Have you eaten?

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Facetimed my momma this morning and her words reminded me of this post I wrote in 2017. It is love in 3 words.

*****

Gring gring, Gring gring

Voice groggy as usual

“Hello mummy, good morning”

“How are you today”

“I’m fine”

“Have you eaten?”

Looks at the time, 10:30

“It’s almost 12”

“No, it’s just to 11, I’m going to the kitchen now”

“ok, yes, eat something o, don’t leave it too late, wanted to hear your voice, talk later, bye”

“thank you, bye”

Typical conversation with my mum these critical days. I admit that the me of a year ago would not have appreciated this as much as I do now, many Nigerians can relate.

Have you eaten?

There’s so much love packed into that question so when it hit me some months ago, I almost beat myself for not realising sooner. No, no I don’t expect this question from everyone, in fact it doesn’t occur to some people (like me) to ask this. I’m typically more concerned with someones non-physical state, and unfortunately over the years I expected everyone who loved me to be as concerned with this aspect. Thankfully I’ve been learning how to appreciate everyone’s unique gift.

That said, we were created as multidimensional beings, with a physical nature, a spiritual and moral (metaphysical) nature. It’s nice to know that while one person cannot meet all our needs in those dimensions, God who created us, can! The Bible is not just concerned with the spiritual, it mentions actual physical food over 300 times but it starts off with God providing food for all.

Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Some other interesting things to note is how God provided manna and quail for the Israelites, Angel’s food it says! straight from heaven, amazing.

Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day

The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

 

Honey wafers! gimme!

Psalm 78:25 Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.

 

Also, God asked an angel to cook food for Elijah when the man was on the verge of depression and wanted God to take his life, sometimes not therapy, sometimes food and sleep!

I Kings 19:1–9 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

 

And then Jesus, feeding thousands with bread and fish and also making breakfast for this disciples, one lovely morning after his resurrection, no he wasn’t just a spirit he had an actual body, I mean if spirit cook food for you, you go chop?

John 21 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them — fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.

“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said.

 

It’s not just to human beings, God provides food for all creatures. It’s such a lovely lovely thing, and I’m super glad for all those who provide food, from the farmers to the people who give. I have two friends I can name who give me food! I should have married you guys hehe.

****

I just realized in reflection on this in 2020 that God in infinite mercy gave me a man who gives me food…I just can’t even….

And yes, I’m going to eat right now! ^_^

Being BROWN in tech

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Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

Often times working in tech has seemed like I stumbled into a boarding school for white boys with the odd tyrannical headmaster. But it wasn’t always so.

Expectations

I left Nigeria in my early twenties to pursue a dream of becoming a holistic designer in the UK. All I wanted to do was apply my skills for the benefit of mankind. I did not think there would be other things to consider other than doing my work well. I also never planned to work in the UK, much less work in technology.

So when I finished with design school and began working, believing the system was at least 80% meritocratic, I threw myself into it.

Reality

I discovered systematic racism and sexism at the same time I discovered the realities of work in the UK and my struggle with anxiety disorders.

It started with simple statements, the admission of my boss that a man had applied for my role demanding double my salary, the audacity, I had thought. (In my next role I asked for double my previous salary and got it). To another boss telling me in very clear terms that he couldn’t give me more responsibility when I asked for it because it was not expected. They also seemed to think my work was great but thought I needed to be more social, which meant I had to show up at the pub at least 3 times every week. I got to learn that cultural fit generally meant you had to fit in the pub.

The reality was, I was a minority of minorities, a woman, black, Nigerian, expat “Your accent might make people think you are backward” someone told me recently. Still, I’ve managed to find work but I never understood I had to work 4-6 times as hard as a white man with the same qualifications and experience ( I never did this extra work though lol).

Now, I find that it’s easy for me to recognise sexism, because I’ve always been a woman, but I haven’t always been black.

In my last permanent role where I was chastised for wearing headphones and my white male colleagues weren’t amongst other nonsense, I experienced my first clear cut racist experience and sought legal advice advice afterwards. Once, I was sat in a room with a team of 8, working, and one of them makes a statement “Africans do this terrible XYZ thing”, being one who is unable to shut up when I see things that are wrong and the only African, I told him to be careful of his statements. He had asked the silly question of whether I spoke African some days before this, which I shrugged off. It certainly didn’t make me popular and I resigned shortly after.

Solutions

Having learned all this, I began to see how much of a distraction racism, sexism and most -isms are. I talked to some other black women and their stories made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this but also made me want to help others much more. These points below helped me navigate the workplace and I hope it helps too.

Faith – You need to believe in something greater than yourself. You cannot place your core identity in something that changes like a job or career, it will kill you. Your core identity which is where you will draw strength from especially in times of hardship must be in something that is unchangeable and unshakable and that’s only God. That I am loved no matter beyond measure is enough for me.

Do the Work – Keep your head down, hone your skills and do your work, please see Serena Williams as reference. I cannot stress the importance of this, please don’t get distracted, the technology industry changes very fast, keep your skills up to date and just keep moving.

Other things:

  • Find a mentor
  • Find a support system
  • Learn to speak up

It is important that we don’t set limits for ourselves, because only then can we rise and start to affect change from positions of influence. We need to love our enemies like Jesus said, seek allies and support from anyone genuinely willing to help.

2020

I wrote this piece in 2015 ( can’t remember why I didn’t post it) although I’m no longer ‘active’ in the tech space, I’m sad that we are still facing these issues but glad that some change has happened along the way. It’s good to see more brown folk in tech, diversity schemes all over the place, lots of conversations and people really pushing forward (Well done to all who do the work!)

I’ve taken my skills elsewhere and I am discovering more things I love to do along the way, like nannying!. I still do not tolerate hate/injustice and will continue to speak up about and delight in what is true.

The Hope

I’m thinking,

Why are we afraid?

What is it you fear, mother?

Why am I afraid?

Isn’t it eternity that matters?

Everyone destined to vacate this home

Why are we afraid?

If we have a forever with Father, what can be better?

If Father has always kept His promise, won’t He keep this?

Why are you afraid?

Soul, Hope in your Lord.

 

Psalm 42:11

2 Peter 1:1-11

 

Holding the MBTI loosely

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A popular topic on my blog is the MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which tries to explain certain aspects of our personality. I saw a conversation which mentioned it was ‘Old school’ funny.

When I learned about and took the MBTI in 2010 while at university, it was like wow, here was a description that fit me to the T. 90% of the time when I take the test, I report INFJ. It explained some of the inner workings of my mind, how I took in and processed information. It explained the discomfort I felt towing the line between your typical introvert and extraverted types – I wanted to be alone with my thoughts but still sought out people.  My interests and likes being very broad and seemingly never being able to fit in with a particular group, I was always looking for my ‘tribe’.

The MBTI instrument is good, but it is not the good. I would apply this is to any so called personality type tests. They do not have the final say on who we are, on who we shape ourselves to be everyday. This is because there are two important things that matter in our world that the MBTI cannot account for.

1. Our motivations, our will

2. Subsequent behavior and how we relate to the world around us ( esp the living things)

This was when I realized that we needed something truly transformative not merely descriptive. We can’t rely on the descriptions because we change, because they can be self fulfilling, this must be the way I am, so what? what does it mean for the next person?, does it mean you cannot change if there is a negative element?’

This is why I find the truth of God’s word important to hold strongly on to.

  1. We are all made equal, have the same worth and value regardless of what we do or not do. (Genesis 1:26-30)
  2. Our will and motivations are prone to corruption so we need a new source to fuel it (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23)
  3. Love is the only viable source for our will and motivations – Love for God and our neighbours. (Matthew 22:36-40)
  4. God has made a way so we can have a new spirit and a new heart through Jesus manifesting in the flesh (Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:5)
  5. These will lead us to act in ways that seek the good for people and give God the glory deserved. (Romans 12)

Beautiful!

I’ve recently done a refresher on what the MBTI type dynamics are and yes, INFJ still holds true in many ways but what is most important is that I can praise the Lord for making me who I am, and that I can love others through the unique way God has made me! Amen!

 

To the One who sits…

It’s a very tough time for me, my family and in praying for encouragement, I got a notification in Medium about a post I had written in 2016. It was a vision/dream – can’t remember, that I had at the time of how I was feeling. It was a very vivid picture and Since 2016, this is the first time I have felt like myself in that image. So the encouragement God led me to write about has come in handy for today! God’s word is always relevant.

This is the post, and I hope someone finds strength today in the timeless words of God.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

For the first time in my life, I can see the bottom of my heart. I feel the depth, hollowed out like a secret place inside a cave. Down there I see two seats, there’s only space for two seats.

I see myself sat, in the dark – the bottom of the heart is a very dark place.
Who is supposed to sit here with me?, I ask myself. I look around and summon, my mother, Mum? Mum?…my siblings, “we are sitting too”, they reply. My friends, “We don’t know how to get there” the lover, “I’m tired of looking”

Catastrophic waves of tears begin to flood the depths. Glad I learned to swim but those skills don’t apply here. Then I remember there’s someone I haven’t asked. My eyes close, my head bowed as the tears threaten to choke me.

A shining light and the presence of someone near, who sits. I open my eyes and realize as the light begins to dry the tears, only One can sit here, only One can shine light into the dark, only One knows the way to the bottom of my heart.

Sometimes the tears come and threaten to flood but because the One who walked on water sits with me, I sit, joyful, grateful, never alone.

Psalm 69…

“Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying;
My throat is dry;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Matt 28:20

I am with you always

Enjoy this wonderful song by Jars of Clay – Flood.

Be a neighbour.

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“It’s like Christmas!” My husband said, surprised at the box of groceries he had just collected from a lady at the door. Last year I wrote a piece on Medium for the publication called Koinonia. In it I expressed what I had learned about
the friendship that matters from my first experience going through cancer treatment. I learned that Jesus doesn’t call us to ask who our neighbours (friends) are instead we ought to live ready for and look for opportunities to be a neighbour (friend) to others.

There’s no better time to start than now, the entire world has been thrown into turmoil. A terrorist no one can see, smell or hear is dispatching members of our human family to the beyond. There’s fear, there is anxiety. We who know the greatest neighbour are uniquely placed to offer the same arm of love, of comfort to those who need it.

I am one of those classified as most vulnerable, which means no matter what, I have to avoid physical contact therefore I’m grateful for those who have truly been a neighbour to me. Dear husband, my Aunty who takes care of my mum, my family who pray, ladies from my church group who have gone to lengths to find grocery for us, people on my street where we live on standby to help when I need it, the health care workers who are doing whatever it takes to make sure I get my treatments on time as the growing cells will not wait for corona.

So, I leave my communication lines open for anyone needing a chat, needing words of encouragement, needing financial support for essentials like food and toiletries, do reach out.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ~ Num 6:24-26

Amen.

 

Love is a pot of beans.

Beans are a staple in the typical Nigerian household. It is a dependable meal packed full of nutrients, proteins and much more. We tend to use the variety called Ewa Oloyin “Honey beans” it’s tasty without you needing to do much. It’s great for winter days, eating it warm feels like a hug from the inside out but one thing I do not expect beans to do is – make me cry.

I was wrapped tightly under my sherpa taupe blanket, under a duvet in bed but I heard him call out to me. Slowly I opened my eyes and saw my Mr ready to go out for work. I had woken 4 hrs earlier and managed to go back to sleep but I was still feeling heavy-headed. “Don’t bring back any virus” I joked as if drunk, after prayer and a hug, he was off.

20 minutes later, I got out of bed to start my day proper. Wore my favorite housecoat and headed to the living room for sunlight and daily bread. Next, I got on my computer to help a friend figure something out in digital design. Soon hunger struck and I went to the kitchen, that’s when I saw it.

It’s the sort of thing I cannot explain, but tears flooded my eyes, my heart became large and full, humbled by the sight of a pot of beans – warm, brown, delicious, on the stove. Where did he find the time? I thought, wiping tears on the sleeve of the housecoat he bought me.

 

Global Talent Visa: A Lifeline

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5 years ago ^_^

When I first came to the UK, I had one thing in mind, learn how to become a great designer. I even started this blog to document those learnings. Soon after, it became home and where I developed as an adult, totally responsible for my own choices, paths and bills.

5 years ago I had to leave a toxic job which was sponsoring my visa (Tier 2) and it felt like falling into a black hole, anxieties and poor health followed, I needed a way out. Going back to Nigeria was an option but I didn’t want to give in easily after building 6 years of adult life here. So with nothing to lose I applied for the UK’s exceptional talent visa. Nothing could prepare me for what was ahead but this visa was a turning point of sorts.

Before applying one might have asked, what makes me exceptional? “Good thing they changed the name” one applicant said, “thought I might have had to cure cancer first” I had done a few things in my career and the tech community but I was passionate and ambitious, I looked forward to running businesses and doing work for women in technology and so forth.

When I got the visa in December 2015 it felt like freedom, (Snapshot from 2014 about life as an immigrant: Don’t talk about immigration on the tube ) I immediately registered a business and was on track to pursuing my ambitions, got a nice contract job and things could not be better. But I had my world crash when my father passed in 2016, I will forever be grateful that I could afford to get on a plane with short notice and finance to get to my dad a day before he would slip into a forever coma, I got to speak to him and he saw me. I was unable to work for many months after that, before getting a similar diagnosis to what killed him and my world kept tumbling.

Thanks be to God who pulls me through all of this and made the visa possible, because I can’t even imagine what it would have been like dealing with poor mental and physical health then struggling to get a job that would sponsor me or burdening my family with medical costs we won’t be able to afford. God continues to be my rock as my priorities change and I walk through these times slowly, doing life one day at a time but thankfully no longer needing visas.

