Categorizing The Practice Of Design Thinking

12 abr. 2015

What if I want to share best practices with experts like me in applying design thinking in university management? I cannot, because there is not a clear categorization in the practice of design thinking regarding a concrete field of action.
Experience is the best companion to itinerate fast.
More design thinking conversations based in its practice in different settings. I believe we need to categorize the design thinking practice and move to design-thinking-context-experts, because each field of action has its concrete problems. I acknowledge that design thinking processes (see IDEO) are the skeleton of the practice, but my point is that the processes and blended thinking involved to solve those problems, need be adapted according to the context the practice is going to take place. 
The ultimate goal of all design thinkers is shared: A human-centered world
 Are the challenges I deal with as a Design Thinker working in university settings, the same as if I were working in different business settings? Similar, but not the same. The micro challenges, sense making  and the strategies needed to solve the problems and challenges that come up are not the same, and neither are the contexts in which we operate.
"You have to feed forward if you want feedback“_ Matt Kahn.
Applying Design Thinking in University Management. I'm moving my conversation about design thinking in social media from a holistic approach, to my everyday reality-grounded practice: My expertise as a design thinker working in a University context. 
These is the roadmap of my practice:
  1. Detection, understanding and creation of value for students and the university--> Society
  2. Define a proposal of shared value from both perspectives (students and university --> Intersection of shared value.
  3. Design the strategy to make it happen
  4. Conversation starter (intentional whisperer): Spread insights and solutions. Everywhere, like I'm doing now :)
21st century universities are startup organizations. As their mission is to provide NOW to students and societies, what they both will need in the future, universities need to foster creativity and experimentation more effectively, learn to manage uncertainty and move fast.  Embracing a Design Thinking, human-centered design approach is the way to go.
2015: It is an urgency for Higher Education organizations to focus on understanding and acting on the intersection of value for students and Education, INTERSECTION OF SHARED VALUE: Universities need to provide now to students and societies, what they both will need in the future. For the shake of all.

Roles of Designers and Design Thinking in Corporations

8 mar. 2015

"The Value Equation In University Settings" #ActivateDesign

 Main Role of Design and Design Thinking in University Settings: 

  • Detection, understanding and creation of value for students and the university--> Society 
  • Define a proposal of shared value from both perspectives (students and university --> Society)
  • Design the strategy to make it happen
  • Conversation starter (intentional whisperer): Spread insights and solutions


Millennials overwhelmingly believe (75 percent) businesses are focused on their own agendas rather than helping to improve society.

2015: It is an urgency for Higher Education organizations to focus on understanding and acting on the intersection of value for students and Education, INTERSECTION OF SHARED VALUE: Universities need to provide now to students and societies, what they both will need in the future. For the shake of all.

UNIVERSITIES & MARKETS (this could be an interesting conversation)

"The purpose of the University is to develop people, not markets".

Let's stay focused on what it is important: What is a "Market", anyway?. I'll refresh it for you.

"A market is a group of buyers (people) and sellers (people), where buyers (people) determine the demand and sellers (people) determine the supply, together with the means whereby they exchange their goods or services is called the market (people)".

People, people, people….Always people first.

Applying Design Thinking in University Management

25 ene. 2015

"The best moment ever for those of us who like to learn" Universidad Europea.

Our University motto for 2015

I haven't written a post in a while because I've been rethinking my purpose of writing about Design Thinking and also because I'm truly busy at work. My work? I struggle everyday to apply Design Thinking principles in university management. My challenges as a designer/creative director working in university settings are: Design our way to become a fully student-centered University and detect, understand and share the value we, as university, we are creating for our students, and also the value we are capable of creating according to the actual context we all live in: The world, our society, its problems and future needs.

Are my challenges as Design Thinker the same challenges as other collegue working in diferent business settings? Similar, but not totally the same. The ultimate goal of all of us is shared (working toward a human-centered world), but the micro challenges and the strategies needed to solve the problems and the "making sense" required are not the same and either are the contexts in which we itinerate.

More design thinking conversations based in practices in different settings.

I agree that in the past two years, Design is expanding its role throughout the business because our unique combination of user-centric skills and processes help businesses understand and engage consumers in a more holistic way. 

What business are we talking about?

What I'm missing in most of the conversations going on about design thinking and designers is…Categorizing our design practice (just as business do) : I acknowledge that the Design Thinking process (see IDEO) is the skeleton of a practice that must be adapted according to the context the practice is going to take place, and its very concrete problems and situation that need to be resolved.

I'm moving on.

From now on, I'm moving my conversation in social media from Design Thinking in a broad sense, in no particular settings, to my everyday reality, my expertise as a designer working in a particular field since 2007: 

(Applying) Design Thinking in University Management.

And everything that implies: Needs, possibilities, insights, contexts, constraints, definitions, personal vision.

"Being Something For Someone": Reflecting on Communication, Love And Brands

2 dic. 2014

This is an invitation to think on what kind of reality we're creating. Designing. 

