The sad state of news media, the hunt for good content & more on UX Discovery Sessions

In this episode of UX Discovery Sessions, Gerard Dolan and I talk about some of the workshops I teach at Cooper (Design Leadership, Designing Culture, UX Boot Camp), what’s been happening with news content (the sad degradation of it), some sources I like for better content/stories, and my fantasy of creating a designing culture conference for startups. Thanks, Gerard, for a lovely conversation!

From Superman to the Avengers: Rethinking Bruce Mau Design

[Excerpt from an article I wrote for UX Magazine. Full article here.]

Everyone loves a hero. But what happens to

organizations when their heroic leaders retire?

Four years ago, Bruce Mau Design (BMD) faced this dilemma. The company’s infamous founder, Bruce Mau, left so that he could create a platform to address bigger global issues that were meaningful to him called the Massive Change Network. Those who remained at BMD and its new President and CEO, Hunter Tura, were presented with an interesting opportunity: reinvention.

Curious about the culture of BMD today, I interviewed Tura in his Toronto office. Here are some takeaways for teams and organizations from their evolution.

Rethink Your Mental Model

Bruce Mau Design was founded upon what Tura describes as the “Superman model,” which meant the founder was seen as the “creative auteur” of the company. Mau’s exit gave the BMD team an opportunity to rethink how they positioned themselves, what services they wanted to offer, and how they wanted to work together. Read the rest of the article here.

What’s Culture Got to Do With It?

In short, everything.

Does your work culture make it challenging for your team or organization to do great work? Well this could be the year you make it better. Have a look at this talk I gave at Fluxible 2013 about the role and impact of culture on organizations…and tips for improving yours.

Make Culture, Not War: The Secret to Great Teams & Organizations

If this talk inspires you, perhaps you and a few folks from your team/organization might want to check out our newly launched 1-day Designing Culture Master Class at Cooper. This training aims to help people intentionally approach their team or organizational culture – through a cultural assessment, visioning and goal-setting exercises, and development of a tactical plan to improve their culture (some of the topics I hits on in my talk below). I’ll be facilitating this workshop along with Susan Dybbs, Managing Director of Interaction Design at Cooper, in our San Francisco offices on Friday, January 31st.

We are also offering Designing Culture in-house training for organizations that would benefit from having a larger group (management, teams, etc) go through this process together. Contact us at for details.

Soul+Mates: My latest creative project, Dec 4-7 in San Francisco

For the last 6 months, I’ve been creating a short film, Amalga(mate), as part of a collaboration with Choreographer Stacey Printz and her dance company, Printz Dance Project. The entire project is about the concept of soul mates — are they real, how do you find them, what form do they come in, etc. The evening starts with an exhibition of my film + photography by Andre Hermann. Then everyone moves into the theater space for a dance performance by Printz Dance Project. The set alone is worth coming to see (designed by Sean Riley). I also interviewed 8 people about soul mates & audio clips from that conversation will be integrated into the film soundtrack and the live dance performance. Lastly, electronic music artist Kraddy is creating the music score for my film and the dance performance. This short video about the entire project that will give you a sense of all the players involved. Please come, and bring friends!

Dates: Dec 4-7
Location: Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Time: Exhibition from 7-8, Dance performance starts at 8. On Saturday Dec 7 there is also a matinee (3pm exhibit, 4pm dance performance).