So if you are thinking of applying, just do it, feel free to contact me if any question.

UK’s Global Talent Visa

No this is not propaganda for the UK, this is the reality of life as an immigrant, one they are not likely to show in their promotion. It’s not just about ambitions, financial or economic prosperity, sometimes it is real hard living, no health, no wealth. Life can be broken and rocked in minutes, so these visas can become a lifeline you never thought you needed.

 

Coping with Misophonia at Home

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Home. That place where the heart is, that place meant to be a safe haven from the world, oh how torturous it could be. Even with the loveliest people around, for those of us with misophonia, home can still be a battleground for our health.

One of the popular posts on my blog is Coping with Misophonia at work. Now that I no longer work full time and in an office, I thought to write about what is common to most people.

In the past year I moved 3 times, the plan was to move once, then marriage happened, but noise happened first and I ended up moving 2 additional times. It was such a difficult period.

The Challenge

We finally settled in a place we both like very much only to find we are directly under two flight paths to the busiest airports in London, ouch. I did check but the flights didnt appear regular or low enough for concern, I thought! Not only that, the street was busier than it seemed when we viewed. I am grateful that my husband hardly has any bodily noise that gets to me, but he has a tendency to sibilate, emphazing Cs, S, Zs,T s which threaten to burst my ear drum. The other major noise disturbance is handling crockery.

How have I coped so far?

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (Bible)

So I’m faced with planes flying over my head at 4:30 am at about 5,000ft, children screaming their heads off from the nearby school (why do they have to scream to play?)

What do I do, how do I find rest?

Pray –

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:6-7 (Bible)

The first and foremost thing I found was to cultivate a quiet spirit within. Prayer helps, it reminds me that I don’t live for myself, it reminds me that I am dependent on the Almighty for everything including the ear (grateful!) I have to hear all these sounds. I’m reminded to pray for others. The brilliant thing as well, it tempers my response to noises I don’t like, rather than having an anxiety induced response, I have a solution finding attitude.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (Bible)

Play Music / Ambient sounds –

“Rejoice always!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

This helps me block out noise in the day time, especially when the children are on lunch break. The best thing about it is I absolutely love music, and armed with loads and loads of good music from Spotify, it is a delight. Please don’t become the noisy neigbour by playing sounds so loud, lol.

Focus on the Positives / Gratitude-thinking –

What you focus on makes a big difference. I have to intentionally remind myself that I love my partner, I love my house, I love children and I love airplanes above all the noise. When I am occupied, especially with those I love being with/doing – writing, reading, designing a thing, all the noise in the backgound fades away.

Don’t bottle feelings, explain, suggest-

I’m so thankful that I’ve been gifted with an understanding life partner so I am frequently (if you ask him maybe he’d say once a week) talking about how the noise affects me and what we can do to reduce or minimize it.

If he is washing dishes, he tries to do it when I’m awake and active so it doesn’t throw me out of sleep. When eating he is careful but ofcourse makes mistakes which I need to be forgiving about. I’m looking at buying more wooden crockery so that there isn’t so much noise. His sibilation mostly occurs when he is explaining something on the phone so when he works from home, we do it in seperate rooms!

Support Others

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important we don’t then become the ones creating noise for others. When someone speaks up about something I’m doing that is noisy, I have to listen seriously and change, including my husband ( kakaka!).

When we first moved and I was stressing about the airplane noise, I found there was a body of people who are fighting against the expansion of the airports which means more planes at more hours. I joined to sign the petition and support in the work. I might be able to up and leave the area but many can’t. So we need not just focus on how noise affects us alone but also look to see how we can support the community at large.

 

All in all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to self-reflect, to be grateful for what I do have. These are a few things that have helped tremendously. I hardly hear the planes cruising by these days unless it is really quiet and I think about it! funny how that works.

I know we are all different but I’m keen on learning from others, feel free to share any tips in comments.

Much love!

This is a great Valentine gift

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It’s almost that day in February, great! perfect time to get yourself or your loved one a gift that really counts. It doesn’t come in red but it’s got real weight.

I was given this devotional in hardback by Glen Scrivener by my church home group as I moved away from the local area. It would take me another year to really get into it, it was intimidating, duh! when I finally did I felt so happy I had clung to it, I take gifts seriously.

I had heard Glen talk at my church once, but didn’t quite ‘trust’ the name yet but this devotional made me pay attention, no not to Glen, but to who he was writing about. It is very clear that this devotional is centered on the person of Jesus and it never lets you forget, thus changing the way you approach scripture for yourself. We need to be completely taken by Jesus.

A wonderful review on Goodreads says

“A fantastic daily devotional that helped me to appreciate the love of Christ afresh every morning. Glen gives some fantastic illustrations throughout while teaching through the message of the Bible. It is also very interesting to see just how many phrases have remained in everyday British language over time.”

Spot on.

Try it for yourself (I’ll recommend the Kindle version though ^_^ )

Enjoy.

 

10 things for 10 years

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Oh hey! it’s a new decade! As one looks forward we also look back, not to remain in the past but to appreciate and learn, hindsight is 2020 😀

I’m still writing

This blog is 10 years old, yes, my first posts documented something of my life on a Masters of design course and discovering the MBTI which I no longer hold on to as I did then.

I’ve read a few things I wrote over the years and I could pat myself on the back for some, others make me grateful for the opportunity to mature. I’m still very much about design but priorities have changed. Who I am is way more important than what I do, that’s what will reflect in my writing now.

Design is my thing but there’s more

I have been privileged to practice design in the digital sector for 10 years. I’ve been a Service Designer, UX consultant, Illustrator, UX designer, architect, researcher etc then I realized that titles aren’t it, I need to focus on my skill set and how it could be applied in many other areas. So I decided to take a break, focus on my health and apply my skills to an area of passion, caring for other people – person to person.

I’ve gone from wanting to save the world with design to focusing on my neighbourhood – one person at a time. This is where I am finding the greatest needs and fulfilment.

My permanent home is now UK

It feels like 2 years ago when I picked up my red suitcase and got on a British Airways flight straight to London. 10 years gone and there is a relief to no longer being subject to immigration control. I did not know at the time that this would be where I call home but God had plans.

My Family has changed

Papa died and it rocked my world. There is nothing to prepare you for such, that was my first heartbreak and it broke my body too and my mums. Things will never be the same again.

On the upside, I now have 6 nieces and 1 nephew, so awesome, I love them all. I got a new family! with 5 nephews and 2 nieces (in-law) and they all love me, hee hee.

My Body has changed

I used to think I had a masculine figure growing up, sometimes I was glad, sometimes I wasn’t, the main thing was, I didn’t want to be skinny. When the big C came along my weight plummeted to 43kg or so, shocking. When I got on the mend, I appreciated my womanly figure more which is strange for someone who has 1 and a half boob and for the first time in history I’m at a healthy 60.

Marriage actually happened

Can you imagine, I wrote the husband in his notebook at 17 –

“…you have a good heart and someday you will meet a wonderful woman and you would make a wonderful husband lol, sometimes I say it is a pity we are mates”

Such dolts! We found each other again 10 years after leaving university and my stomach just buzzes thinking of what we share. Still, every day I wake up and cannot believe it is my reality, such an awesome out-of-nowhere thang.

Relationships evolve, without me.

I’m grateful for the many who have come alongside me over the years but it continues to be a sore point for me after learning about myself and much prayer. I think my main struggle is with my expectations and learning to let go of them. 10 years later I still don’t feel closer to most people, how the heck did I get married, I didn’t even date, haha, he is special indeed. I look forward to breakthroughs in the next ten.

I’m not rich but I’ve never been broke

Learning how to manage money living in London is no small feat. After the year of grace as a student I was left to fend for myself so it was about survival. I’m grateful that God provided for me whenever I needed it.  But I did some outrageous things in trying to save money like, taking a bus for an hour then walking 20mins from the station home to avoid tube fares and leaving a man behind so I could jump on the train home before peak time. ah.

Now I’m able to provide for others and if I wanted to stop work for 2 years, I can actually do it and to be honest, I deserve that break.

Got to travel the world

While I saved money, travel was my biggest pleasure. I took my passport and went through all the stress of applying for visas. The US even rejected me twice but here I am, got to visit 10+ states and visited 10+ countries. I do love travelling in the USA, Turkey was a surprise, Italy is a fave. Learned I’m no good at solo trips and had the blast of my life in a small town in Florida.

My belief and trust in God is true

When I got on the plane to the UK with that red suitcase, I was super glad I was heading to what I thought was a secular country, I was looking forward to not going to church. But God, in infinite humour, decided to make sure that the family that would pick me up from the airport would invite me to a bible study that I couldn’t say no to.

10 years later, I’ve been through the mill, God has been gracious and patient with me, breaking down the hardness of my heart, gifting me with a Spirit that counsels, comforts and reminds me of God’s great love. I’ve seen it and can testify, Jesus is Saviour and King indeed. There’s really nowhere else to go. If this God isn’t the truth, nothing else is.

G   R  A  T  E  F  U  L  !

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♥♥ Welcome! 2020 ♥♥

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A Son for All.

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There was no way to tell how I would feel when the day to remember my father’s passing arrived. My heart was already torn from the fact that I wouldn’t be able to travel to Nigeria for the occasion. I found myself in my uncle’s house, after praying and reminiscing, I stumbled on a set of words, which captured my thoughts succinctly.

 Ibi gbogbo nii rọ àdàbà l’ọ́rùn

In English, it means, “Everywhere is comfortable for the dove” ah, Daddy. The epitome of a gentle, honest, selfless spirit. There was no restlessness about him and I found myself searching for this in many, in men. Even now as tears threaten to fall, unbelievable the years gone by, our last Christmas together — I remember his encouragement, his love, he had my name saved in his phone as ‘Writer’ I would come to know this only a few months after he died. How could I not, between him and God, the call is certain.

Most importantly, he knew the truth of the gospel; that humanity is saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ, in God not by works or following any rule book, what joy, what comfort. Rejoice, Rejoice.

For God soooo loved the world that He Gave His only Son that Whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have life, everlasting

Merry Christmas 🙂

Losing my hair was the fun part

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It was in October I first felt it, lying in bed leisurely, the promos and ads work I guess. No panic though because the last time I found one it was a cyst, phew almost scared me. October was exactly 6 months since I called my parents and before I’d speak to my father, tears were streaming down my face and I didn’t know why.

My father died in June and was buried in the front garden of our house in Uneme-Erhunu. I flew to London shortly after and I was restless, couldn’t bear to be alone so I got on an aeroplane to the US. After celebrating my thirtieth birthday and visiting a hair supply store (as they call it), I got on a plane to London in September armed with 8 different wigs and a mannequin head thrown in, I was ready for new beginnings as if it would be that simple. In December, I made my way back to Nigeria. Anxiety had dealt with me but there were bright spots, for example, I got to see my friend get married in Lagos. With the new year in sight, I knew it was time to cut my hair again, so when the doctors told me I’d need neoadjuvant chemotherapy two months later, I couldn’t believe I had prepared for this.

The marathon took off, I’d come to quickly learn that there was more to Chemo than a glistening scalp…..yet I was glad I didn’t have to wear the Aladdin style wig that the cancer wig shop gave me, they need to stock wigs for black women (another post, sigh)…..all my hair, my teeth, my mouth, the fatigue, the sick feeling…oh my days. I became neutropenic one time which marked my lowest point, I was in hospital for 5 days, most mornings I’d wake up with blood in my mouth, on my pillow, I could not eat. I thought if this can happen on earth, I don’t want to imagine hell because this feels like the thick of it. I was wrestling.

I wrestled with my faith. I wrestled with anxiety, life, dying, God, the realness of it all.

But God chose to use this period to heal me, from anxiety, bitterness and unforgiveness, I had nothing left to hold on to. God chose this period to teach me about trusting the only eternal one who created humans and the universe out of a love so deep that God became human to redeem all of creation.

The marathon continues and I’m glad I’ve had more time since then and I do pray for more time as frightening as the statistics are. I want to encourage anyone going through tough things and even those who might have everything going well, yet you feel an emptiness inside… don’t dwell on the temporary, use the time to build for eternal, think about love, how best to love your neighbour. You are certainly not alone, Jesus, King of Kings is alongside you every single moment.

Tough times don’t last, Loved people do.

Romans 8:31-39

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Letter to a Young Lady

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My birthday was celebrated last month with the most sumptuous chocolate cake and man, then a trip to one of the loveliest parts of the country, I’m grateful. In the midst of the mooing cows and calm of the biggest natural lake I began to think about 10 years ago when I moved to another country to start a life – one I didn’t have much plans for. But I’ve learned loads along the way and would like to say a few things to those just embarking on that journey.

A letter to myself 18-23

Hey girl!

