and she will sing karaoke. No joke; Germans are karaoke-crazy. And I have to hand it to them: they really get the point of the sport (can you call it that?) because no matter how much you suck, you will be cheered on. Guaranteed. It’s equal opportunity karaoke in Germany, people.
Here’s a peek at a weekly karaoke jam in a park in Berlin. A British guy has been showing up on Sundays for years with his karaoke equipment, drawing a crowd of singers and watchers. I loved this particular crooner who broke out with the classic, “Mack the Knife”, acapella, in German. Oh, yeah.
10,000 faces cover a floor. You are invited to walk across them, and you do, even though they clang, bang, and stare up at you in pained expressions, making uncomfortable sounds that echo off the cement walls. Their grief is amplified, and you are its source. Or are you?
About six months ago, I switched from coffee to tea because I wanted to reduce the influence of caffeine in my life. After a somewhat painful adjustment period, I now look forward to my morning tea ritual as much as I once did my morning cup o’ Joe – and I feel better. Until yesterday morning, though, I hadn’t given much thought to the impact of how I was drinking my tea.
It started with a quote from a Fast Company article about leadership (Buddha Had It Right: Relax the Mind and Productivity Will Follow) that inspired me enough to end up on this index card:
In the article, author Faisal Hoque explains why mindfulness is important in our professional lives. Whether or not you ascribe to Buddhism, we all get value out of bringing our “complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis” (Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999). More gets done, better. I don’t know about you, but I find that kind of singular focus challenging at work, where I often feel the pull to be in two places (or two mindsets) at once. So, I create little strategies to force mindfulness: I listen to classical music on headphones, go to cafes to work for a change in scenery, come to work early when no one is around, set timers on my phone so I don’t have to watch the clock during meetings, and make a daily list of my top three priorities (which I relish drawing a line through upon completion). Interestingly, though, most of those practices are designed to close out the world to make solo focus easier. The article reminded me to bring more mindfulness to my collaborative experiences.
Are designers responsible for the impact of their work upon human behavior?
Is it actually possible to create “connected” experiences across devices?
Do designers need to speed up, or do stakeholders need to slow down?
In January, Angel Anderson, Mikkel Michelsen, Robb Stevenson, Lou Lenzi, Donald Chestnut, and I poked and prodded at these topics during the Interaction 13 conference. About 500 people attended the debate, and they threw their own perspectives into the mix in the latter part of the conversation. Have a listen in the video below.
(And thanks to SapientNitro for the opportunity to meet such interesting people, expand my own perspective, and make use of what I learned on my high school debate team. Ha!)
I’m heading to Toronto in a few weeks to lead a half-day workshop about designing team and organizational culture at the Interaction13 conference. My colleague, Kendra Shimmell, and I will coach 30 people through thoughtful, creative, intentional development of principles and practices that will change the way their teams work. I’m over-the-moon excited. This is a workshop I’ve been brewing, stewing and chewing on for a while. It’s a delight to finally have a chance to put it into action. Let the magic begin.
WHEN: Sunday, January 27th, 9:30am – 12:30pm
WHERE: Interaction 13, Metro Toronto Convention Center
REGISTER! (there aren’t many seats left)
Designing Culture: About the Workshop
“My designs were torpedoed.”
“We’re way off schedule.”
“Everyone is disengaged.”
“I’m not proud of the work we’re producing.”
“We can’t get everyone on board.”
Design doesn’t happen inside a vacuum. It happens inside teams, inside the context of relationships, inside physical spaces, inside organizations with very particular cultures. Ignore that intricate ecosystem, and you might as well give your project a death sentence.
In this workshop, Teresa Brazen and Kendra Shimmell draw from their experience as team members, team leaders, and team facilitators to identify tools and techniques you can use to shape projects that are not only successful, but enjoyable. They’ll discuss the benefits of proactively designing team culture, walk you through the process of creating a healthy foundation, empower you with methods to improve unhealthy culture mid-stream, and show you ways to keep everyone engaged throughout the design process. Then, you’ll try it out for yourself: with instructor feedback and mentorship, you’ll craft new methods and approaches that are appropriate to take back and try out in your team or company… no matter what your job title.
By the end of this hands-on workshop, you’ll know how to get projects started on the right foot, co-create without compromising output, and inspire teams, clients, and stakeholders. More importantly, you’ll find that you can work towards dramatically improved project outcomes… without all the drama along the way.