sxswi talk: Getting Unstuck

Get Unstuck panel Turns out some of the best talks were in the first morning timeslot… sad given how late the evening events went at this conference. Getting Unstuck was a really awesome panel with this unfortunate timeslot… but they managed to keep me engaged (and awake) and I ended up taking copious notes full of great ideas about working with stakeholders, finding inspiration, keeping momentum going, selling your designs..

Liz Danzico- Daylife, Kristian Bengtsson- FutureLab, Chris Messina- Citizen Agency, Luke Wroblewski- Yahoo!, Jeffrey Zeldman- Happy Cog

How can we stay innovative and “unstuck”?

  • Put all early work online, ask others to take and expand and repost, very successful (Firefox ex.)
    • Everything out in the open as early as possible
    • Management through conversation
      • Talk a ton before design phase (Batman ex)
      • Hear what people are actually saying, really listen
      • Don’t focus too much on process… get to what users need, despite process
    • Keep info flowing in (ideas, thoughts, inspiration)
      • Data, trends
      • Keep getting the ideas out there & get feedback
      • Write things down so you can think them through
      • Feedback loop- stuck is when it stops
    • Accept constant change, be fearless and have fun
      • “Better to be flamboyant failure than mediocre success”
      • Intention + dialog/ context= success
    • “5 dysfunctions of teams”
    • Showing weakness builds trust
    • Get unstuck by talking to other groups

    Publish to build trust! Get it out there so stakeholders know. This changes the conversation eventually (they start to think it’s their idea)

  • Get it out there- people can destroy and it’s reborn better
    • Find negative space in an idea
  • We are a soundbite culture, John Kerry ex- long verbose doesn’t soundbite quickly
    • Create soundbites that others can take up, articulate a goal about self and project- keep simple & repeat
    • People lose track, just work- need simple, brand goal to go back to

    In your head everything’s fluffy, round edges. Write it down, give to others to have others jump on- 1`% may be good

  • Add value via design process, principles
    • Don’t have to call it “design”
    • eBay ex- M&A create value with babblefish translator- “oh he’s valuable”
    • Help define the problem, don’t be afraid of menial tasks
    • Don’t “sell design”, just add value, without people even knowing he did the “design thing”
  • It’s all a political process, interpret and understand everyone’s goal and where they’re coming from
  • Need someone in an org thinking about shared understanding & trust
  • Small teams good
  • IA is a translator/ flight attendant/ prostitute to all stakeholders… make them feel loved and listened too- significantly before showing designs
  • Honesty and communication, listening- not just to users/ consider stakeholders as “users”. Show the “love”
  • Big companies value process, -can you add value when pitching work without talking process?
    • Party with them, get to know them, simple process
    • Show before an after of previous process
    • “Love process”- includes tough love- why what they’re doing is wrong
    • Most important is to get to know, listen
    • People being hired for way of thinking, NOT process
    • Tell client we understand your context, don’t know what we’ll do yet
    • It’s about a connection, need to know an audience to tell story, no boiler plate, use conversation to help define problem

Lightening round- 1 minute scenario questions for panel

    • Build to think mentality, continuous feedback look
    • Simplify
    • Clear vision
    • Be resourceful
    • Constraints are good
    • Have a need- not just an idea or dogma, empathy good
    • Learn from failure, & fail quickly

Final tips for getting unstuck

    • Listen, dialog, articulate simple goals
    • Communication, open feedback loop
      • Take feedback/ be open/ your idea can get better
      • “yes, and…”
    • Always have at least 1 person focused on solution, common factors instead of differences
    • Be fearless
    • Keep a user in mind- personalized
    • Think about what it’s like to get beers after with client- what’s success? what have you achieved?
    • Common context, make execs responsible for culture
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