How are you, did you know you are all that and more…you really are, you have wisdom beyond your years but don’t drink your own kool-aid :). These are a few things you will find useful for life now and ahead

  • Give yourself to prayer, about every single thing, your community, your family, your schooling, your future…everything
  • I know you are are still questioning what is means to be Christian, don’t stop…an answer will come
  • Pray for Godly women to come into your life who can guide you around what it means to be a woman today. I’m sorry you didn’t get such guidance growing up, it’s not too late and you sorely need it.
  • Pray for healing and forgive, don’t let bitterness thrive in your heart
  • Drop the arrogance of youth, you don’t have all the time in the world, do what needs doing today.
  • Ask God to teach you practically what it means to love, remove your eyes from yourself, seek community and practice love there.
  • Again, you are searching for an identity that makes sense, the tools are ok (MBTI etc) but don’t get lost in them, your identity should be grounded in Christ.
  • Learn about God’s great design for marriage and family. Savour it.
  • I know you aren’t sure about marriage and family right now, and your feelings haven’t even been turned on but pray for wisdom and discernment to choose right. ( Desire to be with a man that does God’s will, every other thing can be learned over time – Proverbs 24:1)
  • Learn about your female body, your hormones, your cycle, it’s fascinating
  • Read good Christian books like Hughes’ Disciplines of a Godly woman, Keller’s Meaning of Marriage. Listen to Podcasts.
  • Immerse yourself in God’s words, be cautious about what you consume in terms of advice, lots of toxic things on google
  • Take care of your health, eat right/exercise
  • Travel if you can, get some skill in cooking, decorating, diying etc
  • Let go, you can’t force someone to love you in the right way, also love is not “I’ll do for you what you’ve done for me”
  • Your curiosity is one of your strong points, but it must have boundaries
  • Giving in to someones/your sexual needs/demands will only leave you worse of, racked with guilt and they are still likely to find someone else. God really does want to save you and your future spouse the heartache of intimacy outside true commitment. Sexual expression outside of a real life commitment has no gain.
  • Learn contentment in Christ
  • Don’t take up any old job, pick up something where you can learn the ropes and get to try a wide number of things.

No matter what you will be fine because you have a Father who never sleeps nor slumbers, One who loves you fiercely and has gone to the depths of death to bring you home.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His and only Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him will not die but will have an eternal life”

John 3:16

I love you.

Joy comes in the Mourning

June is a significant month. Not only are my closest friends born in June, it is a month that says almost! not yet!. Mid year, the spring-summer transition…Almost the end of the school term! I love the anticipation.

June is a dark month. The pits of my stomach remind me that it will forever be a month of mourning. It threatens to be a full stop where it used to be a question mark, but not yet.

Below are some of what I’ve learned as I live with the experience of losing a father through the same disease that ravaged my body months after. I do sit here 2 years later with ‘healing’ so I’m grateful to be able to share these with you

Be True to your feelings

Like the psalmist in Psalm 42 & 43, we can admit what we currently feel when we are in the trenches, in the darkest valleys.

I’ve been overwhelmed, tired, began to understand the reason for suicide, I’ve felt abandoned, left to die. I’ve felt misunderstood and even targeted. We must be honest with ourselves and before our God.

Speak Truth to your feelings

I was reminded through some people that I need to abide in God’s words, to pray based on this. My mind needed to be fed and renewed by these truths. I remember that God has been there (Heb 4:15), has suffered and gone through the motions like I have.

“Do not be afraid” God says to us many times in the bible.

I also remember that God has done something about this at the Cross and Resurrection. We will not remain in this state for ever. Whatever difficulty we go through now is temporary.

This is the Gospel. We become part of God’s family forever because of what God has done.

If I can trust God for eternal life, I can trust God for today. God will see me through this present darkness.


June is a joyful month because I’m glad the story doesn’t end with just mourning. It is the month I completed cancer treatment, had my last shot of Herceptin to my thigh.

The anticipation of life beyond, the joy of the hope of a forever union. The joy of the hope of a forever healed body. All these are becoming tangible to me as I continue to dwell on the revealed words of God according to the bible.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit

Romans 14:17.

God gave me Lemons

It’s interesting that lemons are the same letters as melons…but I digress. Today is exactly 2yrs since the dreaded C diagnosis and one thing that made me adamant about checking the strange thing I felt on my chest was this picture I somehow stumbled upon. I’m not entirely sure when but it was between Nov 2016 and early Jan 2017. I had gone to my GP in Oct 2016 but they were flippant and said perhaps it’s just hormonal changes. I knew something was up but I wasn’t panicking.

After seeing this image (mine was like the growing vein) I went to A&E because I didn’t want to go through the GP process anymore. I had done the same in 2015 when I had cysts drained and was super scared. That was when everything kicked off and Feb 20 2017 I got a definite BC diagnosis.

Phew, I’m so grateful for seeing this picture. I could have ignored things and just gone my merry way but this helped, and so many other ‘miracles’ that happened along the way. So please do go to the website KnowYourLemons.com  there is a wealth of information about BC.

One of the better outcomes about this diagnosis was I had to face my fear of death which I’d been enveloped by since I was a kid. I would have preferred not to go through this but perhaps it was the only way, sometimes it’s only when you have no where left to run that you can make that choice and for me I made the choice to trust God, knowing that while this life is temporary, there were eternal things I needed to throw my being into. Lots to unpack in this and I’ll touch on it in other ‘stories’ but for now, help yourself, help someone else, get informed!

Toodles for now ^_^

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”

– Hebrews 10:23 (The Holy Bible) –

Chemo made my teeth fall out & other stories

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Photo by Matheus Natan on Pexels.com

The day started out rainy, London-style. The kind where having an umbrella would do more harm than good. I decided to step out for my blood test with a large hooded jacket instead. After the procedure I went to get my prescription, hives, it just keeps breaking out- the blood test will bring me closer to understanding why and provide some answers for my fatigue. Still, this is 2 years after the dreaded diagnosis.

As I walk home, I’m thinking about my medical exemption I just had to present for 4.99 worth of drugs. I don’t have to pay for drugs, yay (but why is dental not free for us??). The weight of everything came crashing on me and I began to cry like the sky. The dreaded C… and just how hard it is for anyone to come close to understanding…it’s such a lonely place.

By the time I got home, I had found solace, the reasons for my gratitude came rushing in and I said some prayers to God. I am truly thankful. It was then I settled at my computer and found out that today is…

WorldCancerDay

oh wow, no wonder…I wanted to keep this post until it was perfectly ready in my head…today reminded me that the story is not for keeping. It’s been 2 years of diagnosis, tests, treatments and MRI machines (I am so fond of them now) and I still do not feel 100% ready to share, still, knowing this could help someone else is more than enough reason.

I will post (series-style) about the things I’ve learned on this journey, the stark reality and how I find the strength to go on every day

For now, do pray for those who have been affected, pray that we all get wiser to all that harms us every day. Pray for compassion and empathy to fill hearts so we don’t have to pollute our earth anymore. We are all in this together.

Cheers xx

Hey there 2019, very pleased to meet you

The way my body feels betrays the way I truly feel about getting to see a new year. I spent NYE walking miles in London just to see the fireworks. I saw some. I am ecstatic, really! 2018 was another rollercoaster year and I was actually scared of logging into WordPress because I wasn’t sure how much had changed….I would like to say I’m back to blogging regularly but first, a few things that happened in 2018 I am super grateful to God for.

I got to travel to Nigeria twice, seeing family is always a treat, and the added bonus this time is that I wasn’t bedridden! One of my sister’s got married. I got through Radiotherapy. Thankful for friends who showed up for me. I met one of the kindest souls, and got to spend Easter with her family miles away from London. Thankful for a job that has remained a source of stability through the year. I got to move home twice! yes, but I didn’t get depressed or anxious! woohoo. Thankful for docs and a system (NHS) that looks after it’s own. I reconnected with a University classmate from 15years ago…and they say history begins! hehe. Grateful my mum is stronger than I could imagine and everyday gets better.

Looking back to 2018 and I can’t even believe how my year ended. It’s been awesome, painful, thrilling, delightful, ache-filled, tears-filled, Laughter-full.

Thank you baba God.

My prayer is that 2019 will be a year that whatever we get up to, we live with the purpose to love and love alone.

Cheers xx.

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Unexpected Gifts from Grief

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2016. When they told me S’s dad had been diagnosed with abdominal cancer, I wept. He was even younger than my dad, but the same thing will take them away from their loved ones this year. 2016. Continue reading

Emotional Sensitivity is a business asset

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Every business wants to achieve flow. A state of high quality productivity that is effective and efficient. However, every business is made up of people, who get things done, this is where emotional sensitivity comes in. Continue reading

Clients From Hell: Stop Creating Them

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It’s all in memories now, but the lessons linger. Luckily only 5% or less of my projects have been hellish. However, too many of us designers moan about clients we say were born and brought up in hell.The truth is, we create a number of these issues ourselves, or the enabling environment for Frankenstein-like situations to flourish. Continue reading

The Stuff of Designers: Resilience

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The Apprentice is one of my favourite things to watch. I was a latecomer to the series, so I binge watched the previous 7 and was hooked. Although I think the current season (12) has some of the poorest candidates, I am still fascinated by watching different types of people come together to create things.

The last episode (7) ‘Boat Show’ was especially great because while I watch these things for entertainment my mind constantly searches for something to learn from it. Resilience means 3 main things and I think this episode illustrated it well.

Grow and thrive in the face of challenges

The task was to sell some luxury and cheap items, both teams wanted to sell Jet-Skis not Speedboats. So when one team, Nebula, lost out on the opportunity to sell the Jet-Ski, it was a big challenge. They also had to battle the weather which is the worst I’ve seen on this show.

Bounce back from adversity

So Nebula weren’t given the opportunity to sell the Jet-skis, and it seemed like a big setback. One of the team members was sullen and took it personally. The project manager made sure to communicate to the team that this situation should not affect the way they sold the other items. Her positive attitude motivated the team.

Bounce forward when there’s opportunity

When they got to the boardroom, I was whooping like I’d never done before, this was an amazing show of resilience because the team that suffered the setback went on to win by an immense margin. They decided to look at the opportunity that lay in the speedboats, and sold it like it was always their number one choice.

Life will not always give us what we want, but with an attitude that says, “I will look for and appreciate the opportunity that’s right in front of me” you can be sure to get very far.

Designers especially need to have this attitude, because design itself is a challenge. The first iteration might fail, it’s resilience that allows one to step forward again for another iteration, which makes design what it is.

My favorite movie about Resilience remains Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happyness. The first time I watched it, I cried for maybe 30mins afterward. You have to love the human spirit, and it’s one each and everyone of us has.

Resilience is a skill that anyone can learn, so lets all remember to have a positive, grateful attitude towards life.

Empathy Building: Mental Health Cafe

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A thing I created while swapping feelings & stories on my first day. Guess what it is 😀

“These are the final 12” She said to me pointing at her phone. I was eating lunch and I couldn’t even imagine what she meant. “Final 12 of?” I continued “Xfactor!”, she exclaimed, “final 12 on Xfactor” Oh, I went, it was only my first day at the mental health cafe. She went on to describe the contestants in detail while I asked for pictures. In the cafe, she was just another person with a particular way of communicating and the added skill of describing things in great detail, straight from memory, in the outside world she would be labelled as “handicapped”

This year has been the toughest year of my life and with suffering, it’s easy for us to disappear into ourselves. Imagine how many other people are going through the same or much worse, we end up with a society where hearts are blocked off from each other.

When I got back to London, after many days of rolling in the dark, I resolved that one of the best ways to get myself out of darkness was to reach out to others. Luckily at the same time I had been introduced to a project by a man whom I’d met and helped earlier in the year.

This project is helping people cope with some mental health challenges. While I was researching around how to connect with more people with these difficulties, I met another man who introduced me to the Dragon Cafe, a pop up mental health cafe, that opens up every Monday in Borough. I was so happy.

“The whole point, is to be a complete antithesis to your average mental health service. People like it, because there’s no pressure to do anything at all. They can sing, if they want to. They can write. They can paint. But they can also just collapse on a bean bag and snore”.

The first day was amazing. Over the course of my volunteering I came to see how many were regulars, why they come to the cafe, how it relaxes them and the friends they make. Every single person in the cafe both volunteers and guests have/had mental health challenges so it makes it easier to talk to people. I work at the art table and I get to see how much being able to ‘play’ makes people happy, free and connected.

As a UX practitioner, it was a no brainer to be amongst those I would be designing for, even though I face mental health challenges myself. As a human, I knew it made sense to be able to connect with others, to come out of oneself. For me, going there helps to build my empathy for others, to understand other perspectives like the lady I had an interesting conversation with about Xfactor,  not to be too hard on myself, to accept orders from others, to co operate with people (we pack up the cafe at night)

A wonderful announcement was made yesterday, some people from PWC will be creating a similar pop up in the City. The cafe makes so much sense and my hope is many more such cafes are created, if you aren’t too busy why not pay a visit or donate to the cause.

Cheerios xo

The Christian and Technology

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Picture from #WocinTechChat

I grew up in a world where co-existence made sense to me. My dad’s family are Muslims and my mum, Christian. I learned arabic as a kid and still like my given muslim name. My dad didn’t practice Islam, he thought truth was beyond both faiths and went into AMORC eventually finding his way to Christianity, in his late 40s.

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Becoming the face of Tech Nation Visa UK

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I cut my hair on Christmas day 2015. Partly due to a dye job gone bad and mostly to trichotillomania an anxiety disorder, this means I had pulled out almost 1/4 of my hair. It had flared up due to much stress after the summer. I needed to get the entire hair off. Continue reading

Talk, but I’ll need pen and paper.

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We used chalkboards when I was in primary school and it was fun. Our teacher would ask someone to write his notes on the board so that the rest of the class could copy. Though it wasn’t the prettiest thing to do, chalk on my head, chalk on my school uniform, I would volunteer. I not only wanted to show off my handwriting but genuinely enjoyed the process of putting down and together, words.

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Hello 2016

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Even numbers make me feel optimistic and 2016 comes with a lot of significant ones. I do know that while life always has ups and downs, 2016 will be better than the last. Continue reading

Goodbye 2015!

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Women in Tech Africa (London) End of Year Event Dec 2015 (I’m in the middle!)

 

Oh what a year it’s been. I have to say it’s one of the most challenging years I’ve had in recent times, I also lost all the weight I gained in 2014 and now trying to put it back 😦 . I learned much more about life, love, and business. I’ve been taught to count my blessings and I’m happily doing so. Too much to be grateful about.

