Weekly Learning: Obsession, Touch Screen, and Miscellaneous Goodies

Obsession Eats Design Inside Jeff Bezos’s failed attempt to make Amazon “cool” like Apple and Nike tells a fascinating story about obsession and values. Basically the author talked to some designers who worked with Bezos on some of the most important Amazon products: The Fire Phone illustrated that while Bezos is an open-minded and often…

Weekly Learning: The Inner Peace Edition

Behaviour Genetics The science of terrible men provokes us to think deeper on the sensible issue of “nature vs. nurture”: A meta-analysis of results from 50 years of twin studies […] concluded in 2015 that genes do, in fact, make a difference for these types of social and behavioural outcomes – for people’s cognitive ability,…

Weekly Learning: Aphorism, Strategy, and Strategic Logic

Aphorisms 100 Things I Know About Design is a collection of aphorism-like reflections, which include pure awesomeness like: Design is easy. It’s good design that’s hard. Or: Sometimes design is about creating opportunity. Or: A good design is often a bad design, refined. Mixed-in are such nonsense like: The purpose of any design is to…

Weekly Learning: Workshop, Grit, Prequel, and Recycling

The Planet of Workshops Are workshops ruining the UX design world? points out something important for all the wrong reasons. Firstly: Workshops do not replace proper user research True, but not helpful, because a concerned third party could simply say: “well, workshop is part of our approach to user research.” Secondly: Workshops do not “democratize…

The Endgame of Design System

One true beauty of design system is automation: How much a standard (along with principles and non-coded best practices) can be automatically applied throughout the design and development cycle; How much can such a system help construct product/service. Collecting cliches is not enough to construct a good story. Likewise, collecting reusable libraries is not enough…

Weekly Learning: Thought Leadership, Teaching Design, and the Strategic Designer

Thought Leadership Internal Design Teams and Thought Leadership explores the challenges in-house design teams face, especially when it comes to thought leadership and “lost potential.” Specifically: …internal design roles are structurally misaligned with public thought leadership. And the career growth options don’t favour the craft side of things: Thought leadership and mastery are correlated. An…

Weekly Learning: Design, Measurement, Hype, and Captaincy

Framing Design in Business A new model of the design process provides an interesting perspective to look at design in business. Firstly, design happens on three levels: strategic, tactical, and operational: Then it gets interesting when those three levels intersect with each other: The six areas derived from the intersections ask different questions regarding design’s…

Power and Corruption

How come so many organizations full of mostly good people with good intentions end up doing not-so-good things? The notion of power is significant to all of us not only because it permeates everything and everywhere in organizations, but also because of another familiar topic: corruption. Contrary to what many believe, in organizations, it’s often…

Weekly Learning: Designer, Knots, and Dream Job

Designers for the 21st Century Design for This Century throws out a bunch of fascinating ideas you want to dig in, among which are surveillance capitalism, ontological design, cyborg manifesto, decentralized storytelling, civic service design, anthropocene backloop, and cosmopolitics. Some are weird, but isn’t that exactly why you are curious to know more? The conclusion…

Weekly Learning: The Gaming Edition

A Game That Plays People A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon is a mind-blowing dissection of the notorious QAnon phenomenon. At the core is the idea of “apophenia”: Apophenia is : “the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)” And what happens in the…

Power and Rights

In more cases than we’d like to imagine, it’s good people with good intentions end up doing bad things. Most of us intuitively know what power is about, just like we intuitively know what design is about. However, knowing is not the same as understanding. The former is about what, the latter informs how. Our…

Why Your Org Can’t Succeed at Digital Transformation

Digital transformation urges a transfer of power that powerful people never intend to do. If digital transformation is really as awesome and game-changing as some claim or agree with, then we’d expect it to be so much more than adopting digital technologies without deep impact on the purpose, culture, structure, process, and function of an…

Weekly Learning: Design Methods, Research, Blockchain, and Original Sin

Much Ado About Methods Enough Design Methods provides a spearing critic to our obsession with methods. “We seem to be more focused on pseudo-scientific, quick paths to shallow solutions, rather than an immersive depth of creative craft.” Firstly, there is a reason for that obsession: Methods reinforce that we are in control and can tame…

The Road to Transformable Enterprise: Reflective Conversations on Writing and More

NOTE: The following post is a conversation between Andrey Milchman and Noah Fang, long-time collaborators and authors, on their new book, The Transformable Enterprise: Enterprise Architecture in a New Key, which “challenges current enterprise architecture practices, which are mostly inspired by engineers seeking freedom from constraints of science, art, and architecture in both structure and…

Weekly Learning: The Future Issue

Synthetic Realities Deepfake and blockchain are twins. But unlike blockchain, deepfake is not something new. Synthetic realities have been existed for a very, very long time. Andy Polaine’s iconic post, Design in the age of synthetic realities tells fascinating stories of how “AI-generated and mixed realities are blurring the boundaries of “truth” and challenging how…

Weekly Learning: Race, Designer, Accessibility, and AI

Race Race is quite a topic, but you can’t really talk about diversity or inclusion without talking about racism, can you? Maybe the best entry book to know more about racism is White Fragility or How to Be an Antiracist, while the article How to See Race provides some critical insights in the way we…

You Know the Next Item on My Bucket List

The Previous Item I had always wanted to write a book that helps everyone understand design. It was on my bucket list for a very long time. When I was an editor in a publishing house, I wondered why there are no such books (which is not true, of course). By the time I was…

Weekly Learning: Watchmen, Housing, Humour, and Faith

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis is the latest in a long history of big consultancies putting their own interests above everything else, including ethics and human lives. Specifically: The settlements come after lawsuits unearthed a trove of documents showing how McKinsey worked to drive sales…

Weekly Learning: Alcohol, Learning, Principles, and Good Design

Alcohol The Surprising Reason Why Alcohol Stores Are Considered Essential Services reveals what, perhaps, many have suspected: “Though research shows that alcohol abuse may worsen individual Covid-19 symptoms and other issues like depression, suicidality, and domestic abuse, even those adverse outcomes may not outweigh the pressure that a vast wave of alcohol withdrawal would have…

Design, Acting, and the Fourth Wall

A conversation regarding an actor prompted me to revisit a few thoughts on the similarities between design and acting. I always think that, screen acting is a bit like product design, stage acting is a bit like service design. Screen Acting is Like Product Design Screen acting attends to the camera, and the camera is…

Leadership or Org Culture?

Good employees politely walking away says more about leadership than about org culture. Bad employees happily walking away says more about leadership than about org culture. Org culture is overrated. Leadership is merely oversold. {END}

On Making Choices

How do you justify your choices? There’s always a dilemma: more or less, high or low, depth or breadth, old or new, to be or not to be, stay or go? We always have to choose from a dozen priorities. But know this— Where you start doesn’t matter strategically, while it matters tactically. Where you…

Bookview: How Design Makes the World by Scott Berkun

Amazon | Goodreads The Best First Reading to Understand Design for Everyone What is good design? It’s a simple question that demands not-so-simple answers. To answer it in the most basic way, you have to clarify at least two more basic questions: What is “good”? And what is “design”? Only when you get down to the…

Constraints Are More Equal Than Barriers

Design is characterized more by the constraints imposed on designers than by the freedom given to them. Identifying the constraints of a given design problem is critical both in framing the problem and in finding a solution. In fact, constraints are tightly coupled with a solution. The solution wouldn’t even be considered if it couldn’t…