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Key takeaways from UX+ Conference 2020

“The biggest online UX Conference in Asia is back”

-UX+ Conference

Last September, I attended UX+ Conference via live stream with an audience from around the world. It was filled with valuable insights, stories, and advice from amazing speakers.

Here are some key takeaways that I think worth remembering.

1. How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

One of the key speakers that I’m looking forward to is John Zeratsky. He is the author of the Sprint and Make Time. This is not your typical Sprint from Agile Development. Basically, the goal of Sprint is to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days.

John walks through the process of facilitating a design sprint. You’ll map out the problem, ideate on and choose the best solutions, build a quick prototype of the product, and test the solution to a bunch of customers.

For instance, Monday is for mapping out the problem and gather the team to be on the same page. On Tuesday, you’ll come up with solutions. Wednesday is for critique of each solution, and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving your long-term goal. Thursday is for creating a Prototype then on Friday, you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype.

It’s a game changer for some startups implementing the Sprint and one I know is AJ&Smart. They transform their agency to serve the Sprint method and they never looked back.

2.  Avoid Unintended Consequences

“Your scientist were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

-Ian Malcom

Most of the time, we think of creating solutions to a certain problem without considering the unintended consequences or not thinking beyond the thing that we’re making.

Sheryl Cababa framed the consequences by telling the story of Jurassic Park (The first movie) because you know, scientist would like to re-create the dinosaurs in the modern day by using the fossil found in an amber.

Technically the premise is that, scientist asking the question of “can we?” and not the question of “should we?” – and *spoiler*, the movie ended up with dinosaurs destroying the park.

What does this have to do with tech? Sheryl talk about the three principles for avoiding the unintended consequences of our design work.

  1. Acknowledge that your tech is not neutral.
  2. Know your values and stick to them.
  3. Design for outcomes: think beyond the direct benefit of use.
One of Sheryl Cababa’s slide

We shouldn’t just think about the outcome for our business, but we should also think about the outcome for society.

3. Managing Teams

Managing a team is hard. I mean, really hard. I used to manage a development team with different personalities and different skill set. Julie Zhuo talks about the importance of developing trusting relationships between managers and the team.

Trust, Empathy and Open Communication are a few factors of nurturing the team and can help build good relationships.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

-Helen Keller

Julie reminds that you as a manager, your role is to guide the team to see the end goal and what success looks like. Making sure each one of the team member is contributing values to organization or business’ success based on their skills and helping them to leverage their talents. Be willing to listen and to understand.

I remember the article that I read from Medium: I Change Bosses Like I Change Underwear – The article is completely resonate with Zhuo’s talk. Some thoughts that worth mentioning from the article are:

Leaders trust teams because there are more than one leader in the team — nobody is aware of that fact, though. People will do the right thing if you trust them and let them make decisions, while holding them accountable.

“When you’re not trying to be important you behave differently towards others. You go from “how do I make this initiative at work help me look good” to “how do we achieve this initiative.” See the contrast? The need to feel important changes how you act, and therefore, how you achieve outcomes.”

The biggest lesson I ever learned as a leader was to create more leaders. Having more leaders in a team helps you save time. When you need a day off to deal with a massive romantic breakup, the other leaders step in.

I am fortunate that throughout my career, I never had insecure bosses, who want to feel important, always right, and other factors that make a boss – bad.

The bosses that I currently have and the previous ones were full of values, nurturing people, sharing their stories, and serving others – and that, I learned from them.

And That’s it!

UX+ Conference gathered amazing leaders and speakers. I would like to thank Moxie Labs for the opportunity to be part of this event. It is sure worth it.

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