October 2017

This page is updated throughout the month, then archived.
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Thinking circularly

My October started in London, where I attended a master class on Circular Business Design, organized by Lorne Mitchell. I see a lot of promise in making a fundamental shift in how we understand complex business problems — going from linear thinking to circular thinking — and the process of making sense of what that means is a fun one. I had a lot of fun chewing on this big topic with folks from different disciplines and contexts. Discovering the Frontline Club, a gathering place for journalists, was great, too. It was my first time in a London club and I kept thinking of the Reform Club, and how Phileas Fogg keeps referring to what its members might say as he travels the world…!

New project!

Milan and I have a new project, which is about inducing new interactions among players along an industry supply chain. This reeaally goes beyond a designer’s classic scope and I’m excited and a little bit scared to see what we can do.

This involved a second trip to London this month, and I visited the V&A Museum and the Natural History Museum. London is amazing and I hope to have more opportunities to do business there. My senses need a break from the dense layers of human history, though… maybe go stare at some mountains 😛

Exploring design systems

The beautifully written Design Systems by Alla Kholmatova was a real eye-opener for me, and I’m excited to start a client project with my colleague Mathieu to put these ideas in practice. For the next four weeks, I’ll be investigating the ins and outs of triggering and sustaining a team-wide systemic approach to product design.

A Chinese connection

Snow Hu is one of the founders of Design Sprints China, a design community that runs events and publications to advocate the design sprint methodology across China. He’d read our design sprints in Japan article and came down from Lille for a visit. We had a wonderful exchange about design sprints in our respective cultural contexts. There are tentative plans for a bigger meetup in Lille next month, which would be cool.

Having spent chunks of time in Shanghai in the early 2000s and also having had many good Chinese friends since childhood, China is extremely familiar and yet so foreign because of the sheer size and scale. I’d love to build bridges with the Chinese design community.

How cities think

I also had the chance to catch up with Bryan Boyer, and learn more about his work with the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on cities and autonomous vehicles. The project aims to help mayors around the world better prepare for the advent of new mobility services. I find it a fascinating audience to design for – very different from my usual assignments. I would like to find a way to incorporate forecasting into our design practice.

Organized the AQ All Hands

Chris and I presented the range of service offerings that we’ll focus on next year, and ran activities on the topic of building the muscle of individual and organizational learning.

Earlier this year, inspired by Undercurrent’s Capability Maturity Matrix, I made a capability framework to set goals for UX design and project management skills. Building it took a bit of reflection and research, and it was an interesting, educational experience. However, the rollout lacked any kind of follow through and (duh) it gathered dust in the corner for many months. This time, we expanded the scope so that it applies to all members of the company and ran a co-editing activity to build ownership. Curious to see if what will stick.

Searching for our next UX designer

Attending the candidate interviews for the UX Lead position has been a rich experience. I’ve gotten a lot of energy and insights from exchanging with UX designers about their experiences, ambitions and where they see the practice headed. Look forward to wrapping up, though!

Chasing leads for user research projects in Japan

Earlier this year, we launched a page on the company website that promotes our user research offering in Japan. Putting ourselves out there for this (very) specific service has had some effect, and I’m speaking with a couple of interesting prospects. I won’t carry out the actual fieldwork but I really enjoy these early stage conversations to help companies figure out how to better understand Japanese consumers.