October 2015

This page is updated throughout the month, then archived.
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One week in Iceland to dive into the field of enterprise design 

October started off with a bang: the highly anticipated Enterprise Design Retreat, organized by our friends at eda, at a restored school turned hostel located two hours from Reykjavik. My contribution was a presentation about the importance of user research, to start a discussion about how organizations can “train” the muscle of learning from users. As a safe place to share and challenge our ideas among committed colleagues from the fields of enterprise design, org transformation and UX design, it was a super intense and invigorating three days.

High level interaction design for capturing emotion via a smartphone app

Paul and I finished up an interaction design project for a service to initiate change of addictive behavioral patterns. The ideas flowed, the client has hit the ground running with our ideas and deliverables, and we’ve started thinking about how to find similar projects…

Card sorting project for a news site 

An Austin-based startup asked AQ to formulate the mental model of content categorization for their news site, so I ran facilitated card sorting tests and a remote tests on Optimal Sort. It’s a full day adrenaline rush when I have clients in the U.S. in addition to my usual Singapore ones because it means my day starts and ends with client calls…

Formulated an app idea

Paul and I parachuted into a fellow agency for a few days, chiseling down an “everything and the kitchen sink” idea dump into an app concept and high level flows for their big pitch to a major player in the global HR field.

Project management for Think with Google APAC

This is the digital marketing content site for the Asia Pacific region that AQ built for Google last year. This month, I recruited another engineer and content production assistant to join the team. After writing a little Ode to Documentation, I realized that learning to maintain meaningful documentation and getting the whole team into the habit would be a worthwhile investment. It’s also in line with the industry trend towards distributed teams and greater transparency, and I’m quite keen on baking this into all of the projects that I manage at AQ.

Let’s talk about workshops

I believe workshop participation is an under-appreciated skill that can and should be actively trained, and gave a talk to the residents of Le Laptop about what it means to be a participant in a product workshop in the context of client services. It was followed by a rousing 1hr discussion.

Wrapping up a data analysis project about how teams communicate

The role of data science in digital product development is becoming increasingly important and I’ve been looking for a way to deepen my understanding of the field. My objective is to grok the basic ideas and learn how to work with professionals who can do the actual analysis bit. After combing through books and courses that all seemed to be focused on the practice itself, I conjured up a small research project and recruited my teammate Marion and a data analyst that looked like they could coach us through the process. The analysis, which looked into our company Slack logs, is now complete and I’ll be writing a report on the AQ blog. Marion will also be giving a talk at Ride The Lightning in Tokyo.

Taking the Executive Data Science Specialization on Coursera

In addition to the project above, I’m taking a four part online course.

Uncovering the “Secret Sauce of Sales” 

After an insightful sit down with Sonia in which she shared tips from some sales training, we decided to make it into a casual series of 30 minute sessions to learn about business development from each other. It’s refreshing to give and take advice from someone who’s not part of your organization but knows it well.

Revive this blog 

I took a three week pause halfway through a 30 day blogging challenge to focus on my Munich and Iceland trips – now back on track  🙂

Read last month’s notes.