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The Designer is Present

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Keynote from Interact 15, London.

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.

Published in: Design

The Designer is Present

  1. 1. The Designer Is Present @steveportigal
  2. 2. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Resources, presentations and to purchase http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/ Interviews with in-house user research leaders http://portigal.com/series/DollarsToDonuts/ Coming in 2016 http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/epic-fail/
  3. 3. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title stylePresence Terminology and meaning Importance in creative work Exercises and reflection How to develop it
  4. 4. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title stylePresence Being aware of and connected to the present moment - and only the present moment.
  5. 5. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title stylePresence Being aware of your own thoughts and feelings…so you can make choices about how to act. Being aware of and connected to the present moment - and only the present moment.
  6. 6. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title stylePresence and mindfulness are interchangeable(ish)
  7. 7. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleMeditation is one way to develop mindfulness
  8. 8. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleExercise: Let’s do a nano-meditation Meditation is not the absence of thought, but the presence of awareness. – Irene Au
  9. 9. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleMeditation is not the only way to develop presence
  10. 10. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleIn the Zeitgeist
  11. 11. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleCultural pressures that challenge presence
  12. 12. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleSeven attitudes of mindfulness Non-judging We bring our own ideas to a situation. We can notice our own thoughts but not act on them. Patience Things happen in their own way and in their own time. Beginner’s Mind Approach a situation having let go of what we already think we “know.” Trust Look to yourself – even if you make mistakes – rather than outside yourself. Non-striving Not trying to make things different but just allowing them to be as they are. Acceptance Seeing things as they are, now. Letting Go/Non-attachment Not holding on to how you want things to be. Adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  13. 13. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleThis is important to us
  14. 14. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleValidating is judging; Empathy is not sympathy http://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw
  15. 15. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleRelationship between mindfulness and empathy No Time to Think – New York Times Studies suggest that [a lack of presence] impairs your ability to empathize with others. “The more in touch with my own feelings and experiences, the richer and more accurate are my guesses of what passes through another person’s mind. Feeling what you feel is an ability that atrophies if you don’t use it.” http://nyti.ms/1pzBHFt
  16. 16. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleRelationship between mindfulness and empathy An Appeal to Our Inner Judge – New York Times Recognize and accept that you have biases. Develop the capacity to observe yourself in action and to notice when certain people or circumstances serve as triggers. Learning to slow down decision-making, especially when it affects other people, can help reduce the impact of bias. This can be particularly important when we are in circumstances that make us feel awkward or uncomfortable. http://nyti.ms/1xZb4vw
  17. 17. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleSelf-awareness is a muscle that grows with time Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change – 99U It’s human nature to first experience and then explain. Catching ourselves before we engage in our typical default reactions is one of the greatest challenges of our lives, but when done relentlessly and with discipline and moments of reflection, mindfulness ensues. The pursuit of self-awareness is difficult and requires dedication. http://99u.com/30437
  18. 18. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleMind and body
  19. 19. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleListening Yes! Not so much.
  20. 20. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleWe are bound by our aspirations/inspirations We think we know what the solution is. We think we know what other people are about. We can’t hear them. We design for our “vision” not for their needs.
  21. 21. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleExercise: It’s Going To Be Okay
  22. 22. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleA shaggy-dog story
  23. 23. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleCognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – the reframe How (negative) thinking affects feelings and behavior “She was totally furious when I handed her the letter!” [What else could be the reason for her action?]
  24. 24. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleMarina Abramović: The Artist Is Present
  25. 25. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleExercise (but we’re probably out of time) Get into pairs Sit facing each other in chairs Look but no stares Don’t talk but be aware Then we’ll share
  26. 26. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleConcluding Thoughts Being present empowers you to more effectively • Work collaboratively • Problem-solve creatively • Learn about users Look for personally rewarding ways that you can practice being present so you can strengthen that skill!
  27. 27. The Designer Is Present ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleThank you! Questions? @steveportigal http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/Interviewing-Users http:// www.portigal.com/series/WarStories/ @DollrsToDonuts

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