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This is Your Work-Life Balance

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JD Hancock

No, I’m not here to give you advice on how to achieve a work-life balance. What I’d like you to do is rethink the way you view work.

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I Learned How to Swim Later

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Imani Wilcott

Some years ago, I learned how to surf. It is still one of the best experiences I’ve had on holiday. It won’t have been possible if I told people I couldn’t swim, I was more concerned of encountering a shark! Continue reading

The Functional Development of an INFJ

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What or Who is INFJ?

According to Myers-Briggs, the INFJ has a high preference for introverted intuition (Ni), it is the preferred way they perceive information. The inner world of the INFJ is much richer than the outer to them. They trust their intuition. Insights are sought from being able to process and connect ideas, feelings, thoughts in their mind.

The INFJ has a preference for making decisions based on Extraverted Feeling (Fe), the ‘feel’ of the situation, a value system based on the people involved. High on empathy, there’s a need to connect and harmonize surroundings, it’s more ‘we are the world’ rather than ‘I am the world’.

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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.

User Experience and Design in 2015

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As a designer my daily life is never complete without looking ahead, thinking of what could be and as we embark on this new year, even more so. But for one to look ahead we must think about what has been and what we can learn.

In looking ahead for 2015, I am writing about things that have been on my mind, things I’ve observed, things I haven’t read anywhere for the year, things that are important for the future of user experience and design.

Back to Basics

I was in a meetup earlier this month talking about mobile payments, and It struck me how much technology happened to be the drivers of what we are creating these days. It seems that though we talk about ‘Users’ all the time we have forgotten who they are. There’s new exciting technology, lots of trends to follow but they just seem backwards when we don’t engage people first and always.

I think it’s important for us, this community of designers to take a step back and ask ourselves who we are designing for and why. In the work we do this is a daily struggle, and one that we should never think is ever done. So do take a step back, think, be thankful that you can design and that there are people to design for.

Accessibility

My sister is a ‘digital lawyer’ currently with the UN. She told me that one of the key tasks for the year in her group was to raise awareness about Accessibility in developing countries. I told her there was still a lot to be done even in the so-called developed world.

Although Accessibility is a part of the Equality Act 2010 (UK),Discrimination against people with disabilities is prohibited by law, Designers and developers in digital often don’t realise how the law affects the work they do. Even if companies with a digital presence are not deliberately excluding disabled users, they could find themselves violating the law and the fines are unlimited.

2015 should see us learning more on accessibility not just because you can be fined, but because you have empathy, because you want to help your fellowhuman, it could be you tomorrow. We should be educating others, those we work with and with out.

Let’s talk and design more around this, like Be My Eyes app, I’d like to see A11yLDN revved again. The following videos give a glimpse of what it’s like having impairments, I hope you take the time to watch them

How Blind People access the web

Film by Sea of Change

 

Fight Commoditisation

“Everything that can be reduced to a commodity ends up in the hands of fools”

UX and design consulting seems to be one thing that will keep growing in 2015, as big companies and consulting firms buy digital agencies and UX capabilities en masse.

We practitioners need to stay on guard and make sure we are not acting like commodities ourselves; selling design solutions that are merely cheaper than our competitors which devalues what design is about, offering tools instead of thoughts. All companies might have the same problem, but the design solution cannot be the same. Design is heavily influenced by context and as long as two companies are different they need to have different solutions.

If we are willing to be true partners, putting profits at risk, receiving pay based on the results, seeking to rethink the entire lifecycle of a business not just the app or website which are merely touchpoints for the most part, we can fight commoditisation. Standing on quality and honesty, twingods for this age with guts, the resolve and capability, I’m certain it can be done.

What You Read in 2014

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A big shout out to the readers of this blog, the lurkers, thanks for deigning to read my blog. Your comments and emails make me want to do much better.

Here are the top 10 popular posts, it seems a lot of people are interested in people, I’m glad.

1. Coping with Misophonia at Work: When I finally recognised I had massive auditory issues, I could do something about it. I no longer work at the company I spoke of here so it’s gotten a bit easier but having a better mindset towards it certainly helps.

2. An INFJ Designer:  Boy o boy, I cannot get over figuring out personalities, and it seems you guys can’t either, so I will be doing more work in this area. You will appreciate this comic if you are INFJ too >> INFJ The Rarest type

3. The Future of Web Design 2014: Glad I could volunteer here and get to listen to some amazing people.

4. You are INFJ so what: Yes, you all do like this personality thing 🙂

5. How to Create an Owl in Omnigraffle: Can you imagine that the CEO of Omni actually retweeted my tweet on twitter when I posted this. I look forward to doing more with omnigraffle, can’t wait!

6. Forming Voltron: Here I talk about type of projects you will encounter and how to deal with the voltron type.

7. Wearable Tech for Introverted Intuitives: I will be looking into more of this for sure!

8. UX for Rookies: My attempt to do a basics on UX, thanks for reading, really.

9. Make Useful Annotations Good practice for documentation and communication

10. Developing Your Competencies Prioritising your development path

Happy New Year: 7 Favorite Things in 2014

Another year past, despite the ups and down of the year, I’m really glad to have reached the end of it, thank you God!.

So much happened personally, and worldwide, it is certainly one of the most dramatic years ever. I quit my job midway through the year, read 55 books, down from 101 in 2013, travelled to 15+ cities, travelled long distances on very very short notices, went back to UK North, connected with long lost friends, saved friendships, close friends lost people dear to them, weddings of wonderful people I know and so on.

These are some things I’m grateful for.

Nieces

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I got two new nieces this year and one is my month mate, ooh hooo!! more beautiful girls in the house. I’m very happy about the safe deliveries especially because one was getting complicated. Now I’m the proud Aunty to 5 precious little girls, what a blessing 🙂

The Philosophers

I read a lot of philosophy in 2014 and Soren Kierkegaard is my man of the year, he stands out by miles and miles.  His mind was so clear, sharp and precise. I can’t get enough of his words. He is one of those I will surely love to have a conversation with in the next life. Notable mentions include Blaise Pascal, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

iMac 

Finally got myself an iMac, can’t imagine why I’d been putting it off for so long, and yup I used it to type this post. I’ve become more productive and it looks good in my room.

Hot Water Bottle

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When I first landed in the UK, 2009, a friend back then gave me a care package, a hot water bottle, chocolates etc. I never appreciated just how amazing the thing is, but this year it’s proven to have been one of the best things someone’s ever given me.

Wireless Headphones

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This is the most exciting piece of technology of 2014 for me, I’m so happy to have it. There was a guy at a restaurant who had to ask me where I got it. It makes me ecstatic, the freedom…being able to dance around my house without hindrance, everything should be wirefree!. It is easily my favorite purchase of the year.

UCD14 – UX Conference

“UCD2014 is a unique User-Centred Design conference in London. “It’s the Goldilocks of conferences; not too big, not too small” Jonty Sharples. UCD2014 explores how User Centred Design is applied in a variety of disciplines”

” It was my first time here and was really looking forward to this, aside the posh venue, I had spied some really interesting talks in the line up.

The Best things – The variety of speakers, it didn’t have your regular UX speakers who manage to be everywhere at the same time and the food by caterers to HRH, was yummy. The goodie bag also did not disappoint.

Big Themes and take away – it got me thinking again about Design Ethics, Closure experiences, accessibility and internal company collaboration.

Looking forward to 2015’s version.

New Job

I feel very lucky to be doing the things I love on a day to day basis and getting paid for it. It is hard work, especially having to work with people, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

I quit my job not knowing where I was going to end up, but it is exactly what I’ve been looking for in paid employment, and I couldn’t be happier, I look forward to doing more in the new year.

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With these few words of mine, I welcome you to 2015, may the year be filled with joy and laughter, and when the going is tough, remember you are surrounded by love, give it and it will come back to you.

Cheers X!!X!!

Design Management Lessons from Carlo’s Bakery

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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!

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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

Don’t talk about Immigration on the tube

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Once upon a train

Generally, I don’t talk on the tube. It’s one of those unwritten London rules so I read. However, when you haven’t seen a friend, an ex-colleague in months it’s easy to throw conventions out the window. Due to our busy schedule this was the only time we could catch-up during the week, after work. So there we were on one of the fastest trains, hurtling north and we were talking much.

We talked about the past few months, our present and the future. We talked about the changes we had been subjected to. Being both ‘Expatriates’ or Immigrants as those of us from developing countries are usually called, we talked about our immigration status, and being away from family. Perhaps we were talking too loud, enough for someone to get angry and they did.

I had only heard of such things in the news or read them on blogs, So when this man, standing close to me, said “You are not even British” I could not believe it was happening. Looking at me, his face already turning a certain shade of red, he addressed the both of us. My friend was shocked speechless, (she’s white, so I wasn’t sure this was racism).

“You have better jobs than me” he continued, my heart started to beat so fast, my legs began to fade away, scared of where this might escalate to. “How do you know that” I asked, (my extroverted feeling at work). “We are in this country because we’ve got useful skill” I tried.  “You are not even British” he continued. “You come here and you take the better jobs”. I looked at this man, and knew that a rational conversation was not possible. Luckily the train stopped at the next station shortly so we scrambled to get a seat while others got out. “I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything”, my friend said, “I was shocked”. I told her it was ok, but I was so shocked I had to say something, we deal with things differently.

Please, be kind

The life of immigrants is not an easy one by any measure, especially those of us who have left family behind. We constantly have to weigh our current status and all we had to give up to be here. I’ve been in the UK for 5 years and non-EU migrants like me for the most part depend on companies to sponsor our visas, we cannot collect government benefits. So it can be difficult especially when out of work.

We also get discriminated against when it comes to employment. I’ve been rejected immediately I brought up the fact that I’m Nigerian and would need a visa. It is understandable in some cases, but when it takes at the least, 2 days to get a visa you wonder why recruitment doesn’t take the chance. Is it even legal to discriminate this way?

I feel lucky to be in London, which is currently the most desired place to work in the world, and grateful that companies have agreed to sponsor me, and though I’ve never been denied a UK visa, I know people who have and it is one of the worst feelings in the world. Rejection is one thing, but to have a whole country reject you, horrendous.

Please be kind when you encounter an ‘immigrant’, you don’t know their story, give us a chance. The UK visa is actually very straightforward, don’t be afraid of sponsoring and employing one of us.

Thank You.

You are INFJ, So what?

One of the most popular posts on this site is An INFJ Designer and I’ve had people tell me they are INFJ just from reading it, I haven’t been convinced. Getting that kind of feedback and the increasing tweets and posts about wanting to ‘debunk MBTI’ I thought it is important to get back to basics.

What is MBTI and all these letters?

The MBTI assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions

I got introduced to MBTI 5 yrs ago and I’m still learning a lot. MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs based on Carl Jung’s work  A mini-research on the foundations of the MBTI led me to the Yoruba’s divination system Ifá! but that’s a topic for another day though this might make an interesting read.

The MBTI is not astrology, it won’t predict your future or character neither does it tell you everything about your personality. The main focus areas are the absorption of information and the communication of it especially in decision making.

Robert Kaplan and Dennis Saccuzzo state that “the underlying assumption of the MBTI is that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation.”

MBTI Letters

The letters that make up the types stand for various things, belong to four scales and form 16 personality types. We all have bits of everything, but the MBTI instrument identifies what your favorite, preferred functions are.

  1. First scale  I – Introversion ——— E – Extroversion deals with where you love to focus and gain energy from. As someone on the introversion side, I gain energy from being by myself, thinking inwardly and doing work alone, but I have friends who are energized by speaking or being around other people. Learn More

  2. Second scale  S – Sensing ———- N – Intuition focuses on the kind of information you prefer to gather. For INFJs like me, our dominant function is Introverted Intuition which means I love to see more in everything, reading between the lines. Small talk is usually a bit of an annoyance because I want to get to the root of the matter as fast as possible. Learn More

  3. Third scale F- Feeling ———– T – Thinking deals with what one prefers to make judgements or decisions on, do you go for hard facts or does the way people feel move you more? Learn More

  4. Fourth scale J – Judging ———— P- Perception This pair describes whether you extravert (act in the outer world) when you are making decisions or when you are taking in information. Learn More

The Different Types

Click on the graphic to find out what the 16 combinations are and maybe, your type.

What is the benefit of knowing Type?

The goal of knowing about personality type is to understand and appreciate differences between people. As all types are equal, there is no best type.

For me, the first thing is self-awareness which starts with being honest with your own self. You gain a clearer perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, motivation, and emotions. It will help you understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.

Going beyond Types

Above all this, we are to love our neighbour i.e people who are not us. It doesn’t matter if you know types or not, remember to always act in love and grace towards everyone.


Do more 

Find Your Type

Take the MBTI assessment instrument

For the Skeptics

For all still skeptical, this might be helpful MBTI for Skeptics

INFJs

I connect highly with this tumblr by Arissa Scott, INFJ Doodles

Websites

Center for Applications of Pyschological type

The Myers-Briggs Foundation

God-Type

Recommended Books

Building Blocks of Personality Type

Was That Really me?


“I dream that long after I’m gone, my work will go on helping people.” -Isabel Myers, 1979

Stay Awesome.

3 Signs You Have a Great Leader

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We all need to stop and ask ourselves every now and then; Who am I following? is it worth following them? how do they treat me, and/or other people?

