Artisan Blog

Practicing Design Thinking

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Practicing Design Thinking

Whenever dealing with difficult challenges, applying design thinking concepts can achieve interesting results.

The ideas, strategies, and methods associated with design thinking are not exclusive to the field of design. They're continuously being used to tackle crucial issues throughout society, from urban planning, to voter turnout, to climate change. Engineers, educators, and activists all make use of design thinking concepts and principles in their work, especially when they encounter problems for which older modes of thought have proven inadequate.

Here is a quick guide to some key concepts that foster design thinking. This should give your team what it needs to get started using design thinking to gain fresh perspectives on new or established challenges.

Observe the Core Principles

As laid out by Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Program, the driving principles are:

The Human Rule: All meaningful activity is a social activity. Always center on the humans.

The Ambiguity Rule: Test the limits of your own knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to see things differently. Fall in love with the questions.

The Redesign Rule: There is nothing new under the sun, yet the context is ever-shifting. You're always using existing resources to address unchanged human needs in ways that are appropriate for new technologies, capabilities, and situations.

The Tangibility Rule: To facilitate better communication, make your ideas tangible, rendered in pictures, sounds, feelings, and working prototypes.

Respect the Process

Rikke Dam and Teo Siang of the Interaction Design Foundation break down the design thinking process into five steps. The steps often repeat themselves, sometimes overlap, and do not always occur in sequence. What they do, is serve as a rough guide.

Empathize: Design thinking is human-centered thinking, and always starts with the real needs and behaviors of the user.

Define: When you've usefully defined and formatted your problem, you've gone a great distance toward solving it.

Ideate: Generate ideas through collaborative brainstorming. Adopt the attitude that, if you eliminate creative blocks and properly value ideas, you'll never run out of them.

Prototype: Create a working model. Put your idea out in the world where users can interact with it in a tangible form.

Test: Let experts and non-experts evaluate and use your idea. Collect your results, organize them in a useful and actionable way, and use what you've learned to make your idea stronger.

Focus on Solutions

Design thinking frames problems as creative challenges and concerns itself with generating fresh, sometimes novel, always useful and compassionate solutions. It calls for respecting your users, collaborators, and stakeholders, and a willingness to entertain notions that may beckon you outside your comfort zone. It values criticism as long as it's constructive and encourages positive, optimistic engagement with the world as it is, with a vision of how it can enable people to work and live more effectively together.

Whatever you're doing, give design thinking a try, and let us know what you discover through experimenting with this new mindset.

We have decades of experience in helping people work together. Contact Artisan today to share our tools, surpass your goals, and work smarter.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 498th issue of our a.blog.

 

 


With Gratitude

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With Gratitude

“Start with gratitude. Then get to work.”

-Beth Lapides

During this Thanksgiving holiday season, we at Artisan Creative celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year. By working with the finest people and organizations, we always find ourselves amazed by the skills of our talent and the openness of our clients that facilitate the making of great matches. This gives us pride in the part we play in impacting careers.

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of those who hold up our communities from behind the scenes. We share our immense gratitude for the people who do so much to keep our society functioning at the hardest of times.

In the last few weeks, the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire have posed unprecedented challenges for our home state of California. In response, Californians have come together to rally behind deeply affected families and businesses, and to support charities and emergency workers who are saving lives and helping communities prepare for rebuilding and recovery. We encourage joining these efforts and giving in the ways that are most effective, using wise-giving guidelines to make sure our dollars do the greatest possible good. Volunteering at your local shelter, donating clothes and essentials, supporting our firefighters are all ways we can help.

The people we work with have taught us much about strengthening our networks, bringing out the best in each other, and banding together to accomplish seemingly impossible breakthroughs. We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

Our Artisan a.team is grateful for so much this year, our collective thanks are outlined below:

We are thankful for our health, loving spouse/partners, our children, our fur babies, our families, our A.team co-workers, our home, our company, our personal freedom, our friends and support system, our breath, our opportunity to travel, our ability to have life/work integration, the opportunity to work remotely, and our California.

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.


The Power of Ambiverts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Power of Ambiverts

When it comes to styles of socializing, most people aren't fixed at one extreme pole or the other, at least not all the time. Most of us spend our time somewhere on the spectrum between painful introversion or exuberant extroversion. Some of us shift positions based on the situation, whether we're wired or tired, the cold number of strangers in the crowd or the warmth of being surrounded by close friends.

