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Styles of design methodology


There are now numerous ways to learn “design thinking” or methods of practicing design for many types of problems: interaction, communications, service, governance, etc. There’s plenty of books and online courseware, professional bootcamps and workshops — from General Assembly to LUMA Institute to Stanford to full fledged university degree programs like at CMU, IIT, SCAD, and so forth. I...

Facets of design leadership


What does it mean to be a design leader? Countless discussions, essays, blog posts and pithy tweets abound covering this question in numerous ways. But as you prepare your portfolio, pitch yourself to potential clients, and present yourself to a future employer, you need to ponder quite deeply about how you yourself approach leadership. Every designer is a leader in some way…even when...

Themes across a design career


If your’e just starting out, or at a relatively early stage in your career as a designer, the commonly perceived evidence of potential ability & quality is your portfolio, the body of work you’ve done for clients & teams. This is certainly still true as you develop a significant career path with 10, 15, even 20 years worth of hard-fought experience. As a former mentor once said to me (I...

Reflections 2015 / 2016


A new year already! Wow. How time truly flies when you’re busy… prototyping your career? Hmm. The final months of 2015 found me in the midst of a post-startup sabbatical, re-assessing my career trajectory after some unexpected changes, and taking time to shift things around in terms of personal and professional priorities. Lots and lots of coffees and conversations and “catch-up” meetings with...

Mechanics, mindset, and alchemy


Let’s say that one day, I wrote out the steps of a typical UCD-based process on a whiteboard (just pick any reputable textbook ;-)…and then someone walked into that room, memorized this process as a template or recipe and then executed it accurately — is that person now a designer?    That’s exactly the question a professor asked our class, in the final weeks of a graduate design seminar at CMU...

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