I hardly expect my church to teach about management and leadership in the workplace but this is so important I have to summarize what I learned there. It really is about looking to the best known human that ever lived, Jesus. Forbes explores the question in this article, Jesus, as the greatest leader of all Fast Company also has a go, The skill that made Jesus a great leader

Back to the workplace, it does seem like there is an abundance of bad bosses than there are good bosses. Someone says it’s more a case of people who are bad at their job than anything. Some of us have even felt the pressure of ‘bad bosses’ the memories quite painful however, we still aspire to be in those positions one day. Why and how do we think we will do any different? If we don’t embody or aspire to embody the following, we may one day end up in the ‘bad boss’ box.

Great Leaders are Trustworthy

“let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’’ – Jesus

A leader who is able to establish trust by setting a vision and carrying it through by themselves or with the help others is gold. Nobody wants to follow someone who is always wavering, says A today and B tomorrow, if they double-cross someone today, it could be your turn tomorrow.

A leader who is able to admit when mistakes have been made and accepts responsibility for the outcomes is given respect.  When workers trust their leaders, they demonstrate loyalty. A leader worth fighting for is the one who has fought for you. The trust built holds businesses together and creates an environment for success, helping in the intense battle against competitors.

Great Leaders Serve

“He did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Leadership is about service and great leaders know this. Jesus had no qualms about washing the feet of his disciples which in that culture was a huge WHAT!?, but I can’t even imagine my Boss ‘oga at the top’ doing this today. Great service draws on humility and respect, you really do not want someone that lords their service over you. Power should be used for flourishing not diminishing.

A great leader not only serves their followers but also their peers. How does your boss treat their mates? do they talk down or make snide comments behind their back? Great leaders always want to bring out the best in others and do not seek self-promotion.

These leaders are committed to the needs of others before their own, courageous to lead with service at the risk of ridicule in the organisation, always looking to develop others, invites feedback and when they don’t know something they can say ‘I don’t know this but I am eager to learn’

Great Leaders Make Sacrifices

“The good shepherd lays his life down on behalf of the sheep”

Leaders must be willing to make sacrifices for those they serve, those who trust them. Sacrifices reinforce commitments to people in the form of  e.g time and money, two of the most important things in the business world. Being willing to spend time to teach someone something or to help someone out of a financial bind without expecting anything in return is the mark of a great leader. They will always put people over the ‘organization’

In conclusion, authority is not something to be grasped it should be received with the full weight of responsibility that it deserves. The humble servant’s heart that is trustworthy, serves and makes sacrifices is hard to develop but we must start somewhere and we can start today.

Stay Bright.

Last Week’s Thoughts (1)

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I want to start a series where I do a summary of my main thoughts in the past week. I realize that twitter is fast becoming my sounding board and idea bank (drafted tweets), so I want to bring it all the way back here, mostly because there is space to expand without the distraction. M.  Gelb in his  book on Leonardo Da Vinci writes that randomness feeds intuition, so enjoy a bit of randomness here.

To start, a few things;

“Expected outcomes are not the bane of creativity, rigidity is.”Antonia Anni

Research: The impact of award-giving

I’m interested in the impact of awards on a community/ industry/individual. Check out LinkedIn, a large number of people are ‘award-winning’ I have won a few myself, so how does getting an award affect the individual?, their area of their work, their community. What’s the follow up like? How are past award winners? where are they? what are they up to? Do the awards really inspire? do they pressurize? Why do we keep giving them?

Life – Balance

I remembered telling an interviewer that one reason I left my job was the routine. It wasn’t that it was routine, it was that, it was 90% routine, which I found out stresses me out terribly.

However, everybody needs a good balance of routine and the novel. How do you know where your balance is? listen to yourself, take time to reflect on your past experiences, use tools like the MBTI. I’ve found out that the balance for me is 40% Routine, 60% Novel.

Without routine our lives fall apart, Without the novel, we get burnt out. Routine is a marriage, Novel is another day.

Jesus and The Gospel

Jesus is certainly out of this world, he basically turned things upside down.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” How hard is this but necessary.

“The gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves, for we are already proven and secure.” I don’t know anything more amazing and freeing than the Gospel. Grace is everything!

What do successful start-ups have in common?

Currently taking an Entrepreneurship course and this is one thing we are exploring. I put the question on twitter here are a few responses;

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I really liked that it all revolves around people, The Founder, The Team and The Tribe.

Mobile is not going anywhere

Since the beginning of time, man has been mobile and each new age has found new ways to move, why should the future be different.

First, man found he had legs, then animals to ride about on, the compass, ships, wheels, airplanes, mobile phones. The question to be asked is simply, what’s next?

 Career and Recruitment

Ever since I  stumbled upon Penelope Trunk, it’s hard to resist going back all the time. I appreciate honesty on any given day, 100%. I prefer a negative answer to limbolysis.  She writes,  3 Career paths and 1 will fit you

My tweets on the brokenness of recruitment led to a conversation of solutions so, someone gave me a link to what he is working on. This is Globeshifts which seeks to change recruitment in the Oil & Gas sector

Immigration

As an Expat in the UK, this is always on my mind. A lot of changes are being made with immigration policies and it can make one very uncomfortable. A startup that is trying to bring some simplicity and clarity to this is Migreat. Some links to read;

UK Immigration and Tech Industry

Is Britain closing it’s doors to talent?

New Quotes

Words- “I find myself reaching for the dictionary more than ever, ‘leverage’ ‘construct’ ‘ecosystem’ ‘pivot’ ‘revert’ in casual chats…necessary.”

Blessings- “Disappointments are not blessings because they magically morph into a blessing instead they clear the way for the blessing”

Work- “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” why are we so afraid of work though? I do what I love but it’s still work and work is good.”

Passwords- “My favorite new button on the web is ‘lost your password?’

TED Videos to Watch

3 ways to speak English – Jamila Lyiscott 

Are you human? – Ze Frank

Design For all 5 Senses – Jinsop Lee

 

Till next week 🙂

2 Lessons From TWOWS

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It was on an airplane ride I eventually got to watch the movie. I thought it was overhyped and wasn’t going to go out of my way to watch it but here I was, 40,000ft above the ground, with no where to go.

I found myself laughing, crying, being hysterical, I loved every minute of it. After the movie, I wrote in my notebook for about 10mins because I had realised there was so much to glean from it aside entertainment value. A few things;

“If you give people a good enough ‘why’, they will always figure out the ‘how’”

I watched in awe as Jordan told story after story, connecting with others. To me this highlighted the importance of storytelling even in Design. When Jordan asked people to sell a pencil and they went on about the features on the pencil I thought then I had made the connection.

There are a set of pairs that are very important in the proper functioning of the world; Intuition and Logic, Faith and Reason, Imagination and Analysis, Stories and Features, The Big Picture and Details.

These pairs have to work together, anybody that argues otherwise is a fraud. They also have a specific order in which they work, the first of the pair as written must come first. One needs to understand the ‘Why’ before they can appreciate the ‘How’. The big picture/story should sell and help one appreciate the details/features and in turn, the details/features reinforce and make you love the big picture/story more, a blessed circle.

People connect better with stories (See) work on that. They also make it easier for stakeholders to understand and to gain the support for your projects. However it is not a one time thing, it may need refining and you might get to iteration 4, but never forget the pattern. Share the ‘whys’, the big picture and then detail it.

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“When you live your life by poor standards, you inflict damage on everyone who crosses your path, especially those you love”

Not everybody is concerned about standards in the work they do or how it ties to their personal values but because UX is ultimately about people this is very important. Our mindset should be one that always strives for the best way of doing a thing, not just in the artefacts we create but in the way we live, relate and communicate.

Things in your life outside work seep into work and vice versa, there’s really no separation. We should strive for excellence mostly because other people are at stake. Do you love? then show it, be dependable, pay your bills on time, add a little more honesty, appreciate time with your family. There’s so much we can do better everyday. If you don’t know where to start, try laying your bed every morning, I promise that you will be designing a little better very soon.

Stay Bright.

 

Research: Mere Users or Real People?

This post is partly inspired by a tweet and by a profound moment that happened over 2yrs ago. In many ways it’s about the ethics of user research. It also ties in with my recent thoughts on empathy and stories. First of all, I am a big advocate for getting rid of the term ‘User’ but that will be addressed in another post.

The big questions are, Who are these ‘Users’ Do we think of them beyond the task at hand?. Do we see them as having lives interconnected with other products and services or just as the sole user of ours?

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It was a lovely cloudless Monday so I decided to go to the garden near my office on Piccadilly street to have lunch and sit in the sun. There was also a project on my mind. I had done a round of guerilla interviewing during the weekend and didn’t mind continuing if I got the chance. A few minutes after I had settled on a bench and my food, a lady sits by me and opens a book. I thought this was an amazing opportunity to have a chat to her. My project was on redesigning the reading experience, how lucky I felt. So I asked if she had a moment to chat and she burst into tears.

I was taken aback and genuinely sorry, I didn’t know what to say. She quickly got herself together and apologized for the outburst. She mentioned rough times at work and how she tried to escape for a few moments in the garden. I was doubly sorry, here I was in the name of User research encroaching on what little time she had for solace.

I had never really thought about the lives of people beyond the projects I had been working, this was a real eye opener. We still had the chat about reading and what it meant to her but this only came after I just sat and listened. As we talked, I found myself empathizing with her.

I remember walking back to the office and thinking, wow we need a Book Spa/Book Lounge, where people can read in public without being disturbed.  Most importantly, I thought about how we interview. People do not use products in isolation, some times they use your products/service in combination or in comparison with others. We must remember that people live beyond our research and approach them with that in mind. As a researcher its also important to just sit and listen. People’s stories engender empathy and that’s what you need to design better.

 

Coping with Misophonia at Work

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What is Misophonia?

Ever since I was a child, I found certain sounds absolutely life-threatening. Hearing them made me very angry (up to murderous rage) and anxious. I recently realized that there is a name for it, misophonia and it was such a relief knowing I wasn’t alone.

It is described by American Neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff as

A neurological disorder, in which a person feels anxiety, and even rage in response to certain sounds, which may be loud or soft

It  puts you in a fight or flight mode instantaneously. One of such times was the day my sister asked me to go shopping with her. She had come to London for the first time and we were on the tube heading to Oxford street. Along the way, a man chewing gum loudly and noisily came into our carriage. I was immediately angered and also at myself for leaving my headphones at home. I looked around the carriage and no one seemed bothered, this even enraged me more. I really wanted to hit the guy but as the train came to a stop at the next station I jumped out, thinking my sister was going to follow me, but she didn’t…

The Work Place

Open Plan offices might be straight from the devil. As someone who is largely introverted and with misophonia, it can be hellish. The continuous stimulation for over 7 hours is a massive drain on all my faculty.

Daily triggers at work include; loud voices and sibilation, furious keyboard typing (surprised the keyboard hasn’t broken), slurping and chewing noises.

One particular day I was in a rage and thinking seriously of quitting my job. Thankfully, it was a Friday, so after work, I got some comfort food and watched a movie. As I lay on my bed, coping ideas began to materialize in my brain. I told my friend I was so glad that depression hasn’t been added to my anxiety and misophonia!

Coping Strategies

Noise Cancelling Headphones – These work a treat, I use them all the time and because I love music, it’s an amazing solution. Now, I need to rest my ears every now and then so to fill the gaps the next solutions come in.

Ear Plugs – I am currently testing a few I got from Amazon, 3M makes some called earfit, which I am using right now. It is ok, but the level of comfort could be better. It tones down all the sounds, which is good enough. Only issue is having to take them out often because you have to talk to people.

Regular Breaks –  I try to take a 5 min break in a quiet place every hour, or 10 mins every 2 hours. This not only helps my misophonia but all the other stimulation which gets overwhelming fast like movements, lights, sounds etc. Definitely helps to stretch your leg so you can avoid deep vein thrombosis.

These are the things that help me cope at the moment. It’s hard talking to people about this because for the most part they can’t change ( voice for example ) and they can’t understand.

If you have some other ways which you use to cope, please let me know! all the best.

oh..I did not lose my sister forever, thankfully, she was at the next station.

Support for People With Misophonia

Misophonia UK

Misophonia.Com

Misophonia Treatment

To learn more about Misophonia, here are some related articles

Enraged by Everyday Sounds – Psychology Today

When a Chomp or Slurp is a Trigger For Outrage – NY Times

The Chewing Sound and The Fury – New Republic

Boyfriend Chewing Makes Me Want to Strangle Him – Daily Mail

How Sounds Trigger Rage and Anxiety – Daily Record

Living With Misophonia – Tribune

How Do You Think of the Internet?

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When designing for people on the internet it is important to understand how they think of/perceive it and also, across devices. Searching myself, I find that I see the internet as a constant stream of consciousness, always on, regardless of my state, or the state of my devices.

The devices I use are like windows which open up to the stream. The bigger the window the more I can do. I prefer to use my desktop to do everything, but it is not always convenient. Sometimes I just want to lie on the couch, sometimes power is out (in Nigeria). Also while using the desktop it’s hard to do other things, it demands most of your attention. Meanwhile using my mobile products ‘smaller windows’, it’s like I’m being offered glimpses of the web, while leaving me free enough to do a host of other things at the same time.

Strangely I do think I don’t have the full/real version of the internet until I get to my desktop. Shopping or any financial transactions, writing etc I usually leave to my desktop, while my mobile devices are enough for me to consume bits of information.

How do you think of the internet? What does it mean to you?

Hiring UX people

I remember his face; dark hair and round brown eyes, Greek. He had applied for a junior UX designer role. I asked him why he wanted to leave his current job, and he launched into a super story of politics at his work. I felt sorry but work is political, no getting away from that but the extent to which politics affect you and how is another thing. It was clear I wasn’t going to hire him over the other candidate who showed a lot of creativity and…spirit, the desire to just get on with things. Ultimately we want a worker in our cabal not a whiner.

