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The Craft of Collaboration

The world of design is getting ever more complex. There are an increasing number of different specialists to involve in conceiving new products and services. With each specialism comes more potential challenges for working together. How do we continually evolve our abilities to collaborate?

Jason Mesut explores some of his own experience in different design roles, as an event organiser, as a father, as a leader and as a a manager to offer a frameowrk for collaboration based on 3 key engagement strategies, 6 key behavioral principles, and 6 key skills to practice to help you on your voyage to master the craft of collaboration.

The Craft of Collaboration

  1. 1. The Craft of Collaboration Collaborate 2015 Jason Mesut, Resonant Design and Innovation @jasonmesut
  2. 2. When I hear ‘Collaborate’ I think of this…
  3. 3. Ice Ice Baby video
  4. 4. “alright, stop, collaborate and listen” Vanilla Ice
  5. 5. “if you’ve got a problem, yo i’ll solve it” Vanilla Ice
  6. 6. “if you’ve got a problem, yo i’ll solve it” Too many designers
  7. 7. Don’t be the VI of UX
  8. 8. Design challenges getting more complex
  9. 9. Increasing numbers and types of collaborators – Data scientists – Industrial Designers – Developers – Visual designers – Marketers – Business analysts – Engineers – Call centre staff – Strategists
  10. 10. Collaboration has always been important
  11. 11. Collaboration has always been important But fundamentally difficult
  12. 12. Collaboration has always been important But fundamentally difficult It relies on human connections
  13. 13. Collaboration has always been important But fundamentally difficult It relies on human connections Humans are messy
  14. 14. Digital folk don’t even understand each other
  15. 15. We don’t agree amongst ourselves
  16. 16. What’s the collective noun for UXers?
  17. 17. What’s the collective noun for UXers? A flock of sheep 1
  18. 18. What’s the collective noun for UXers? A flock of sheep A school of fish 1 2
  19. 19. What’s the collective noun for UXers? A flock of sheep A school of fish An argument of UXers 1 2 3
  20. 20. UX has done a pretty good job of making itself complicated in a short period of time with all the different sub-disciplines: IA, IxD, etc. The more compartmentalised, the worse the result. Marcus Hoggarth Industrial Design Director, Native UX is confusing
  21. 21. Competition between ‘partners’
  22. 22. Competition between ‘partners’ Talent is scarce
  23. 23. Competition between ‘partners’ Talent is scarce Process materials are sacred
  24. 24. Competition between ‘partners’ Talent is scarce Process materials are sacred They all want a bigger piece
  25. 25. Contractual mismatches Fixed cost Time and materials Resource + time 1 2 3
  26. 26. Process differences Agile Waterfall Something completely different 1 2 3
  27. 27. There is a cost of collaboration
  28. 28. There is a cost of collaboration But a bigger cost of not collaborating
  29. 29. There is a cost of collaboration But a bigger cost of not collaborating It’s just getting harder to estimate
  30. 30. There is a cost of collaboration But a bigger cost of not collaborating It’s just getting harder to estimate And sponsors always want more for less
  31. 31. There’s never enough time
  32. 32. There’s never enough money
  33. 33. There’s never enough space
  34. 34. Designers are normally quite introverted individuals Struggle with connecting to others
  35. 35. How can we get clarity through this fog?
  36. 36. Caveat My answers are based on my experience
  37. 37. Context for this talk Personal experience over 16 years in UX Research around Industrial Design and UX Current experience on some interesting projects + + 1 2 3
  38. 38. Brunel Industrial Designer Interaction Designer User Experience Consultant Director of User Experience Head of User Experience Yell PA Consulting Flow Oyster / Framfab / LBi The Team RMA Plan ‘96 ‘15 – Service designer – Product strategist – Researcher – Designer – Leader – Manager – Consultant
  39. 39. 4 years Local leader Interaction Design Association L o n d o n Subjects over 4 years Internet of Things Future of publishing Urban environment Smart materials Mobility / Automotive Clinical applications
  40. 40. My personal context Confidence Shy Vocal Leader / Manager Good Terrible Working preferences With others By myself
  41. 41. Building on research
  42. 42. Industrial Designers Industrial Designers Digital / UX Designers Interviewed over 40 designers
  43. 43. Experience with big names Consultancies Manufacturers Education
  44. 44. Building on recent project experience A new transportation service – Helps people unlock London – Mobile apps and wider digital services – Spaces, places, people, vehicles, interactions Icons created by Vicons Design from the Noun Project ?
  45. 45. Key project partners – Automotive client – Call centre services company – Brand agency – App development company – Systems integrator – Product strategy consultancy – Marketing and advertising company – Political negotiations – PR groups – Maintenance company – Hardware companies – Payment provider
  46. 46. Current project roles – Algorithm experts – Product owners – Product designers – Developers – Researchers – 2D Designers – 3D Designers – Design strategists – Product strategists – Content strategists – Strategist strategists
