4. Thinking Styles
Live Online Classes
Course start date: 6-Jul-22
Access recordings until: 12-Sep-2021
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- Recognition of the difference between concepts at surface vs. depth
- Understanding that concepts at depth represent cognitive empathy (inner thinking, emotional reactions, guiding principles)
- How to conduct listening sessions for data collection
- Writing summaries of concepts at depth using the formula: verb + key point + supporting details
- Watch one of Indi’s latest recorded talks
- Listen to one of the latest Other Recordings
Experience the most recent recorded version of each class as Indi teaches it. Indi records the Wednesday class of each week. You get access to the recordings each Wednesday evening, after class.
The idea behind follow-along is that you can, for a much lower price, experience the latest course content and the energy of taking the course along with other people. The access period is limited to 6 weeks (from the first day of class) to encourage you to “follow-along” with the live class, interact with your fellow students on Slack, and even partner up with other follow-along students for homework, exercises, or just to discuss the course materials.
If you’re interested in a longer access time, please check out the Archive Access option.
About this course
Thinking styles are deeply researched, demographics-free mindsets. They are much more reliable and flexible than demographic & psychographic descriptions of sets of people.
Segmenting your audience by demographics invites bias and discrimination.
A well-researched persona is a good tool to guide your strategy and scenario-writing. But often personas are built in a day using quantitative data and invented “decorative” detail. When teams accept the convention of using names, faces, and ages in their personas, it allows cognitive bias to creep in. Demographic assumptions are harmful. This demographic approach to personas ends up as an unusable mashup of target market description and product design guidance. It frequently only addresses the buying behavior. If a set of personas does venture past buying into usage, they usually represent only one philosophical approach to users’ overall purpose. This one philosophical approach is duplicated with different “skins” to show “diversity.”
Thinking styles are a better way to support a broad diversity of people.
Thinking styles represent patterns of inner thinking, emotional reactions, and guiding principles derived from listening sessions. They’re archetypes. You use them in gap analysis to see where your solutions offer weak support for certain thinking styles. You use them for the characters who play roles in an org’s design scenarios: buying, on-boarding, usage, workarounds, retention. With a connection to the inner mindsets people have as they seek to achieve their own purposes, your team will become aware of broader cultures and philosophies. This variety allows your organization to multiply the number of goals and solutions you can seek to support.
You will learn how to:
- Practice the neutral mindset of understanding people as people
- Derive thinking styles from research
- Provide the core concepts at depth that differentiate thinking styles
- Represent complex sets of thinking styles in a way many teams across a large org can easily use
- Convert existing personas to thinking-styles
- Gather core concepts from existing research
- Stop writing repetitive (and useless) scenarios
- Give you org a clear path to address discrimination and support different physiology
Expect homework to take about one hour a week. (Some people invest less time or more time, depending on their context.)
- Homework #1: Choose some transcripts to read, and write a participant sketch for each. Your sketch will take the format of either a paragraph of concepts at depth or a list of concepts at depth.
- Homework #2: Group participants with approaches in common. Annotate this group by merging some common inner thinking & guiding principles. Highlight people by strength of match to the annotation, then make changes if there are weak matches. See if you can make each person belong to a unique group
- Homework #3: Describe each of your thinking style groups using first person, present tense. Decide on a label for each group that the members would be proud to describe themselves as. (Optionally: map our original hypotheses to thinking styles; test out the descriptions with real people.)
Who is this for?
If you are a researcher, this course is for you! Product managers, designers, and leaders are also welcome, because more and more of you are tasked with conducting research, and you may as well do it correctly. The outcome needs to be a reliable foundation for your decision-making.