Companies often tout their “culture” as a reason to you should consider working there, but often what they pass off as culture amounts to little more than a foosball table and free snacks. In this excerpt from Creative Culture, Justin Dauer draws direct connections between an organizations’ true culture and the design work that it does.
Ever find solutions before you find the problems? In this excerpt from The Jobs To Be Done Playbook, Jim Kalbach gives some advice on aligning innovation to customer needs, including creating a jobs-driven roadmap and using job stories to solve specific design problems.
As creative professionals, we might see ourselves as the hero of our work’s story. But this can make feedback—an inevitable part of our work—seem like the villain. Learn how to reframe your relationship to your biggest nemesis. Make feedback your trusted sidekick instead.
People act in ways that make sense to them; if it doesn’t make sense to you, then you’re missing something. Recognizing our belief bubbles is the first step to holding our assumptions loosely, getting out of our own way, and improving communication with others, as we see in this excerpt from Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray.
When a designer becomes known for a certain look or style, it could be a sign that they’re held in thrall by something in their own personality or individual life experience. Matt Griffin reminds us that design is a service intended to be tailored to the client. To best meet the project’s and the client’s needs, recognize when you’re hanging on to a limited selection of personal design tropes.
There’s merit to keeping your small business nimble by keeping process to a minimum. But even in the tiniest one- or two-person operation, it’s plain that not all business tasks are improved by being hand-crafted. Rachel Andrew powers through business routines with checklists that free her mind for more compelling things. Remove friction from the rote tasks, so you can be at your best for the creative work that can only be done you.
The web operates in ways that can conflict with our traditional view of what a “story” is. Content is chunked, mixed, and spread across channels, devices, and formats. How do we understand story lines, characters, interactions, and the role of the audience, given this information sprawl? Cue nonlinear narratives—Senongo Akpem guides us past basic “scrolly-telling” to immersive, sometimes surprising experiences.
The best person to mentor junior developers turns out to be: you. Mentoring can be a powerful tool for guiding and nurturing new hires, but it also benefits you—and your organization—by encouraging collaboration and curiosity in your everyday work. Alice Mottola offers guidance (and a little agile structure) for approaching the mentoring process—and shows how it can build better code and better engineers.
Partners in a small, close leadership team—such as in a family business—often know each other’s minds very well, and agree on most things. That’s great to keep things running smoothly (though sometimes there’s awkwardness when business disagreements intrude on home life). On the other hand, it can also lead to stagnation. Rachel Andrew is finding that an outsider’s perspective can help when partners can’t quite see eye to eye—or when they agree too much.
Specialists? Generalists? It’s not a question of which is better, but about finding the right mix for your team and your work. Specialists offer valuable expertise, but over-reliance on specialization isn’t always good for workflow—too many niches can lead to silos, bottlenecks, and poor communication. Garin Evans recommends that, instead, we build teams that play off the best traits of specialists and generalists, encouraging collaboration and innovation as we go.