So You Want To Innovate

innovate!

 

“Only 1 in 500 patents makes its inventor money, and businesses are awash in great ideas of dubious market value (only about 4% make money)”

Continue reading

Omnigraffle Vs Adobe Illustrator

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 00.02.24

Spot the difference (click for bigger view)

When Veerle Duoh tweeted about her Cityscape tutorial done in Adobe Illustrator, I just knew I had to try it, in Omnigraffle.

I began using Omnigraffle in a UX role for wireframing. After getting comfortable with it, I started to see the potential and decided to give illustrating a go. I did try to learn Adobe illustrator every now and then, but I kept going back to ‘Graffle.

Continue reading

A Design Conversation with John Maeda

IMG_7940

John Maeda is a design partner at KPCB, a VC firm in Silicon Valley with Google and Amazon in their portfolio. It was an honor to hear him speak live about design and hybrids. Big thanks to Poptech for organizing for free and Patrizia of Legoviews for sharing the event.

Continue reading

Storymaking For a Better User Experience

image (2)

Stories are great, we all love a good one. Storytelling is useful in helping us connect with others, companies and brands. We can enhance this by co-creating stories using StoryMaking methods.

“StoryMaking is the engagement in creation of a story with one or more people”

Continue reading

Support a Woman in Tech platform today.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 19.11.23

Platforms for Women

I know too well the challenges that arise in being a minority in a minority in a minority, and I only started to experience this a couple of years ago. It is one of the reasons I try to support organizations that cater to marginalized groups.

Continue reading

8 Things to do after celebrating International Woman’s Day

I celebrate International Women’s Day, (official day was yesterday) When I think of the day, I think of my mum, motherhood, the uniqueness of being woman. Anyone can be a scientist, designer, football player, but that unique ability to be bearer of the world, life, should be most celebrated!

With that in mind, I’ll share some things that have made my celebration much more significant. Things I’ve learned from women who have inspired me like my mother. Things I share with friends, things that any woman should try to incorporate in her daily life, things that take you from merely existing to living a life that’s truly yours.

8 ways to spruce up your life!

Learn from smarter peopleGo after people who are in the place you want to get to, find a way, send them a mail, or read more about them. Find mentors who will not only guide you, but also sponsor you and blow your trumpet.

Practice kindness everyday – It’s a daily struggle, I get, but the more you do something the more it starts to become who you are. Practice kindness by forgiving yourself first for not being  the epitome of perfection. Look to others with eyes of grace, the more you do it, the better you become. I have failed so many times, but today and tomorrow hold opportunities to try again. Make a conscious effort, plan to be kind to everyone you meet.

“Funny thing about change, though. It works a lot better if it comes from a place of kindness than from judgement”

Read smart and Read wide – I just received 14 books at a go from a friend, it made me really happy because the books were some of what I wouldn’t have picked up myself. Try to go beyond what you’d pick up by default, there’s something to be learned in most things. Now if you aren’t connecting with a book, best to drop it and find something else, life is too short to stay reading a book without joy.

Cultivate strong friendships – Think of those you have around you, can you really call them friends? how do you affect their lives, how do they affect yours? make a decision to care a bit more, ask a bit more, share a bit more and grow this garden of love.

Stay curious and Take risks – Wonder, Wander, ask questions, talk to yourself, think by yourself, let your brain work, try to really see things and don’t loose the ability to get excited by life. That business you always wanted to run? That crowd you’ve always wanted to speak to, that job you want to leave? That house you want to build? That career? Do it.

Keep an Idea Bank – I have so many books because I have to grab the nearest thing to write down what I’m thinking but I do have some challenge with it as I described in wearable tech for introverted intuitives Having the bank shows me where my passions lie and also helps keep my brain fresh as I put down ideas, more come to the fore.

Share Your Knowledge – It’s never enough to just keep learning, you must process and give back, thats how any healthy ecosystem works. In teaching or sharing, you will gain even more, just imagine the cogs of your brain turning, care enough to share.

