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Design as ‘value’

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Value is an overused word. Especially in Silicon Valley tech culture, amid investor-led conversations, value is so heavily overused. Value this, value that. Keep generating value. Yes, of course. Yet, it all seems just so trite, and empty, as a concept. What does “value” even mean anymore? And for the design leader who is dancing across multiple levels of craft in their work — from...

Design as ‘quality’

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Design is about quality. Design is so loaded of a word, right!? Either it’s too emotional or too pedantic, with over-justified rationale that’s evolved into trendy buzzwords plastered on magazine covers (ahem, “design thinking”?). And still, in 2020, design is seen primarily as simply making things look sexy, exciting, glamorous. Pretty. Sigh. However, quality is a word we all...

Design as ‘discipline’

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Design is about discipline. I’ve learned over the years that “process” can be a… touchy word in hi-tech culture. It connotes bureaucracy and politics, time-wasting tedium on checks-and-balances, for their own sake. To suggest that a team follow a design process can imply emphasis on the project management aspects, sauntering through a sequentialized, mechanized, procedure. Yawn. And...

Presence & comms for virtual work

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As we’re forced to go fully virtual during the COVID-19 global pandemic, questions arise about how to virtualize those we take for granted as routine & normal when we’re in the office. For instance, what does it mean to be present? How do we organize our attention? What level of fidelity of communications is good? Do we really need to have the camera on all the time for all meetings? And...

Anchors & rhythms in a virtual existence

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Now that “working from home” has been mandated as the new norm, while we endure the uneasy uncertainty of the coronavirus, it’s a good time to reflect upon some nuances that impact the quality of productivity, when going fully virtual. This goes beyond useful tips for remote work practices, or arranging a suitable home-office setup. First, let’s acknowledge the pervasive sense of...

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