If I were to hire a UX intern now as someone recently asked me, the two questions I would ask would be;

Why UX? You’ve got to have a story, even if you are drifting, looking to just try it out, honesty makes for very compelling stories. They are important because we remember them and there’s so much you can get from the unsaid. It also lets one into how you value people, value your experiences and how they have shaped you thus far.

The second question is What Skills they have. Life skills and useful competencies for the job can’t be stressed, foundational elements that cut across company fields. In UX you cannot afford to be a specialist, everyone has to step up and take the reins at one point or the other. One has had to take on graphic design, front end development, project management, story management, just to get a product out. The idea of ‘this is not my job’ has to go. As a UX professional it is your responsibility. If you don’t have the capacity to stretch yourself in this way, you will struggle.

As someone who will also be interviewed in future, I hope I will, along with other things like humility and passion, take my own advice.

Back to Square One

Welcome to 2014!

Seven years ago, I was on an Industrial Attachment from Engineering school. At the time, I had already been designing, illustrating on my own and wanted to explore career options in design not engineering. I got to meet with a couple of animators, illustrators who had just started a media house and I thought it would be a good place for me.

One Sunday afternoon, I went with one of the illustrators to an eatery. I was going to show him the storyboards I had created, on my Macbook and he was hungry. In less than 30mins of being there, armed robbers stormed the eatery. I couldn’t believe what was happening, until the guy with the gun pointed it at my head and told me to get down. Lying flat on the cold floor, I watched my Macbook and my wallet fly into the robbers goody bag.

I was traumatised for a long time, while grateful to be alive. All my work was gone and I couldn’t bear to look at any design software, I just couldn’t. After earning my Bachelor degree in Information and Communication Engineering, a year after, I decided to try for a design programme in the UK.

Seven years after, I am still in design, grateful for every second of what I do. The incident took me back to square one, though I had been self-taught up till that moment, it made me reconsider my options. Through all of it, I got to  understand design properly. It also taught me the value of backing up your stuff asap! So square one is not a bad place to be, embrace it, turn your pain to gain.

Cheers to the New Year, Best wishes xxx

Mid-Year Learnings.

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Sitting where the Black Sea meets the Bosphorus

Mercury is in retrograde and as a Virgo I should be having a very hard time communicating. I am taking this chance.

I love mid-year, it is summertime! good for relaxing and reflecting (two chief pleasures of my life) So I’m here looking back on the first half of the year

1. Choosing Happiness

This might sound like a self-help manifesto, but it is the dammm truth. At the end of last year I was wrought with anxieties (which give me physical symptoms and are a pain to cope with). As I got into the new year I shed all of that through God’s help, *focusing on the important stuff* and went on holiday while being jobless. Got a new job before I came back to the UK. Even if I didn’t, I was well equipped to handle whatever life was going to hand me. Worry does nothing but disrupt your life negatively.

Think positive, Do positive. These things add up, don’t let the negatives stack up against you.

2.  Cure Your Boredom Today

I realised quite strongly that when I am feeling bored, I should be doing one of two things. Sleeping or putting my hands to good use. Someone said that curiosity is the cure for boredom. Someone also said you can’t be moving your arms, legs, head and have time to be sad or bored. So whenever I feel like I’m bored and I’m home, I just take a nap and feel the better for it, my body thanks me. Otherwise, I will  have to move my body. I have taken up a number of things this year, I started tinkering with WordPress, started knitting, I’m writing more, read here Sketch Story (Had my first spoken word performance!) and I posted a number of handwritten letters and postcards inspired by a project online. I’m reading more ( I have a challenge to read 100 books this year, I’ve read 53 already, woohoo!)

There’s just too much out there to involve your self in, don’t waste life on being bored.

3. Leave Assumptions behind

We spend a lot of time assuming things, it’s good to think but there is a fine line. If you don’t know, just ask. Ask, Ask. Read, Ask, Think. I can’t even quantify how important this, I remember a project I inherited, when a lot of questions came out towards the end of implementation, I realised that I was wallowing and wringing my hand because I had just assumed the early parts had been signed off. Even if people don’t do their jobs, tighten your side of it. Good work, adds up, it adds up.

4. Acknowledge Your Guides

Before you were born, life has existed, knowledge has been built up, so don’t ignore those that came before you. Guidelines are usually put in place not to restrict you but to give you a backbone at the very least. Guides can be family and friends who look out for you, don’t ignore them. Even if you will not do what they say, never forget that their hearts are in the right place.

5. Trust Yourself

People are a blessing to have no doubt, sometimes you just have to admit that there’s nothing they can do for your present situation. In those times, the way forward is to find something to do for them, we all love people who bring us some kind of value. Trust that you can get things done, trust that you can help someone else and do it.

Guilty

A look back at last year in my old job.

Diary of a UX Designer

I Annoy People

Since I started getting called ‘weird’ in secondary school, I knew that this was going to be my lot in life. I don’t *try* to be different, it’s in my make-up and I really do like a simple life. I dragged myself to work this morning and into a situation I’d rather not have gotten into to. My face was hurting as the hole in my mouth tried to heal,  I could hardly concentrate on what the man was saying before me. Just maybe, maybe I have an issue understanding where boundaries are drawn, I don’t like vague boundaries, flexible not vague. So I am guilty, I am guilty of annoying people and tomorrow I will find out where this leads to.

I Collaborate With People

My normal routine has somewhat been disrupted by certain prevailing issues and the hole in my mouth, so I can’t have normal food and get…

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Who is on your team?

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I love teams because usually, you get a great mix  just by virtue of people being different to one another and coming from various backgrounds. Going one step further as a team lead/manager e.t.c is to identify what each person can uniquely bring to the team. Qualities that enable creativity, growth and productivity. If two people have the same strengths and weakness, it means one of them is not needed.

My profile as identified by the MBTI personality type methodology is the INFJ. I was introduced to this during my Masters programme in a module called, ‘Developing Self’ one of the hardest courses I’ve ever taken in my life. The University paid for our assessment and I can confirm that it is 90% accurate.

So what do people like me bring to the table, at the basic level.

http://www.bestfittype.com/chartthecourse.html

CHART-THE-COURSE
INFJ

The theme is having a course of action to follow. People of this style focus on knowing what to do and keeping themselves, the group, or the project on track. They prefer to enter a situation having an idea of what is to happen. They identify a process to accomplish a goal and have a somewhat contained tension as they work to create and monitor a plan. The aim is not the plan itself, but to use it as a guide to move things along toward the goal. Their informed and deliberate decisions are based on analyzing, outlining, conceptualizing or foreseeing what needs to be done.

So far I have realized most of these from my experience working, both in an agency  and client-side. I enjoy being able to plan and give structure to a project, I don’t believe that innovation is hampered by structures. We need structure in our lives, if not, chaos. Creativity in itself is neither good or bad, the outcome of such ‘creativity’ is what matters most.

One particular thing I love to do is document. I  would create a project initiation document which details things as we begin, and we use it as a guide to outcomes as the project progresses. I think it has been successful in the times I’ve done this, because one thing people don’t realize is, how easily they forget things and how much is forgotten.

Some other links which give more detail of an INFJ’s working style

> INFJ on a team

> What makes an INFJ tick?

Think more about the people on your team. Don’t be driven constantly by the work they have to get done. Most times the key to unlocking their productivity is understanding their personalities and where they are coming from.

The Tube.

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The Beginning

Victoria was my first, and as she delivered me smoothly and warmly into the red hot Central, I was already in love. The London Underground celebrates it’s 150th birthday this month. It blows my mind, my country is only 52, 99 if you push it but doesn’t function as well as the Tube.

I first came into central London from Newcastle. I got off a train at Kings Cross and made my way to the underground as directed. My friend who was supposed to be my guide couldn’t make it, so there I was at 9pm trying to make sense of several coloured lines and names that looked straight out of monopoly. Luckily, the family I came to London to see had already given me the name of their station, somewhere in the deep west. I asked a ticket officer what line I should use  and got a single ticket, ah the christening!

Our relationship hasn’t been smooth sailing all the way but I appreciate it more every single day. I also struck up friendship with the Jubilee, the Metropolitan, Bakerloo, the Overground! nice trains and oh sweet irony! I love how a huge part of the Underground is actually overground.

The Best Line

Read my answer, on Quora to what the best line on the underground is >> My answer to What is the best line on the London Underground? And why? http://qr.ae/1w7ZH

The Map

I’ve had a good time riding the tube, but as a Designer, I think the tube map is one of the best out there! Never forget that it is a map for the tube! nothing more. If you look at the tube map and a real map together, your brain may not be able to take it. I actually won a ticket to a design conference because I had sent in an entry about the tube map, saying it was real good design.  I described being a first timer in London and how easy it was for me to navigate the city as long as I knew what stop to get on and off at.

Tube Challenge

I have been on all the lines except Waterloo and City. To celebrate along, I’m going to have a conversation with this line this month. Then I can say that my relationship with the tube has been wholesome!

Tube Futures

I am working on a series of stories based on people I have encountered on my tube journeys. This project is growing small by small, but I can’t wait to present it.

Happy 150th LU!

 

UPDATE: I’ve been on the Waterloo and City Line!

Talking in my Sleep: UX/UI

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About two days ago, I had a dream that I was explaining to some people the difference between UX and UI. We were all sat in the living room, watching the telly, when this debate arose and the only thing I could find to explain with (because I love analogies) was the television set we had right in front of us.

I said, look at the telly (but of course I’m looking at it!). What can you see? “The telly is flat screened, black, 40in, rectangular, digital, a few buttons on the side, and has a remote control with many more buttons” There! I replied, that is the Interface, the UI of this product. Do you know what’s in the belly of your telly? I asked. They all shook their heads.

Right so, UI is all that you see but UX is a combination of what you see and what you cannot see. It is the sum of all that you experience with this TV set as you interact with it. For example, you do not know the technology that powers your telly, to give you this sharp clear images that you enjoy, this makes up the UX.

I hope with these points of mine, I have been able to educate you and not confuse you about the difference between User Interface and User Experience.

Thanks

*Television disappears*

Is it just me, or does the word ‘Television’ appear terribly archaic?

Ah well 🙂

Hello 2013

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Welcome to the new year, I’m glad you made it as well. A friend called me up today and said ‘I know you are not into resolutions but what are you going to do?’ I had decided, based on the lessons I learned in 2012, not to go mental, planning everything to the last dot. My guiding principle for the year is short and sweet, I hope you think about it as well.

Ask yourself everyday, What am I doing today?
If it’s any good, do it better. If it’s bad, don’t do it…even if I do nothing today let me enjoy ‘nothingness’

I love this set of tweets from Ms Afrolicious, my thoughts exactly

Peace to the humans entering 2013. May we find, know, do and be love. Where our resolutions and best intentions fail, our daily actions shine through. A little advice for the descent: We are the sum of our everyday actions. Different actions, different outcomes.

Being the number geek I am, this tweet by The Bloggess made me laugh out loud

For those of us with Triskaidekaphobia this will be an entire year of forced behavioral therapy. Happy 2012 + 1.

Lessons from 2012

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I have a thing for numbers. I don’t like odd numbers. The only odd numbers I can stand are 5s and multiples of 5. So I think there’s some hidden  meaning in numbers but can’t really remember when/how this has been formed in my mind.  The world didn’t end in 21/12/12 but some part of my world ended on 12/12/12. Pretty significant eh.

When I came into 2012, everything was dandy, it seemed like it was going to be ‘my year’ It was for a while, nothing could go wrong, it was all even. Then life happened and we all know life holds both the evens and the odds. Looking back on time spent there is always something to learn so you can close the page and move on to the next chapter of your life, here’s what I learnt.

 Solve Problems

There is a problem, a challenge everywhere, think about it enough and you will see them rise before you. Think about what makes you mad, Rage for Change is a reality, that could be where your problem solving abilities will shine. People are only going to pay attention to the things you do if you provide a solution to a problem they see or have. At work, you are paid for the problems you solve, that is where your value lies. Increase your value by solving different kinds of problems. Being a UX professional really makes this come alive for me, being able to help QA, Graphic designers, coders e.t.c do their work better is very rewarding.

Teach Others How to Solve Problems

I didn’t know how much I enjoyed teaching until I was in Uni. I did a stint teaching graphic design even though I was studying Engineering. Since then I embraced it and even enrolled as a tutor on an online service before I got my full-time job. Like the famous saying goes ‘Don’t just give a man a fish, teach him how to fish’ This is the sort of thing that contributes to a better world. When you teach, you get better at not just teaching but also at what you teach.

Go After Change

Don’t complain about things you are not willing to change. A relationship? Job? work/life balance? passions? If you want something you don’t have, you have to do something you haven’t done before and do it daily. Don’t moan if you are not willing to let go. It’s either you get out of the situation or you change the way you react to the situation. You might not be able to control or change another person, but you can control or change the way you respond.

Develop Good Habits Daily

I remember having a chat with one of my friends at work about developing a Habit App, he thought all the ones out there didn’t quite do it. I was really interested even though personally, apps like that do not do me any good. People really want to change their lives but the reality is, to succeed at a thing you have to do it everyday, every two days might even be pushing it. I’ve started on some habits and I’ve fallen by the way side, but my biggest take away is, Daily! Daily!! Daily!!!.

Embrace your difference

I’ve written about feeling like a misfit sometimes however, I realize that that is where my significance lies. If two people bring the same thing to the table, it means one is irrelevant. Faith Jegede drove the point home with her TEDTalk  “The chance for greatness, for progress and for change dies the moment we try to be like someone else.”  “The pursuit of normality is the ultimate sacrifice of potential.” I was also able to become a Top Writer on Quora, by embracing this. Good times.

