People first, always
When working on a challenge, the people most affected by the challenge must remain central in the work. That includes building trust with the community, elevating their voices, and testing all new ideas alongside them. Because ultimately, who is it for?
BIAS TOWARDS ACTION
For me, this means jumping up to a board and visually mapping a conversation or building a low-resolution model of an idea and testing it. I am eager to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible (while also maintaining the "do no harm" principle).
Seek radical collaboration
The beauty of working in teams is the diverse perspectives that emerge. Having different world views and life experiences help a team examine a challenge from different angles and reach previously unexplored ground. I seek out work partners from diverse backgrounds and regularly pull in people outside of the project to provide fresh feedback.
It is important to be aware of what I'm bringing to a project. I ask myself, "What assumptions am I bringing to the table about this challenge and community? How do my identities affect how I perceive things? How community members perceive me?" This practice helps me avoid making decisions based on bias and supports me to build more authentic relationships with communities.
When working on complex challenges, there are moments of confusion, ambiguity, and frustration. I believe this is an essential part of the work, and if we rush through to escape the discomfort, we risk losing a shot at a truly revolutionary solution.
make time for the Soft stuff
Working in teams, strong emotions arise. Whether it's between people on the team or something in a person's outside life, it is worth it to pause and give the team space to process. When we honor each others' emotions, we build a stronger team and ultimately work together more productively.
These are other tools and methods I use in my work. I also develop custom tools for each project.
- Heuristic evaluation
- Contextual inquiry
- Needs hierarchy
- Immersive qualitative research
- Analogous qualitative research
- Mapping and visual communication
- Cultural Probes
- User frames
- User typology maps
- Unstructured interviews
- Open and closed card sorts
- Rapid ethnography
- Qualitative data analysis
- Quantitative analysis of questionnaires
- Participatory design
- Field Studies / Needfinding interviews
- Persona creation
- Focus groups
- Competitor research