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// Daring Digital Strategy. I’m a Creative Strategist walking the line between innovation and strategy, based in Berlin, Germany. // Things I have learned in my life (so far): Worrying solves nothing. Complaining is silly. Stefan Sagmeister is always right. //

Things I like: Music, NeoCountry, Sixties Design, Art & Fashion, Laufen, saving the world. Greatest Mad Men fan ever.

I always wanted to be a HipHop DJ as a kid but there was only a free spot for a bartender.

// See my portfolio: breakthefuckinggrid.com

Please comment or say hi:
hello@btfg.net

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There is no UX, there is only UX


A while ago I had a discussion with a friend and colleague that we were tired to differentiate between the “UX team”… and the rest of the team. We think that everyone is doing UX - designing USER EXPERIENCE, in one way or the other. And that every big company should have a “CXO” in addition to the CTO :D.

Leisa Reichelt shared the following article on her blog and comes up with a pretty smart statement: There is no UX, there is only UX. Read it!

This article was originally published by Leisa Reichelt here: http://www.disambiguity.com/there-is-no-ux/

"After years of trying to work out where the UX team should fit into the organisation, it feels almost inevitable that my current thinking is that it belongs everywhere and nowhere. That there is no UX team, but that everyone is the UX team.

I came to this way of thinking by trying to negotiate the organisational structure of the Government Digital Service and their philosophy about user experience. At GDS we don’t have a ‘UX team’  and no one person has a job title that includes the term ‘UX’. We have designers and researchers who work as part of multidisciplinary, agile teams and who practice user centred design (UCD).

On the surface that may all sound pretty trite. The truth is that, for many of our projects,  the truly challenging user experience issues come not from designing the interface*, but from the constraints of the product that must be designed. Those constraints and challenges tend to come from our friends in policy or standards, or procurement or other parts of the organisation. Try as you might, you can’t interface away inappropriate policy.

It is really important that no one in the team can point to someone over in the corner and put all the burden of user experience on that guy. No one person, no small group of people can be made responsible for the user experience of a service. It is down to the entire team  to achieve this, and we need to drag people into the team who make decisions way before we get on the scene. (Should we be there earlier?  Perhaps. That’s one for another day).

I don’t see this as a governance issue. It’s not about who is ‘in charge’ of user experience. It’s a philosophical framework for sharing the responsibility for the users’ experience and allowing problems to be directly attributed to the true source, often far more deeply embedded in the organisation than the interface.

It assumes the prerequisite that the entire team agrees that it’s true goal is to create a great user experience. That is no small assumption.  The UK Government is relatively rare in having a stated aim to build services so good that people prefer to use them. Many organisations pay lip service to caring about user experience, but sharing the responsibility throughout the entire organisation tests whether they are really willing to back this claim through significant organisational change.

Not calling people ‘UX’ does lead to interesting challenges in day to day work –  like how to refer to the team who do the interface design and user research. This is when we’re most likely to get lazy and just call people ‘UX’.  Although it can feel cumbersome, every time you don’t give in, it’s a tiny little reminder of what we believe. Every time we call that team the ‘front end team’ on the project I’m working on it reminds me of our belief. That makes the somewhat awkward title totally worth it for me.”

Related reading:

- How we do user centred design in alpha and beta phases (Service Design Manual)

- How we do user research in agile teams (GDS Blog)

* Having said that, trying to design user interfaces that everyone in the country should be able to use is no small challenge.

Flowers. #breakthefuckinggrid 😜

13 and 12 are my favorite numbers! #mythingwithnumbers

Fire! Fire! Fire! 😜traditional easter burning. #bremen

Happy Birthday, Vicky! #notegraphy

I love this new app! (yes I’m a geek 😜) #XTRAPOP

How to Override Your Default Reactions in Tough Moments

Great article on behaviour by Lee Newman.

I think it’s super helpful to know your weak spots and prepare for situations like Lee Newman describes them. But I would go further: Learn that it’s okay to be weak - and deal with it on a very confident way. In german I’d say: “Lerne sicher unsicher zu sein”.

Let me know what you think!

#newleadership

Find the original post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/how-to-override-your-default-reactions-in-tough-moments/

///

“It’s 9:00am, you’re across the table from a colleague who doesn’t like you or the changes you’re proposing, she’s pushing all your hot-buttons and resisting your efforts to get her to support the change. What’s your typical reaction?” I recently posed this question to a group of executives.

About two thirds of the executives admitted that their typical behavior is competitive: return the aggression and argue to win. The other third said they typically do the opposite:  retreat, recoup, and try again later. But either way, it was a default reflex – not a strategic response.

We all have default behaviors. And when we are in the moment, trying our best to perform well, how we handle these automatic reflexes can be the difference between success and failure. It’s these moments that add up to the larger tasks and projects that are our work. Moments in which behavior – what we think, feel, say, and do ­­– is the primary driver of performance.

