Week 17, 2019 — Off to Marseille!

Photo: View of Marseille from Notre-Dame de La Garde

Not a lot going on this week – I helped the AQ Tokyo team tie up loose ends before their 10 day holiday, and headed out to Marseille early Friday morning.

  • Launched the Eventbrite page for the Researcher Skills Workshop in Paris on May 9th.
  • Published the facilitators’ guide for said workshop.
  • Met with Mael to work on our talk submission for the Intersection conference, about a customer experience project that we collaborated on for six months.
  • Met my new mentee to kick off our 3mo engagement for the Hexagon project.
  • Kicked off the planning for the closing event of Design Research Tokyo Season One – we’ve now got a venue, date, theme and first speaker.
  • Started a new research project for an American crypto exchange service.

I’ve fallen behind on reading (books) so not much to write about there. I’ll just end this weeknote with some in-your-face-ness that is Marseille.

Week 16, 2019 — Mentorship, more events and finally a non-weeknote article

Photo: View from Algolia’s office, where the Hexagon event was held.

Becoming a mentor

The Paris chapter of Hexagon UX kicked off its mentoring program with a matching event. I’m excited to participate as one of the 15 mentors, some of whom I know already, and grow together with our mentee cohort.

Here’s a question I’ve been asking people: What is the difference between mentoring, coaching and consulting? A friend who’s a trained coach had a clear definition, and I’m looking to add meat to it. Having worked as a consultant for almost a decade, it’s very easy for me to slip into a problem-solving consultant posture… even when I go into a conversation with a different intention. This is a habit I’m really keen to unlearn. I want to be able to switch modes between the three and stay there.

The minimum commitment is a 30min coffee every other week for three months. That’s a decent chunk of calendar time but what kind of “impact” can there be with someone who would a) essentially be a total stranger in the beginning b) took a completely different journey in starting UX design? Well, a friend reminded me that a new perspective can be unlocked with just one well-articulated sentence that lands at the right time. Wise words!

Fifth DRT event in the books

Episode 5 of Design Research Tokyo was held on the same day – obviously, I wasn’t there in person but there’s plenty of support work to be done after the concept-ing which doesn’t require physical presence, such as coordinating with the speakers, preparing introductory slides, managing social media, etc. It’s pretty cool to follow tweets about an event you helped organize… I find the act of choosing the menu and gathering the ingredients to be satisfactory enough, without being there to see anyone “eat the meal”.

It’s time to wind down what’s been an amazing first season, and take a break before opening the second season.

Published something that’s not a weeknote!

I spent most of last weekend writing up this article, and thanks to great editing support from Chris, managed to publish it. Whoo! A lot of people said good things about it and some folks extended the conversation, which is really cool.


Thanks to the regular weeknoting, I’ve realized that I often have weeks, sometimes back to back, with multiple events. It’s a lot, isn’t it…? It was hidden in plain view because typically I’d engage with one event as an attendee and another as speaker or organizer. So they weren’t being mentally tallied in the same bucket as they should be, because my “being around people” battery needs a full charge outside of these events.

I should look into what May looks like, from this perspective. It’s been a good couple of weeks, though. And the weather has suddenly become sunny, and the whole city’s come alive.

Week 46, Year 2018 — Re-thinking leadership

Post-workshop walk at Cap Blanc-Nez on the coast of Calais

One of my highlights of this week was participating in a workshop by Alanna Irving, masterfully facilitated by Nenad Maljković. A group of 20+ of us from all around the globe explored Full Circle Leadership through a series of reflective activities and discussions.

Full Circle Leadership is based on Alanna’s model of the eight facets of leadership — a versatile thinking tool for assessing individual or team skills. It can also used to identify gaps in project life-cycles.

By expanding our definition of leadership, we can see that most if not all people have leadership qualities which carry importance in different contexts — it’s not just about the select few ‘at the top’ with the big vision and big voice. This multi-faceted understanding establishes and protects the space for all kinds of individuals to thrive, and therefore has the power to make our organizations and societies more resilient and sustainable.

Breaking down a big topic like leadership into more clearly defined elements also helps us understand that one person simply cannot be good at all of them. Our tendencies also shift depending on those of whom we work with, which is good reason to use this model as a diagnostic tool for teams!

My understanding of operational leadership and its (often undervalued) role in setting a strategy in motion has been greatly enriched in the past six months, while I investigated and defined the field of ResearchOps with a community of UX researchers.

This kind of aha! connection of dots is really exciting — I look forward to examining other activities through the lens of the Full Circle Leadership model, while further developing my own style and strengths.

And coming off of facilitating an intense three-day workshop, it was such a pleasure (and relief!) to be facilitated and be able to focus on my own thoughts 🙌

I’ll stop at one theme in this #weeknote instead of my usual three, as it got quite lengthy.


An announcement for next February!

World IA Day Hong Kong on Twitter

WIAD HK is back! @tzs from AQ is going to apply Design Sprint to identify and solve our real world problems and @marcharrod from Cathay Pacific will talk about Accessible Design. Early bird tickets are available, it’s super affordable, HK$100. RSVP now✨ https://t.co/j2hbVkmGg9