Stay Passionate, Always Create.

Passionate people change their lives, they change the world one person at a time. Be a force for good, dont get passionate about bringing someone down for goodness sakes. If you are not building up, you are definitely tearing down. Be part of the solution not the solvent and be passionate about what you do, you will succeed.

Get Connected

Everything was created to be connected to something else, it is the great circle of life. You cannot do things on your own. Invest in people, give your time, volunteer, help people. Being involved with TEDxEuston was life-changing and I will do it over and over again  What you make happen for others, happens for you too. Don’t like networking? e.t.c Focus and develop the relationships that you have.

Focus Focus Focus

A vision is a powerful thing. I have been privileged to work in a company with unfaltering vision, this is what drives focus. Don’t lose sight of it, stay on track and you will go far.

Everyone Fails

This is inevitable, everyone fails at one point or the other but that is not the whole story. Broken focus leads to failure but if you are able to pick up the pieces, that is what really counts. Everyone fails, Great ones get back up. James Dyson talks about the importance of failure here

Respect Life

Laugh, Love, Live. Take a minute, ok, more than a minute to enjoy nature, humans, life.  If you asked me this time last year if I liked domestic cats, it would have been a no. I have come to appreciate the creatures though I was forced to live with one, lol. One big thing I realized was that regardless of a person’s present state, their value never changes. This is important to remember. Value life, Respect it, we will all do better because of this.

The Future is Now

I love planning for the future, making a list of things I want to happen in my life. I forget that it all starts from now. Better, I realize that if I want to see anything in my future I have to do it today, no need to wait for tomorrow, the important time is now.

Wise up

Now as we approach another year and the great big numbers continue to chase us, let us not just grow older, let’s get wiser. Remember wisdom is not in the information or knowledge that you accumulate, it is in the things you do with the information and knowledge you have.

As you would have known by now, this post has been sponsored by the number 12. Go on and have a great New Year!

Growing Up.

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My boss called me into a meeting room and said to me ‘Antonia, you need to grow up’ I was stunned, ofcourse I don’t give a believable poker face and he quickly added, ‘No’ *chuckles* ‘You are no longer a Junior here’ The first I thought of was ‘Already? Have I improved that much?’ Apparently, he thought so. Pleasing a German is no mean feat *pat pat* but I have pushed myself, not just in the quality of deliverables but out of my comfort zones and quality of engagement.

I started out learning the ropes and I stuck to one project at a time. I had to deal with people who use our products, Customer engagement officers, Developers, Product owners, Business Analysts, Gaming Analyst, Quantitative analysts. Some times I thought, ‘whoa the graphic designers have it easy’ But the beauty of my responsibility is being enable to bring all these elements, these resources to work together for the greater good.

Am I the best I can be? Not even close. I’m having to stepup every single day plus there are skills that I left behind I need to pick up again.

What are my strengths now?

Sticking to my word. If I state I’m going to deliver something, I deliver it. Sometimes you have to underpromise and over-deliver.

Handling Pressure. My boss said he was pleasantly surprised at how I managed to keep going and thinks it’s really good on me.

Listening to others. We should never ‘own’ projects. The result is always a collaborative effort. UX is never down to one person. But my job as a UX-er is to listen to what others are saying, and filter according to the vision of the project. It is not ‘my way or the high-way’ I particularly love how a project comes together and you know all who had an input, we are all proud.

Next Steps?

Again, I need to up my pro-activeness. I got feedback recently that I was too quiet in the boardroom. While I will never be ‘the voice’ because I’d rather absorb information and then go to work, I can make better preparations before meetings so I understand and absorb much faster, and actually say my thoughts on the matter.

Using information. The UX team is lucky to have people who solely analyze user behavior and feedback off applications and our websites. These bits of information and research really go along way into our designs. I have to utilize this at every chance possible.

Maximizing time. One of our team members had to leave recently due to unfortunate circumstances. Right now, my workload has doubled even though we’d get replacement. I’m not sure it will ease but I think it’s a good thing. I need to learn better how to spread products out and use my time wisely. Seek out the right people who are involved on the projects, get questions out there, iterate and feedback.

Exciting Times!

So I am officially a Middle Weight UX-er now (Can’t wait for April, so my salary would reflect this. lol ), I got to interview possible junior candidates and even though I did feel a bit odd being on the other side, I was excited that I’d be able to mentor someone in this role.

Finally, I need to give credit where it is due. Yesterday I was at work, after dark and went to the kitchen to get a meal before heading out (long story). I met my CEO in there and he asked me how the six months have gone. ‘Really ok’ I smiled. ‘Your Boss’ he said, ‘Your Boss is the best, you are in good hands’ I laughed and replied ‘Oh yeah, He has set a real high standard, but I’m getting there’ ‘Your Boss is the best, and it is good for you’ ‘Yes’, I thought, ‘I want to be like him and better when I grow up’.

The Story of A Donner

I almost killed myself on Friday. I had gone straight home after work, I was really tired and couldn’t stomach any alcohol or jokes, I only wanted to eat and sleep. This time, I was just going to order some food from my favorite food app, HungryHouse, too tired to cook.

So I did, it and they came quite fast too. I had never ordered a donner before, if I knew how it looked I really wouldn’t have (Should suggest this to Hungry House), but I was achingly hungry at the time, and proceeded to dig into the wrap.

Two minutes later, I was choking. I even went ahead to embarrass myself by gatecrashing my Landlady’s Ladys night out. They were all surprised while I sat in their midst positively out of breath with a heart rate threatening to make me implode. They helped me calm down as I was having a Panic Attack.

Five hours later, I found my self in the back of an Ambulance headed to Northwick Park. How did this happen I thought to myself. I’m quite surprised that people say there are no Atheists in Foxholes. I never once, thought to myself,  ‘God help me’maybe I did but I can’t remember, I had thought, How did I do this to myself? and How can I get out of this situation?.

Fortunately after an X-Ray and examinations, I got off with a bruise on my throat, pain in my neck and chest area, which was guraranteed to ease in three days, and bruised pride.

Glad to be alive, It made me understand how much important details are. The big picture which I could see quite clearly was satisfying my hunger but I didn’t pay much attention to the details of how to get there. A single detail neglected or badly done/designed is capable of destroying the whole picture.

Smurf Me, I Smurf You.

The Smurfs, I.Love.Them. When I was younger we watched the Smurfs, recorded them on video cassettes, and got Smurf merchandise. These blue people rock! What’s even better, the Smurf language! However this post is not really about the Smurfs.

Today is my last Monday at work for this year, and while I have to work as a ‘designer’ I always think about ‘design’ in every way, while I’m on holiday, eating, christmass-ing it will be there.

So what am I trying to write about? Design has become well… Smurfy 🙂 I should be very happy. I have to say thanks to one of those I follow on Twitter (@annettepriest), who gave me this insight. To understand, read up The Smurf Language. It all started with my observation that well, there’s been a lot of ‘fights’ in the ‘design’ community. Everyone is writing up blog posts faster than I can say JACK, countering some person’s opinion, what is even more glaring is that there has been the lack of context in which these posts are written. One person says Design is everything, another person says Design is just ‘Somethings’, I’m sure a Smurf will probably know the true answer.

CONTEXT!! ok, we are not Smurfs, so we aren’t somehow intune with everyone’s mind. I think it will really help, if people talking about design, define the context and then refer to it all through as they talk about ‘design’

My own opinion is, in the context of solution providing, Person + Tool = Solution, where Design is the Tool. Design is A WAY not the only way. This is different from Creativity which is mainly the capacity for thinking. Design is one way to provide solutions, if you have chosen it, good on you!

Oh Christmas time!

It’s that time of the year again! High Blood Pressure and Innocence go hand in hand..No wonder Santa Claus is in red and white. We had a design challenge to decorate our work spaces, I still don’t know who won but I got to snap a photo with Santa. For the first time in my life, I’m trying to build a Christmas list, I may end up not using but it will still be a far cry from the days of Christmas Dresses and Shoes.

I also had my first official Office Christmas Party, oh my! did I fret! The Dress Code said ‘Dress to Impress’ the none-specificity almost made my brain explode, Impress who? what? why? Still, I managed to find something after running a hurricane through my room.

The party was really well done, fake smoke, snow, a cross-dresser, live band and a big club, great! However being in a place out of my comfort zone, was tasking. My first drink was a spritzer and then I went on to observe my colleagues in this environment. Had long chats that made me wonder why chatting is encouraged in clubs, I would need an amplifier for my mouth and a reciever for my ear next time.

What I really love is that although I left the party at about 12 am, ( this pained me as the best music just started playing but it was either the last train or £70 cab fare) I managed to leave with some useful nuggets.

Bosses are human too. 

I managed to see a number of my bosses even in the dim light, and even met the CEO at the door. It seemed, well surreal; how could anybody be intimidated by anyone here, I thought. So, do people really change depending on environments? I don’t think so. It now seems quite ridiculous that back at work, one would allow another person no matter the rank intimidate them. We are all made of the same flesh and bone, really.

Everyone loves a good time.

I am not kidding, everyone was knocking back drinks and digging it on the dance (in the limited way they could) It was amazing seeing everyone in a good mood. I immediately connected this to the worksphere. I think one of my tasks is to make sure that those that depend on me for one thing or the other, have a good time. Users, Business, Colleagues, Bosses…if I can do one thing everyday that makes them have a good time, I will be pleased (It’s also likely I’d get a raise :D)

Always take responsibility.

I only had three glasses of alcohol; a spritzer, a wonderful cocktail with syrup and rum, a glass of champagne. I could have had more, but I thought if I wanted to leave at 12am (my initial exit time was 10pm) and in one piece, taking more would be funny. There is always a point where you can either say Yes or No, where you can analyze the decisions you are taking and choosing whichever. People that say, ‘I had no choice’ make me wonder. I could decide to do my work better or just laze around all day, All I would need to ask myself is what I am trying to achieve and own up to what ever choice I take, even if it is tumbling into a £70 cab at 4am.

Fret Not.

Everyone was too busy having a nice time to really notice what I wore, though I had a number of compliments. One of my colleagues even wore a teeshirt and jeans just as he had gone to work. The aim of the party was to have a good time, and have fun as workmates, so why did I sweat the small stuff. I learnt that focusing on the important things will be more rewarding anytime, how do you know what is important? Look at the overall aim or goal of the task (Agile swears by this).

You can learn in any situation.

I had a long chat with two people, in that limited time, learnt quite a bit. There was a discussion on lots, from drugs to careers to countries. The party itself gave me something to take away with, and even though I wasn’t exactly ‘into’ it, I was happy.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

The Day Runneth Over

Happy December! Can’t believe it’s already here, this time last year I was preparing for my Graduation ceremony in Newcastle Upon Tyne while it was snowing like crazy. Now, I have spent two months at my current place of employment (so official..ok still on probation so not quite ‘official’) yet.

It’s been a nice ride so far. I am in sector I knew absolute zero about, in terms of operation, before going in. However as a Designer and a UX-er, you deal with people, and there’s people everywhere, so it makes it easier to move from sector to sector. I have learnt so much on the job, especially being in an Agile environment. What I didn’t expect was to have a second German Boss in a row lol, it’s all good. I love that they are stickler’s for accuracy and pay great attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture. It sure takes some experience to get there. Presently for me, the big picture is what I see clearly, and if I get into details I can get lost easily. Learning otherwise won’t be easy but will be definitely, definitely worth it. One other thing I love about work, is the people around me, Italian, Spanish, French, Swedish, South African…not a single Brit!..I kid. It’s a lovely atmosphere to be in 🙂

It hasn’t all been dandy, My ‘boss’ has done things I’ve had to forgive him over, and discuss with him, while I have done things which have angered him, and I hope he has forgiven me (i’m sure he has) It is a learning process after all. I mentioned to him that he has to call me out if he saw or felt like I wasn’t making some progress in my work. Even having a day off today due to illness grates on my nerves (:P).  I am anti-stagnancy.

One more month before I’m off probation, and it will be a New Year. I look forward to wonderful things, a better workflow, better relationships and maybe even moving closer to work (50mins commute is no joke :O) I look forward to the best, a life without regret.

Empathy: Thoughts That Count.

First impressions matter, most people say and many have come to accept it. Why should it? really?. It’s been tried and tested out that our ‘impressions’ are always filled with known and unknown bias. It is like someone who goes to search for an image of a banana on the internet. The search engine turns up all sorts, obscene, rude, vulgar images from the internet database you may have to see, before you come across the actual image you want. Our brain is like that, a database of information collected from any and everywhere knowingly and unknowingly. So when you meet someone or see something, most of the image associated with that thing that you have encountered, your brain throws up and then you begin to make your jugement. Does this really portray who you are or what the thing is, no. This tells me that there is a need for some kind of control. This is why filters exist on the internet search, so you can hone in quickly on what you are searching for. We need to have filters.

 I just finished reading Blink! by Malcom Gladwell and he really did drive home the point. There are only two situations where first impressions matter. One, where the ‘second’ impression validates the first and two, where one has learnt to control the first impression. Basically, our snap judgements/decisions must be controlled and well-informed. This would only come through filters that help us focus on the important things which in turn, form our decisions. The book shows that these filter are built up by experience, it will come easy for some people and not so easy for others. It may not be easy to explain, but one has to have an awareness of this.