I can remember a pivotal meeting after weeks of working with a team on a product idea.  After presenting it to a colleague, I found myself fielding unexpected negative feedback.  My default was to fight back, with facts. I’m an evidence-based manager, and this approach often works, and works well. But not this time. I hadn’t included this colleague in the process, and he was upset despite the facts. Unfortunately, my highly automated default behaviors were running the show. Had I paid more attention to his tone and body language, and been able to put a little mental distance between the “automatic-me” and the situation, I would more easily have seen what was happening.  I had experienced a failure of attention and self-control.

Automatic behaviors do have their place – they save time and effort. When you continually face the same type of meeting, with the same people, with the same objective, what has worked for you in the past may work again now.  So why not embrace these defaults? Wouldn’t our professional lives be easy if we could allow well-tuned default behaviors to take over at work, in the same way we can put our minds on auto-pilot while we drive there?

The problem with that approach is that the workplace is too dynamic. Situations rarely repeat. Human behavior is diverse, erratic, and often unpredictable.

As I experienced when arguing the facts with my upset colleague, and as I have seen over and over again with executives and management students, defaults are dangerous and too often lead to unproductive behaviors and outcomes.

We know this – and yet our defaults are devilishly hard to overcome.

Imagine you’re a judge, and you’re trying to decide whether a convicted felon should be given parole. What would be your default? One would hope that parole judges override their default behavior to think carefully before each ruling. In a study published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that a group of highly experienced parole judges did reason more carefully – particularly at the start of the day and after every food break, when on average they granted parole to 65% of the felons. However, as judicial sessions wore on, favorable parole judgments fell to an astonishing 0% prior to each food break.

Research like this shows just how much evading our defaults requires self-control, and how much our level of self-control varies throughout the day depending on a range of psychological and physiological factors like how well we slept, the time since our last meal, how hard we’ve already worked to control ourselves. And critically, like those parole judges, we are often not aware of these fluctuations in self-control as we wend our way through the workday. When self-control wanes, our ability to catch and override default behaviors also wanes. Our more planful selves can lose control, giving way to reflex behaviors triggered on the spot.

So what you can you do to avoid unconscious defaults and provide yourself more behavioral flexibility in the moments of truth that matter most?  Here are three suggestions that I have seen work well:

  1. Know your defaults: Make a list of the frequent “moments of truth” that populate your workday: the meetings, conversations, negotiations, conflicts, and other situations when your behavioral performance is of paramount importance. These are typically challenging interpersonal situations in which how you react, what you say, and what you do can be commandeered by defaults. Take your list, bring each of these situations to mind, and then identify your defaults. You will find them, and likely culprits will be behaviors such as interrupting, becoming aggressive or passive, taking ownership of ideas, micromanaging, and jumping too quickly to negative judgments of others.
  2. Anticipate and plan your overrides: Once you know your defaults, you can give yourself greater control by anticipating and planning ahead before these challenging moments of truth arise. Research shows that if you prepare and plan behaviors in advance and mentally rehearse them, you are 2-3 times likely to succeed in carrying out your plan. So in advance of your difficult end-of-day meeting, if careful listening is your goal — but frequent interruption is your default – rehearse a plan for better listening you’ll have a better chance of overriding your automatic reflexes.
  3. Design your days: Because self-control varies across a day and a workweek, it makes sense to track it and even plan your schedule around it. Why schedule high-conflict conversations before lunch, at the end of the day, or at the end of a tough week when your self-control is likely to be low? If an easy day has unexpectedly become difficult, consider shuffling your afternoon. You may very well avoid letting slip a snide comment you’ve held back or sharing half-baked criticisms that you know deserve more thought.

Too many professionals who are high-performers in their area of work pass through the behavioral situations of their day on auto-pilot, with defaults running the show. By getting to know your defaults and practicing working around them, you can take greater control over your workday and lead yourself and others more productively, moment to moment.

Remember To Say Thank You - (Via swissmiss)

Designing with users: an exercise in empathy 

Great case study from an exceptional project:

"Made by Many’s user insights practice helps us to identify new ways to serve and support people with the digital products and services we create and take to market for our clients.

One of our key goals as a business is to make digital product innovation more human centred, and user insights are a critical part of the process – continuously throughout the whole product lifecycle.

Tim, Tom and Andrew have already talked about our recent launch of School in the Cloud for 2013 TED prize-winner Sugata Mitra, so I won’t go over the background again – this post is a practical guide to the different research methods we used to guide us in the re-design of the ‘Granny Cloud’.

Designing products with people, not just for them

We always try to make new products and services with users, not just for them. Again and again, we have seen that this is the best way to ground your own ideas in their needs and behaviours.”

Follow the link for the whole case study.

Just got a huge and super nice shoutout from Don Draper on Twitter.. I can die now 😜👯. (I unfollowed Matthew McConoughy so I could follow Don … he obviously loved that). Hahaha, love it. #oneofthemisnotarealperson

Art seems to be always greener on the other side :). Exhibition by Martin Creed - What’s the point of it?

Hayward Gallery, London

Cover me in scars and tattoos so that when I die the world knows I really lived.
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