Write! – The reason I write is myriad but one thing it helps me do at the same time is think, organize my thoughts, share knowledge and teach myself. You can do it too.

Design Management Lessons from Carlo’s Bakery

203626799_0a024bc6e3_z

Cakes and Design, a winning combo? Yes! I found out recently that my favorite TV shows are reality shows where there’s some form of creation and/or competition like Cake Boss and Next Great Baker. At first it was all about passing time, entertainment and cakes, then I noticed the design process was similar to what we do on projects in the digital space.

There were a few points I picked up in the process which will be helpful on any design project. Enjoy.

Have Client Conversations

You will get all kinds of clients, aim to have a relaxed friendly conversation no matter how ‘corporate’ they seem. Very often this turns into some sort of battle where you have to get on the defensive but clients go to you because they trust your abilities or want to trust you, show them they are before the right person.

Meet in a comfortable place, ask about their vision, feedback on the spot with ideas. Your expertise should be what takes the conversation forward.

Share the Vision

For leaders, be honest. If it’s going to be a gigantic cake, if it’s something you have never handled before, tell them. Let your people buy into it and push themselves to achieve it.

For those who are led, if you still don’t get it, ask questions.

Sketch or Prototype the Ideas

When I saw the lo-fi sketches and 3D animations, I smiled because this is a no brainer. A good designer thinks visually and a part of that is being able to communicate the ideas in mind. It also enhances collaboration and helps one figure out what could or isn’t working. Paper and pen is all you need.

Building the Idea starts with Building the right team

After the high level vision and ideas have been shared, it is important to break up the goal in chunks that can be handled by every member of team, depending on the scale of the project. In the Bakery, everyone is known to be excellent in particular areas, and they are called to handle that area especially where there’s a large piece of work to be done.

Again, it is very important that everyone sticks to their strengths – a live client project with constraints is not the place to start learning, let the tasks be assigned according to what the individuals are good at.

Call in the Experts

“Sometimes you have to go outside your field of study to find the right people.” – Temple Grandin

You might be a design or baking expert, but it’s important to acknowledge you don’t know all things. The bakery has a number of relationships with experts in other fields outside bakery that help them achieve their goals. One time they even had to bake the cake in the FX expert’s workshop! Designers must form such relationships with others. Collaboration outside of the team is very important for excellent work.

Have Some Fun

“No matter what the recipe, any baker can do wonders in the kitchen with some good ingredients and an upbeat attitude!” – Buddy Valastro

Yes it’s work, but like Temple Grandin said, “my work is fun”. Remember to remember that design is fun, you are creating things into the world that never existed before, c’mon, have a laugh! 😀

Panic be Gone!

IMG_6327

Ewww. Every now and then, there’s a disaster at the bakery. Someone might have done some shoddy work or the cake melts faster than they can deliver. The number one thing they do is curb panic. The leader, Buddy makes them understand it’s not about ‘you’ Think of the work, think of what can be done to rectify the situation. No time for blame games or hysterics.

It’s a bad thing to do work that is below par, it becomes disastrous when you can’t see what is wrong. Leave ego at home.

Details & Delivery

Details in design cannot be overemphasised, it is what separates brands, products and services, though they might be offering the same things. Everyone on the team needs to know how important this is. Sloppy fondant work for example, can destroy a well baked cake.

Delivery is very important, what happens if attention is not paid to this and the beautiful cake is damaged right before the client’s eyes? Let the details in your work be end to end. Have no rest until the cake is firmly lodged in your client’s stomach.

Leaders Lead by Example

Buddy is the clear leader of Carlo’s Bakery, but he is the type of leader who is hands-on which I like. Because design is a practical thing, It’s great to know you have a leader who can fold up their sleeve and get to work.

Stay Challenged

Carlo’s Bakery constantly tries to push the boundaries, baking bigger and more complex cakes. They take on these challenges from clients because it is important for imagination, to build skill and the team. It also exposes the cracks and helps you make provision for training etc.

Eat Cake.

Everyone I know likes cake, so why not get some to celebrate the end of project. Your team will like you, I promise.

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”

– Buddy Valastro