  47. 47. A lot of overlaps in what we contribute to – Proposition – Service ideas – Marketing ideas – Design details – Language A lot of opinions about everything
  48. 48. How can we better collaborate with an increasing number of stakeholders of different backgrounds? ?
  49. 49. Endless advice on how to collaborate
  50. 50. Too many half answers and silver bullets
  51. 51. We have plenty of tools and techniques
  52. 52. Workshop tricks ain’t gonna save us But this is a great book
  53. 53. Agile or Lean ain’t gonna save us But there’s mileage in some of the approaches for some of our projects
  54. 54. Post-its ain’t gonna save us But we do have a healthy obsession
  55. 55. Slack ain’t gonna save us Although it helps with ongoing banter
  56. 56. SharePoint? Everything but a place to share
  57. 57. Skype ain’t gonna save us WebEx, hangouts and more all suffer from the same problem
  58. 58. A useful exercise, for sure, but hard to do all the time Or even sketching + prototyping together
  59. 59. Neither will an experience map Although communication tools do help especially if others are involved
  60. 60. These are all valuable tools at your disposal But they are not enough
  61. 61. We also have some useful scientif-ish theory
  62. 62. Jazz ain’t gonna save us Although I totally embrace some of the principles behind this
  63. 63. There are useful models in team dynamics
  64. 64. Belbin Different team roles                                                                           
  65. 65. Myers Briggs Different personality styles
  66. 66. Tuckman 4 stages of group development
  67. 67. Mesut Creating the Perfect Experience Architect
  68. 68. Some attributes important for over 10 years – Team player – Empathy (users, business, tech) – Pragmatism – People/relationship sills – Listening skills – Passion & energy – Strong backbone
  69. 69. All useful But I want to give a different perspective
  70. 70. Hypothesis Collaboration is a craft
  71. 71. Part science Theories and frameworks
  72. 72. Part art Your own self expression and style
  73. 73. Mostly craft Theory, tools, own style and lots of practice
  74. 74. I believe We need more fundamentals Strategies, principles and practices
  75. 75. Create Calibrate Connect Find common ground Connect on a personal level Respect differences Fun1 Craft of collaboration fundamentals Strategies, Principles, Skills Myers Briggs Belbin Tucken Jazz
  76. 76. 3 Key Iterative Strategies 6 Key Principles 6 Key Skills A framework for collaboration
  77. 77. Connect
 Create Calibrate Connect
  78. 78. Calibrate Create Calibrate Connect
  79. 79. Create Calibrate Connect Create
  80. 80. Connect Find common ground Connect on a personal level Respect differences
 Create Calibrate Connect
  81. 81. Calibrate Adapt ourselves Adapt our processes Translate our language Create Calibrate Connect
  82. 82. Create Calibrate Connect Create Relationships Together or alone New value
  83. 83. Connect Find common ground Connect on a personal level Respect differences
 Create Calibrate Connect
  84. 84. Jargon Documentation Communication Motivation Values Principles Methods Software Approaches Value Uniqueness Horizons Timelines Pace Offer Mindset Language Tools Time Key ground
  85. 85. Jargon Documentation Communication Motivation Values Principles Methods Software Approaches Value Uniqueness Horizons Timelines Pace Offer Mindset Language Tools Time Identify overlaps
  86. 86. Respect differences
  87. 87. Respect differences – Agile – Lean – Waterfall – UCD – Native vs. web – Mobile first – Six Sigma
  88. 88. I setup a monthly lunch with the director of R&D.  It helps that we both care about the same thing. That helped bring down any barriers. I worked to understand his and his team’s goals, so that we could better support them and work closer together. Nick Myers Director User Experience Design, Fitbit Connect on a personal level
  89. 89. Practice Learning others’ perspectives Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time
  90. 90. Learning others’ perspectives a. Research specific topics in others’ media of choice b. Meet lots of people c. Capture what others say
  91. 91. Connect as a team
  92. 92. Socialise Moan Celebrate successes
  93. 93. Practice Listening Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time
  94. 94. Listening a. Listen to language others use b. Really listen to what they are saying and what they are not c. Probe and capture d. Show interest
  95. 95. Example Share experiences and perspectives at project kick-off Favourite project Something you love What people say about you Ways you like to work Hopes and fears for the project Establish team working principles
  96. 96. Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourselfPrinciple Be human
  97. 97. Be human a. Be passionate b. Show weakness c. Be yourself (with a twist)
  98. 98. Calibrate Unite on a common purpose Adapt ourselves Adapt our processes Translate our language Create Calibrate Connect
  99. 99. I’ve found the best way to get integration is to get away from the features and unite on the higher goals Scott Jenson Product Strategy, Google Unite on a common purpose
  100. 100. We structure projects so industrial designers, interaction designers, mechanical engineers, and strategists can do the research together. David Sherwin Director of User Experience, lynda.com, LinkedIn Research together Photograph by Misha Miller
