we do into designing our products and services: without the former, the latter will eventually fail.

You can read more profiles here...

 #19 The Human Centered Designer

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker 

#1 The Go-Getter.

#19 The Human Centered Designer

I first met Laura Williams when I interviewed her and her business partner, Nina Belk, as part of my undergraduate thesis on Service Design; she was running a service design consultancy in Newcastle. Since then I have followed her journey through the worlds of start ups, social innovation and commercial business. I've been inspired by her dedication to side projects and her authentic approach to learning. I'm delighted she is coming to talk to our Experience Design students as part of their Business Strategy Project.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?
To think about and focus on your career but don’t forget other parts of your life. I believe it’s critical, especially for creatives - to take time out. Spend time in new places; actively engage and be open to people who have different perspectives you. Place yourself in environments and situations that help you step outside of your comfort zone.
 Laura_Williams
What’s your burning question of the moment?

How can I use design and creativity to help organisations be better for people and our planet?

In 2004 I worked on a climate change campaign. Back then ‘environment’ and ‘sustainability’ were dirty words; the home of sandal-wearing hippies. Fast-forward 10 years and the digital revolution means people have a greater understanding of networks and systems as well as the impact of their actions on people and the planet. Complex information and data that was behind the scenes previously is now often freely available to us helping us to see the bigger picture. There’s a sense in the mainstream that business has a duty in moving towards more sustainable business models.

This sentiment is also echoed with the businesses and people I work with. More and more there is a desire to deliver products and services that master a whole-systems approach. Many large organisations find this the ultimate challenge. They’re set up to execute an existing business model, not look for or adapt to new ones. This is where startups have an advantage. The challenge for big business is to embrace risk and think differently about commerciality and scalability. Designers and creatives can play a key role in making this change happen.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

There’s really too many to mention though over the past year I’ve been thinking about the future of learning and work - and how this will affect the way we live.

I’ve been inspired watching Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk about the power of taking time off. It doesn’t work for everyone but I’ve found that taking time out of everyday life is good for the soul.  I’ve also been inspired by Hyper Island’s approach - many of the approaches were implemented in my previous company with my colleague who is an HI alumni: I’ve seen where they work well and where they’re a challenge.

Adaptability is one skill that is underrated. We’re already seeing changes in organisational structure: Zappos is leading the way with radical organisational change by instilling Holocracy which “replaces today’s top-down predict-and-control paradigm with a new way of achieving control by distributing power”. Although this set-up won’t work in all organisations and industries I believe the creative industries will be first to learn from and adopt some aspects of this way of working. HI graduates have a distinct advantage in this sense.

What would be your one piece of advice to students on Hyper Island’s new MA in Digital Experience Design?

Always seek to do what you love and be constantly curious. Lifelong learning is critical to remaining relevant in your work. There are many ways to do this:

  1. Surround yourself with people who know more than you or are more talented than you.
  2. Hang out or work with people who have a different perspective.
  3. Find support: life/career coaching can be important through transition periods
  4. Be clear about how you’d like to develop and where you can find resources.
  5. Be open to serendipity - sometimes the biggest learnings happen when you least expectGive yourself and your brain time to rest - clarity often comes from down-time and a more reflective state of mind.

You can read more profiles here...

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker 

#1 The Go-Getter.