The Designer is Present
Therapists, as part of their education, must go through therapy themselves. They are expected to achieve a certain level of insight about themselves – their biases, their discomforts, and so on. While we are not therapists, we go out and study people without that level of self-insight! A lack of self-insight sometimes manifests itself as passion, commitment, or being driven by a mission. While those have their place, it’s easy to become blinded by what we can’t let ourselves see. Sometimes this shows up as discomfort at the micro level, when we react to something a user might tell us about themselves; sometimes it’s a macro issue, when we’re uncomfortable with people who hold different values, preferences, or beliefs than ourselves. And it crescendos as know-it-all douchebaggery, when we think our job is to tell other people what’s best for them – when phrases like “frictionless sharing” fall from our lips as naturally as “what time is dinner?”
In this interactive talk we will delve into the concepts of presence and mindfulness and develop an understanding of how this informs how you engage with the world around you, as a designer, a professional, and a person.
Steve Portigal helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights.
He is principal of Portigal Consulting and the author of two books: The classic Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights and new, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories.
He’s also the host of the Dollars to Donuts podcast, where he interviews people who lead user research in their organizations. Steve is an accomplished presenter who speaks about culture, innovation, and design at companies and conferences across the globe.
He makes his home in California, on the foggy coast south of San Francisco.