Books, Design

Empathy, a guide for myself

When I graduated from design school, I didn’t feel equipped to be a designer in the real world. I remember that I even googled for “core skills of a designer” and found that empathy was an important skill to have, so I started to teach myself to be a more empathetic designer.

[Empathy
The hardest skill that I tried to teach myself for a decade but finally this is the book that helped, Dare to Lead by author Brene Brown. She clearly breaks down empathy into skills.
For me though the number 1 skill is to Listen. I’m so uncomfortable with silence I keep talking and forget to listen. How to listen:
1 – Hear what is being said
2 – Absorb and try to understand
3 – Respond not react

Brene Brown says the top empathy skill is Perspective taking.

“Honour people’s perspectives as truth even when they’re different from us.

Brene Brown


Become the learner not the knower. I think this is the biggest breakthrough for me — the shift in mindset from “knowing” to “learning”.

And coming to why empathy is a core skill for designers: It starts with Curiosity, Learning, Empathy, which is used throughout the design process: To understand users better, to create inclusive product experiences, to stay problem-focused, not solution-focused, to grow and learn from feedback, and to be the best coworker and collaborator you can be.
And the true test of empathy is in practising it daily until it becomes second nature. So best foot forward towards being a more empathetic designer!]

Dedicated to Raj and JD.

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art, Books, Design, List, sketchbook

2017 in Books

I read a lot, and these days I also draw about the books I read. In 2017 though, my reading didn’t feature as much in my drawings. Here are 20 from 2017 in no particular order and the drawings.

SATURDAY A day spent reading about art, design, writing.
And making drawings about them and thinking.


The Best, not in order

Feeling is crucial to understanding a work of art. “Einfuhlung” coined by Robert Vischer in 1873 is “a way of feeling oneself into a work of art,” which ultimately becomes “empathy” in English. The meaning of an object influences the feelings it evokes.

  • Re-read Redesigning Leadership (John Maeda): As always I go back to reading John Maeda’s books at crucial times in my life. I was so happy to read this book while struggling with the leadership role. I think what I liked most was another way of approaching leadership – the artistic approach which I really resonated with. This was drawn on a flight layover.

And the rest

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Books, Design, Life, sketchbook

Reading “White” by Kenya Hara

Like I posted earlier, I read White last year and loved it. Here’s a drawing I made during that time.

white

[WHITE
Every morning I sit and drink my coffee and read a few pages of White in silence and calm, and it’s a beautiful meditative experience reading this book. I feel thankful for life and everything that is still left in this world for me to wonder at.]

Read it for the experience as well as for the content.

From the sketchbook called Captivity (Feb 2017).

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Design, Life, Mobile, sketchbook

Wake up and snooze

Like most people I wake up to the alarm set on my phone. And like most people, I want to press the snooze button and go back to sleep.

And therein lies the twist – have you ever found the snooze button on the iPhone? Exactly. There is no snooze button! Instead there’s a snooze gesture – which is a task for your sleep-addled brain to remember.

Anyway now I use the clock on my Android phone instead.

alarm.png

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Design, Event

The workshop in Munich

Last week I went to attend Urban Spaces in the Web 2.0 Era in Munich. It was organized by Martin, Moritz, Nemanja and some others as well, and was a part of the C&T2013 conference.

Here are the sketchnotes I made:

First there was a Pecha Kucha session, where we all had to present our position papers, beginning with Elmar
ws1-elmar
Lea, Zack
ws1-lea-zack
Mads and Nina
ws1-mads-nina
Pelin
ws4-flipr
Maria, Dimitrios
ws5-maria-dimitrios
Pasi, Bronwyn
ws6-pasi-bron
I was the last to present. Then we formed groups and went out into the city for a field exercise, each group to a different location in Munich. My group was supposed to go to the Viktualenmarkt, but unfortunately it was shut, so we went to Marienplatz instead. Then we came back and presented our findings, around different ways of navigating the city.
Here’s Nemanja and Martin presenting their findings, they used a paper map.
ws8-nemanja-martin

I got really engrossed in the discussions that followed so there are no more drawings from the workshop, but later on at the conference Moritz presented the workshop proceedings (only he wasn’t grinning like I’ve drawn).

ws9-moritz

I’d never been to a workshop before, so this was a really good beginning. The best thing was that everybody was coming from different backgrounds around a common theme, and so there were a variety of perspectives for discussion. I came away all inspired, and looking forward to the next workshop 🙂

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