  101. 101. Align efforts where it matters most You can’t innovate everywhere
  102. 102. Principle Hold up a mirror Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself
  103. 103. 2. Hold up a mirror a. Take a 3rd person perspective b. Record your behaviour c. Watch yourself d. Listen to yourself
  104. 104. Know your own tone of voice In different situations When you’re – Stressed – Happy – Excited – Tired – Disagreeing with someone
  105. 105. Know your own tone of voice Know-it-all Teacher Mother Oracle Antagonist Naysayer OptimistThinker
  106. 106. Watch your body language Stance, arms, hands, head lonerwolf.com
  107. 107. And your facial expressions Smirks, scowls, smiles
  108. 108. Listen to the language you use + other’s reactions Do they understand you?
  109. 109. Principle Establish common frames Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself
  110. 110. Establish common frames Define your terms
  111. 111. Establish common frames Clarify roles +responsibilities
  112. 112. Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself Principle Flex yourself
  113. 113. Flex yourself Adapt yourself to your environment
  114. 114. Flex yourself a. Be prepared to change b. Adapt your behaviours and tone of voice c. Adapt your language d. Adapt your ways of working
  115. 115. Create Calibrate Connect Create Relationships Together or alone New value
  116. 116. Create relationships Personal + professional
  117. 117. Create together In the right space, with banter
  118. 118. Create together Celebrate and take the knocks together
  119. 119. Blame is toxic Be careful of taking others down for your gain
  120. 120. Collaborate away from project work We run Interaction Labs events and people collaborate across the studio Heather Martin
 VP of Design, SmartDesign
  121. 121. Principle Foster friendly friction Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself
  122. 122. Foster friendly friction a. Have strong opinions held weakly b. Don’t tread on others’ toes c. Find right tone of voice to disagree d. Follow-up after conflict
  123. 123. Practice Capturing Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time
  124. 124. Capturing a. Capture key notes b. Capture key phrases people use c. Try to document decisions and feedback
  125. 125. Create alone Give yourself and others time and space
  126. 126. Communicate virtually Keep comms alive on phone, VOIP or chat
  127. 127. Communicate physically Create focal points of progress
  128. 128. Practice Sharing at the right time in the right way Sharing at right time Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing
  129. 129. Sharing a. Share meeting / session outputs quickly b. Share useful references c. Share work ugly early, but caveat d. Respect people’s inboxes
  130. 130. Share regularly At Palm, we did show and tells across ID and UX. IDs would bring their models and we would offer suggestions and opinions. We would bring our interface concepts or prototypes and they would share their ideas too. Kim Lenox Director of User Experience Design, LinkedIn
  131. 131. Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time Practice Talking
  132. 132. Talking a. Speak concisely b. To different sized groups c. Know when to speak up d. Know when to shut up
  133. 133. Practice Planning and preparation Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time
  134. 134. Planning and preparation a. Give yourself time to prepare b. Research people and environments c. Get others on board before large sessions
  135. 135. Principle Practice, practice, practice Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself
  136. 136. How can we better collaborate with an increasing number of stakeholders of different backgrounds? ?
  137. 137. Create Calibrate Connect Strategies
  138. 138. Create Calibrate Connect Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourselfPrinciples
  139. 139. Create Calibrate Connect Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself Crafting Collaboration Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time Skills
  140. 140. Thank you @jasonmesut Create Calibrate Connect Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself Craft of Collaboration Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time
  141. 141. Thank you Collaborate 2015 Jason Mesut, Resonant Design and Innovation @jasonmesut Create Calibrate Connect Be human Hold up a mirror Establish frames Foster friendly friction Practice, practice, practice Flex yourself Craft of Collaboration Talking Capturing Listening Learning other perspectives Planning and preparing Sharing at right time

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The world of design is getting ever more complex. There are an increasing number of different specialists to involve in conceiving new products and services. With each specialism comes more potential challenges for working together. How do we continually evolve our abilities to collaborate? Jason Mesut explores some of his own experience in different design roles, as an event organiser, as a father, as a leader and as a a manager to offer a frameowrk for collaboration based on 3 key engagement strategies, 6 key behavioral principles, and 6 key skills to practice to help you on your voyage to master the craft of collaboration.

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