My daughter and me. Madrid 2014.
Being "something for someone" is probably the number one personal purpose for most of us. And so is for brands.
It is the expression of that 'fundamental something' that makes a brand real and lovable. 
Main decision to make as an individual and as a brand is what "kind of something" you want to be "for someone". Brand Trends for 2015 suggest you to choose that "something" meaningful and authentic (values, principles, personality) that it's in you. 
Caring is the way to go.

The difficulty comes down to relate love and care to a business context…Because it's sooo easy to forget and leave behind unaccountable concepts such as "care" and "love" in a marketing plan! 

If you want your brand to be lovable and real for people, someone in your organization has to take responsibility for it. Otherwise, it's just not going to happen. Never.

Margaret Gould Stewart: Design At A Massive Scale

9 nov. 2014

"What do you think of when I say the word "design"? You probably think of things like this, finely crafted objects that you can hold in your hand, or maybe logos and posters and maps that visually explain things, classic icons of timeless design. But I'm not here to talk about that kind of design. I want to talk about the kind that you probably use every day and may not give much thought to, designs that change all the time and that live inside your pocket. I'm talking about the design of digital experiences and specifically the design of systems that are so big that their scale can be hard to comprehend. Consider the fact that Google processes over one billion search queries every day, that every minute, over 100 hours of footage are uploaded to YouTube. That's more in a single day than all three major U.S. networks broadcast in the last five years combined. And Facebook transmitting the photos, messages and stories of over 1.23 billion people. That's almost half of the Internet population, and a sixth of humanity.
1:22These are some of the products that I've helped design over the course of my career, and their scale is so massive that they've produced unprecedented design challenges. But what is really hard about designing at scale is this: It's hard in part because it requires a combination of two things, audacity and humility — audacity to believe that the thing that you're making is something that the entire world wants and needs, and humility to understand that as a designer, it's not about you or your portfolio, it's about the people that you're designing for, and how your work just might help them live better lives. Now, unfortunately, there's no school that offers the course Designing for Humanity 101. I and the other designers who work on these kinds of products have had to invent it as we go along, and we are teaching ourselves the emerging best practices of designing at scale, and today I'd like share some of the things that we've learned over the years.
2:26Now, the first thing that you need to know about designing at scale is that the little things really matter.Here's a really good example of how a very tiny design element can make a big impact. The team at Facebook that manages the Facebook "Like" button decided that it needed to be redesigned. The button had kind of gotten out of sync with the evolution of our brand and it needed to be modernized.Now you might think, well, it's a tiny little button, it probably is a pretty straightforward, easy design assignment, but it wasn't. Turns out, there were all kinds of constraints for the design of this button. You had to work within specific height and width parameters. You had to be careful to make it work in a bunch of different languages, and be careful about using fancy gradients or borders because it has to degrade gracefully in old web browsers. The truth is, designing this tiny little button was a huge pain in the butt.
3:20Now, this is the new version of the button, and the designer who led this project estimates that he spent over 280 hours redesigning this button over the course of months. Now, why would we spend so much time on something so small? It's because when you're designing at scale, there's no such thing as a small detail. This innocent little button is seen on average 22 billion times a day and on over 7.5 million websites. It's one of the single most viewed design elements ever created. Now that's a lot of pressure for a little button and the designer behind it, but with these kinds of products, you need to get even the tiny things right.
4:03Now, the next thing that you need to understand is how to design with data. Now, when you're working on products like this, you have incredible amounts of information about how people are using your product that you can then use to influence your design decisions, but it's not just as simple as following the numbers. Let me give you an example so that you can understand what I mean. Facebook has had a tool for a long time that allowed people to report photos that may be in violation of our community standards, things like spam and abuse. And there were a ton of photos reported, but as it turns out, only a small percentage were actually in violation of those community standards. Most of them were just your typical party photo. Now, to give you a specific hypothetical example, let's say my friend Laura hypothetically uploads a picture of me from a drunken night of karaoke. This is purely hypothetical, I can assure you. (Laughter) Now, incidentally, you know how some people are kind of worried that their boss or employee is going to discover embarrassing photos of them on Facebook? Do you know how hard that is to avoid when you actually work at Facebook? So anyway, there are lots of these photosbeing erroneously reported as spam and abuse, and one of the engineers on the team had a hunch. He really thought there was something else going on and he was right, because when he looked through a bunch of the cases, he found that most of them were from people who were requesting the takedown of a photo of themselves. Now this was a scenario that the team never even took into account before.So they added a new feature that allowed people to message their friend to ask them to take the photo down. But it didn't work. Only 20 percent of people sent the message to their friend. So the team went back at it. They consulted with experts in conflict resolution. They even studied the universal principles of polite language, which I didn't even actually know existed until this research happened. And they found something really interesting. They had to go beyond just helping people ask their friend to take the photo down. They had to help people express to their friend how the photo made them feel.