If you identify as neither an extrovert or an introvert and you share key traits with both, you may be an ambivert. Does this sound like you? Here are a few common characteristics of ambiverts - see how many you identify with.

You're All About Context

In high-stress situations, particularly at work, you may prefer to keep a low profile and think before you speak. However, when you're around your friends, you may behave quite differently.

Ambiverts have the color-changing powers of the chameleon, subtly altering their presentation to what serves them best in the situations they find themselves in. When you cultivate the mindfulness and self-awareness to make these adjustments deliberately, you can dramatically increase your effectiveness, at work and in life.

You Love to Chat But Prefer Valuable Conversation

You combine an extrovert's gift of gab with an introvert's aversion to small talk. Although you're adept at casual banter, you're eager to get to the heart of the matter and address what you really care about.

If you readily understand social cues, yet not always in the mood to follow them, you may be an ambivert.

You Provide Balance

When you're around your boisterous friends, you may calm down a bit, or do less talking and more listening than usual. However, when you're on a corporate retreat, you put yourself in the mix, break the ice, and help others form the connections they need to be themselves and come alive.

Because of your sensitivity and versatility to others with more extreme social styles, you can provide the secret sauce that makes relationships work.

You Respect Your Own Boundaries

You do fine in social situations, as long as you're in your comfort zone. Over time, you've come to know how much socializing you can tolerate without getting tired, how much you can participate in different sorts of meetings without overextending yourself, and what sort of people bring out your best as friends, collaborators, or mentors.

With their appreciation for the best of both worlds, ambiverts are well positioned to help others better define and establish their own needs and preferences. There is power in this versatility - when you understand the inner lives of both extroverts and introverts and can switch gears as appropriate, you are capable of great compassion and empathy.

Ambiverts may be well suited to roles that require thoughtful negotiation (e.g., sales or management), as well as the "helping professions" such as therapy, advocacy, or creative recruiting. Author Dan Pink, in his book "To Sell is Human” has created an assessment to test for yourself. He argues most of us are indeed ambiverts.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in the strength of diversity. We have decades of experience helping all sorts of creative professionals and businesses bring out their best selves and succeed beyond their expectations. Contact us today to discover your capabilities and embrace your excellence.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 496th issue of our a.blog

 

 


Find Your Passion

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Find Your Passion

#ArtisanAdvice -Find Your Passion 

Joni is a self-taught designer with a natural curiosity and gung-ho attitude toward picking up new hobbies and monetizing passions. In several years she has launched a food blog, a granola company, became a certified holistic health coach, and launched a baked goods and flower collective. We spoke to her to find out how she went from public health and art major to successful designer without any formal design training.

Joni began playing around with the idea of a design career after graduating from Berkeley. She studied design tutorials via CDs (remember those days?) and YouTube. She loved learning and figured she had a good shot of doing design full-time. This is when Craigslist was a hotbed of job postings for kickstarting careers and Joni landed a full-time role at a design studio where she cut her teeth on the whole gamut of the design process. So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? And where should you even begin?

With literally thousands of hobbies out there it can be tough to know where to even begin to find your passion. Try to be curious about everything around you and find things to do outside of work. Joni likes to be active and pack in as many activities as she can. “When you get to a certain point [in your career] there’s always a way to make it more legitimate. I tried to monetize a lot of hobbies and quickly realized some should always stay as exactly that -- just hobbies.” When it comes to design, Adobe is great about providing free tutorials. And remember, you don’t have to be the best but as long as you’re scratching the itch that’s all that matters at the start.

Give Yourself a Creative Outlet

Joni worked hard at giving herself a broad skill-set, “You don’t want to be one dimensional when you work in the creative industry. It’s important to have additional places to be creative outside of your job.” In Joni’s case, she loves interacting with people and learning about new topics and industries-- be it a blog or sketchbook, find a creative avenue and see where it takes you.

Nurture Relationships

So you’ve reached the point where you’ve found your passion, you’ve got the skills so now what? Work won’t find its way to you without you putting yourself out there. “I’ve always been successful with word-of-mouth business. Friends’ businesses or friends of friends are referred to me and as long as your social network knows what you do and what you’re interested in, people will come to you.” No doubt there will be times when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and here’s when you have to fake it until you make it. It’s a cliché term, but when it comes to gaining confidence it truly works. And what if you’re nervous about putting your work out there? Don’t be, Joni reassures, “The moment you get over your shyness about showing work it opens so many doors. Take your ego out of criticism and people will come to you to seek your services."

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 495th issue of our a.blog.

 




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