newsletter #26 | 18-Jul-2017

Ideas are sexy. You get attention and credit if you have good ideas; you and your organization gain success if your ideas really catch on. But there’s not a heck of a lot of focus on where great ideas come from. We just assume they will show up, leaping like a goddess from our foreheads. Consequently we focus all our resources and effort on perfecting these already-generated ideas. It’s time to mature your practice of creating ideas–the stuff that comes before an idea forms. Read More

newsletter #25  |  20-Jun-2017

Last week I apparently caused a short Denial of Service attack on my own website when I asked listeners at the Agile UX Virtual Conference to look at the problem/solution diagram on my website. Read More

newsletter #24  |  16-May-2017

Building rapport with participants takes some skill and concentration. Here’s an explanation to help you become aware of what it takes.

First, the foundation: There are two types of empathy that I focus on in exploring the problem space. (Do you remember them? Quick mental quiz … take a second. Remember?) Read More

newsletter #23  |  18-Apr-2017

When I give workshops or short talks about researching the problem space, there are three things that audiences have a hard time wrapping their minds around. Each audience is different, and they all don’t react to the same concept. But here are the three concepts that consistently generate the most thinking and questions:

In problem-space research:

  1. No users
  2. No note taking
  3. Not a part of a product cycle

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newsletter #22  |  21-Mar-2017

Most organizations have several different products aimed at different market sectors. However each product or service is usually designed with one main user in mind. This product or service ends up only supporting a portion of the people it is aimed at. Read More

newsletter #21  |  21-Feb-2017

Figuring out what to explore in a problem-space study is difficult. For problem-space exploration, you ask participants about the larger intent or purpose; for user-research, you ask about your ideas or products. For example, in a problem-space study having to do with drive-through menu design at a fast food chain, we asked participants, “What went through your mind as you decided what to eat for a quick lunch over the past couple of weeks?” The purpose wasn’t to select from a menu, but to eat lunch.

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newsletter #20  |  17-Jan-2017

It’s one thing to say it, quite another to do it. You might agree that broader, deeper understanding of people will strengthen your product strategy and solutions. You might be open to the idea that diverse teams create more sustainable organizations. But getting your own organization to make this shift seems impossible. Because of budget priorities. Because the organization has to get out ahead of the competition faster-than-fast because the market is changing. Because time is money. Because the shareholders need to see profit.
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newsletter #19  |  13-Dec-2016

For a few years, Christina Wodtke has been speaking and writing about using stories in your work. When she says “story,” she means stories with characters and a setting and conflict and resolution. She says stories that develop your concern for the character’s outcome are memorable. And she compares stories with a climax to a typical product decision-making process where the focus is on what can be created or fixed–not why.

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newsletter #18  |  15-Nov-2016

Chances are that if you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you’re interested in techniques for understanding others–specifically in the context of supporting people in your work. Chances are you’ve heard what the U.S. president-elect has promised, and a notable part of it goes against the philosophy of understanding and supporting a variety of different people.
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newsletter #17  |  18-Oct-2016

I’ve taught a few workshops on problem-space research, listening sessions, and developing & applying empathy lately. These workshops always have room for Q&A and discussion, and the brilliance and depth of the topics always impresses me. I thought I’d pass some of them along. Read More