6:13Here's how the experience works today. So I find this hypothetical photo of myself, and it's not spam, it's not abuse, but I really wish it weren't on the site. So I report it and I say, "I'm in this photo and I don't like it," and then we dig deeper. Why don't you like this photo of yourself? And I select "It's embarrassing." And then I'm encouraged to message my friend, but here's the critical difference. I'm provided specific suggested language that helps me communicate to Laura how the photo makes me feel. Now the team found that this relatively small change had a huge impact. Before, only 20 percent of people were sending the message, and now 60 percent were, and surveys showed that people on both sides of the conversation felt better as a result. That same survey showed that 90 percent of your friends want to know if they've done something to upset you. Now I don't know who the other 10 percent are, but maybe that's where our "Unfriend" feature can come in handy.
7:19So as you can see, these decisions are highly nuanced. Of course we use a lot of data to inform our decisions, but we also rely very heavily on iteration, research, testing, intuition, human empathy. It's both art and science. Now, sometimes the designers who work on these products are called "data-driven," which is a term that totally drives us bonkers. The fact is, it would be irresponsible of us not to rigorously test our designs when so many people are counting on us to get it right, but data analytics will never be a substitute for design intuition. Data can help you make a good design great, but it will never made a bad design good.
8:04The next thing that you need to understand as a principle is that when you introduce change, you need to do it extraordinarily carefully. Now I often have joked that I spend almost as much time designing the introduction of change as I do the change itself, and I'm sure that we can all relate to that when something that we use a lot changes and then we have to adjust. The fact is, people can become very efficient at using bad design, and so even if the change is good for them in the long run, it's still incredibly frustrating when it happens, and this is particularly true with user-generated content platforms, because people can rightfully claim a sense of ownership. It is, after all, their content.
8:48Now, years ago, when I was working at YouTube, we were looking for ways to encourage more people to rate videos, and it was interesting because when we looked into the data, we found that almost everyone was exclusively using the highest five-star rating, a handful of people were using the lowest one-star, and virtually no one was using two, three or four stars. So we decided to simplify into an up-down kind of voting binary model. It's going to be much easier for people to engage with. But people were very attached to the five-star rating system. Video creators really loved their ratings. Millions and millions of people were accustomed to the old design. So in order to help people prepare themselves for change and acclimate to the new design more quickly, we actually published the data graph sharing with the community the rationale for what we were going to do, and it even engaged the larger industryin a conversation, which resulted in my favorite TechCrunch headline of all time: "YouTube Comes to a 5-Star Realization: Its Ratings Are Useless."
9:54Now, it's impossible to completely avoid change aversion when you're making changes to products that so many people use. Even though we tried to do all the right things, we still received our customary flood of video protests and angry emails and even a package that had to be scanned by security, but we have to remember people care intensely about this stuff, and it's because these products, this work,really, really matters to them.
10:22Now, we know that we have to be careful about paying attention to the details, we have to be cognizant about how we use data in our design process, and we have to introduce change very, very carefully.Now, these things are all really useful. They're good best practices for designing at scale. But they don't mean anything if you don't understand something much more fundamental. You have to understand who you are designing for.
10:50Now, when you set a goal to design for the entire human race, and you start to engage in that goal in earnest, at some point you run into the walls of the bubble that you're living in. Now, in San Francisco, we get a little miffed when we hit a dead cell zone because we can't use our phones to navigate to the new hipster coffee shop. But what if you had to drive four hours to charge your phone because you had no reliable source of electricity? What if you had no access to public libraries? What if your country had no free press? What would these products start to mean to you? This is what Google, YouTube and Facebook look like to most of the world, and it's what they'll look like to most of the next five billion people to come online. Designing for low-end cell phones is not glamorous design work, but if you want to design for the whole world, you have to design for where people are, and not where you are.
11:47So how do we keep this big, big picture in mind? We try to travel outside of our bubble to see, hear and understand the people we're designing for. We use our products in non-English languages to make sure that they work just as well. And we try to use one of these phones from time to time to keep in touch with their reality.
12:06So what does it mean to design at a global scale? It means difficult and sometimes exasperating work to try to improve and evolve products. Finding the audacity and the humility to do right by them can be pretty exhausting, and the humility part, it's a little tough on the design ego. Because these products are always changing, everything that I've designed in my career is pretty much gone, and everything that I will design will fade away. But here's what remains: the never-ending thrill of being a part of something that is so big, you can hardly get your head around it, and the promise that it just might change the world.
12:48Thank you.
Margaret Gould StewartUser experience master
At Facebook (and previously at YouTube), Margaret Gould Stewart designs experiences that touch the lives of a large percentage of the world's population. 

Margaret Gould Stewart has spent her career asking, “How do we design user experiences that change the world in fundamental ways?” It's a powerful question that has led her to manage user experiences for six of the ten most visited websites in the world, including Facebook, where she serves as Director of Product Design.

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