As a UX person and citizen of the world, the need to build and use these filters  is necessary. I always have to interact with people both directly and indirectly, if this is an inevitable part of life, I think it makes sense to spend a good deal of time in understanding these people one has to interact with. Also, the more one understands something, the less likely one is, to abuse it. The more one understands the people they are designing for, the less likely to abuse the privilege e.g by designing an unusable for product. I have to make snap decisions lots of times, while designing e.g going for a particular feature over another. I now know that my ‘gut feeling’ is being informed by something I have encountered or experienced in the past. To harness this ‘gut feeling’ I definitely have to do a lot filtering to make sure, that my gut feeling is well informed and objective in the situation.

While I continue on this journey,( because practice makes perfect) I realize that Empathy is one key filter. Empathy helps you to focus when you encounter a human being. On the most basic level, you know this person is just like you. I think this is a quality that UXers cannot afford to skimp on. We’d be lying if we say that our first impressions don’t matter. First impressions are formed by our experiences and environment, this means we can indeed control/change them. We have a choice. We can choose the experiences, we want to be a part of or how we process these experiences if inevitable. This article, “Using Empathic Listening to Collaborate” by Stephen Covey adds salient points. Empathy will go a long way in helping us build on the thoughts that count making us better designers and better human beings.

Some People

Take a look at this before reading

I don’t think I’m the only one that would have done this. But since my earliest memories, I remember that whenever I pass certain people on the street or wherever, I used to imagine myself as being them..where they have come from and where they are going. I create these stories to give reason to why they are the particular way they are, as I interact with them in that moment.

When I saw this piece I was like, how apt!!

As I grew older, it was like I lost this, or maybe I had too much other stuff on mind. Now I see the importance, especially as a UX person. I’m quite sure I was being prepared by this. We make so many judgements everyday without knowing where people are coming from. I remember at a job interview for a customer service job. I told the interviewer that I didn’t just want to smile without having real feelings behind it. I feel the key to truly succeeding in a customer service job (User Experience now and even life as a whole) is to try to understand people. And in that moment you interact with them try to be the best human being. Maybe they just need a smile, someone to reassure them that they are still alive..you know..things like that.

Time: My Calendar

Jun 14, 2010

I always make mini-calendars, I love knowing what I am doing in every day, and I love to map out things for three months at a stretch. mark the things I’ve done and what not, helps me to keep my self and mind in check because of my tendency to drift, daydream, and do the complete opposite of things I should be doing.

iNokia

I have used a number of Nokia phones in my life, 3310, 7250i, 9210i communicator, 6630, 6020, N95. Some of which were given to me, I won one in a competition and the rest I exchanged with my siblings.

I like the phones, because they are very durable and user friendly, especially the simpler versions, which one uses basically for calls and text-messaging. I’ve been using my N95 for almost 4yrs now. I haven’t been tempted to take on any other. The camera was a big ‘selling-point’ for me. Plus I can browse the web,play games and music as I want. I’m not such a big fan of touch phones, thats why getting the iPhone 4 (despite my apple-fan girlness) hasn’t been a priority.

I’m so proud of my N95. It’s been through so much, been stolen and returned, It’s fallen from heights I can’t even write, because of general unbelief. Only problem I’ve had is the back cover, it never stayed on. But yeah, It’s been a faithful friend 🙂


Identified Issue : Train Travel

Working on the Percy Hedley project really stimulated my mind. I had to travel a lot NCL-KGX, KGX-NCL, Family matters and what not. Frankly I am as tired as Thinking ‘outside the box’ but I have been doing my own thinking inside the trains that look like rectangle boxes. And one thing that struck me was the need to have an efficient/effective system of checking train tickets to make sure people actually pay for their trips. Honestly its not funny, when I pay 69 quid for a ticket and someone just saunters in and out on the same trip.

Some cracks I personally experienced, for example there was a time I did sleep off and didn’t have my ticket checked. I could have gotten on that train with none. I know many have done this, stayed in toilets and things like that, but basically travelled without payment of any form.

There are systems in place to check tickets at some of the stations before and after you get on board, while on board, a train employee comes around to stamp such tickets. That cannot be the best of jobs when you have passengers come on from different stops, getting off at different stops, there has to be a way, I would have suggested this as a project we take on in MDI, but alas, I’m done with it..Maybe this years intake could tackle it.

Personally, i have just gotten to understand the transportation methods over the past months i’ve been here. And while this issue is identified, I think its expedient to harness creativity which can tackle this issue. Not only is the Experience of the Users hectic, the companies will be losing money along the line.

There has to be a way. *Thinking* *Researching*

One idea I have is RFID tagging, and also looking at the part Mobile communication can play in this, ensuring a higher UX..coming soon!

Why UX? Passion.

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

UX and Social Design

Nigeria tried to conduct free and fair elections today on the parliamentary level. Sadly it’s been chaos, and the elections have been postponed to Monday.

I have been following the issue on twitter and as a UX designer I couldn’t help but absorb the emotions of those involved in the process as they tweeted their frustration. The UX of the whole event was -100%.

I honestly cannot claim to understand how it all works now, but I will do research on election processes. I am sure there is a better way of doing things, that maximize present resources, because lack of resources seem to be the cause of the chaos of today.

Some ideas came to me as I thought about it a few minutes ago,

Why can’t the elections be held state by state? or a particular number of states on a certain day. Result is stored and collated and at the end of three days, put togther and announced, instead of trying to mash it all up on one day because we are yet to reach that level of commitment and seamlessness in our projects. Many tweeted that project management skills were grossly lacking and I agree with that too.

This is just one step, but I’m going to give it much thought after my research.

 

Looking Back

When the project was wrapped up, I felt relieved. It really is tasking, especially for someone like me, working on a team, and on such a project that draws so much on my emotions.

But in all, I was glad I had learned so much, Especially on areas I would love to take on to future clients and as a career. I am also glad that we were able to give back to the client something tangible that would be useful now and in future. It would be great to work with the Foundation again at some point.

Looking back at the objectives I had set for myself at the start, I can say that I managed to get to some, If not all of them.

Communication skills : I wanted to get better at Presenting and Writing Documents, So most times I presented strategies and processes to my teammates and I also decided to be the one who begins the final presentation for the Client. I wrote and contributed to some of the following documents.

  • Project Initiation Document
  • Meeting Reports
  • Strategy Document for Equipments and Environment (User Space)
  • Outcome and Future Development document for design of equipments and environment
  • Project Report and Log
  • Final Presentation

Teaching others and nurturing creativity in my team mates:

I helped in some areas to critically analyze the design of some of the things my teammates did, the Design of Plinths by Bogdan, Leaflets design by Victoria, I was genuinely concerned for the safety of users. In my first degree we were taught ‘Safety first’ and I tried to put that across. I also gave some little thoughts on Interviewing techniques, Gave presentations on process maps to help with a better understanding of the big picture.

Honing of Interpersonal skills:

This is not the easiest area for me, but I tried to show as much enthusiasm possible about other people’s live and how the project has affected them, and what they would like to take on to the future. In doing this, it made me ask, Is it necessary for team mates to be friends for a good working relationship? I realised that no, while friendship may not be necessary it is important that every team member has mutual respect for every other person as a Human and as people with something to give (skills and abilities).

Analytical abilities: I have worked well at analyzing the present situation and creating Illustrations which showed processes before and after. I believe this could be one of my biggest strengths

Commitment to projects: I realised that across the year, when I start a project, there is an initial burst of energy, which I start with, depending on the type of project or people I work with, it begins to dwindle and at the end of the project, I hardly have an interest in it.  But now, I have learnt that this shouldn’t be dependent on anyone. It is OK to lose steam sometimes, but it would be up to me to breathe life in to myself and the project. This thought made me stay from the beginning of this project to the end without almost the same energy levels.

Leadership skills: While the team mates where equal on every level. I took leadership in some areas. I got to understand that the leadership style I prefer or that I am more comfortable in, is that of a guide. I tried to guide my team mates and help them in the understanding of some areas. I believe there is still a lot to be done here, especially as I go on in my future career. But it has definitely taken off.

Problem-solving skills: There are certain areas I have felt really drawn to, User experience, Strategy and Service Design. these are areas I believe would help me solve problems better. I have employed quite a bit on this project and would be taking them on to future ‘problems’, clients and projects.

Genuine interest in job context: I formed a genuine interest in the project from the very start, which I believe helped me. I wouldn’t really be able to work on a project if this is lacking. One thing I learned is that, every project has gold. Whilst some people on the course talked about how the projects were ‘nothing to write home about’ It only made me understand more that there is something in everything. Nothing should be pushed aside because it is not funky or cool enough. The lesson should be to find something valuable in every project. If not for yourself but for someone else. This should be the mindset of Design-Thinkers.

Finally, I am so glad to have been on this course and the P.H Project. I have worked with people who have really shown their strengths and enthusiasm. I would be using all I have learnt here with future projects and clients. It has been great!

Review and control

At this point, the project is nearing an end. All we have been doing is tying up loose ends. I just reviewed all I had done so far, went over the maps, made changes were necessary. Completed all outstanding documents, design, booklet and maps, concepts sketches.

Went through Andrew Sutton books, Last year in jerusalem

A system for overcoming motor disorder by Agnes

 

P.H Conductive Center Layout.

Some created information leaflets

Project Execution 2

We were still on project execution, so everyone had their various tasks to focus on while we still met up every now and then to have some input and see how things have been progressing. We all had tasks under our set objectives

With the help of Ideo method Cards with B got from the library I played around with User Experience and touch points, It helped me look at the design methods we had utilized and see what areas we needed inputs in.

I looked into the Service Design and researched on behavioural patterns of middle-aged to old people (our main target group)

There was a discussion around the leaflets and some alternatives were proposed and executed, designing a booklet was proposed by B. Which I decided to do.

Some ideas for Leaflets and booklet;

My Dissertation

So here I am again with my many thoughts, still no outlet, still no refinement to them. what canIi do. Even my supervisor does not still quite understand my research question. This is just a dissertation. Why am I trying to be so complex. I could have picked something simpler.. shouldn’t I?.

Key Insights from my this last meeting with my supervisor Dr. Nick Spencer.

  • One, FOCUS!
  • Two, Aim to prove your question wrong.

I should have been blogging about this here, probably would have helped keep me stay a bit focused. So my Topic is about the dangers having or holding on to single narratives have on innovation within teams.

There are things I  need to focus on;

  • What is this single narrative?
  • What is innovation?
  • What sort of teams?

I am leaning strongly towards ‘Racial’ narratives, but i know this will be a difficult nut to crack.

Creativity is Raw Energy

What is Creativity? 

Who owns creativity? How do you measure it? These are some of the questions my colleagues pose. I have attempted a good think about it and realized those questions shouldn’t be the matter of discussion.

As stated by quite a few at the SenseWorldwide event and also across the world, I am sure many people believe creativity is inherent in every human. In my viewpoint Creativity is like Raw Energy. There’s nothing much you can do with it if it is latent. It has to be harnessed. And once harnessed, channeled through the right points (enablers) and then, used for outcomes which would ultimately be of benefit to mankind.

So the questions to ask end up being,

  1. How can it be harnessed in the first place and refined?
  2. How is creativity channeled?
  3. What’s the best way to do so?
  4. What are the enablers and disablers?
  5. What sort of outcomes do we expect from this harnessed creativity?

So far: Project Execution 1

We reviewed our project log  and tried to get everyone’s input in. It would have been much useful if we indeed kept everyone updated on these things at the very start. By creating process maps i tried to make sure everything we had was tied in together, after all this is one project, even though we have all these objectives. We needed to apply Service design to what we did. Somethings i had began to work on,

  • User Journey Map
  • Personas
  • Stakeholder map

Consult:

  • Design council
  • Livework.co.uk

Service design is all about making the service you deliver useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable Good service design is the process of deliberately crafting our experience and delivery of services, to make them more valuable for the people that use and provide them.’–Nick Marsh

After a little bit of work I had to travel to London, to get ready for the discussions with Sense Worldwide on the 7th of July. I put down a couple of sketches, of my ‘Lego’ idea. I know everything i had for the Equipment Design is basically conceptual nevertheless useful to have. Wednesday Minor Accidents and Sense worldwide talk. Spoke to one of the participants about what the project and tabled some of the issues I had

Where is the innovation?

Working with no shared vision, how possible?

Think Lego

So while we begin to Ideate around the equipment design and user space, Something came to my mind which I passed on to Bogdan. ‘Think Lego’. Riding also on the principle that Aggi the conductor gave to us K.I.S.S.  Project execution begins from this week and I felt it would be good to have such principles at the back of our minds.

The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The Company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder. The Lego brick in its present form was launched in 1958. The interlocking principle with its tubes makes it unique, and offers unlimited building possibilities. It’s just a matter of getting the imagination going – and letting a wealth of creative ideas emerge through play.

I played with Lego when i was much younger and I can’t begin to quantify the joy we got out of it, anyways the Lego principle as relates to design, is one where you start with the simplest of things and use it to build up more complex things like how Lego does, what more, its easy to move about and take apart and then made into something else.

From our interview with Agnes the conductor, we got the equipments had to be founded on the following

  • Adaptability
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Warmness
  • Friendliness
  • Accessiblity

All the things that Lego embodies.

Also, considering our DNA, the building blocks of our lives, was something to ponder on.

International Design Symposium: Designing a Better World

I marked my calendar to attend this event on the 16th, but it was going to clash with a client meeting. So I definitely had to make my priorities right. Client comes first and then, in the afternoon I was able to attend the key-note presentation. The speaker was Josephine Green, I was really happy I was able to make it but even more excited about what she was talking about.

Engaging with the Future Differently, From Pyramids to Pancakes

This explored the need for and the emergence of new social and cultural narratives and their societal and organisational contexts and consequences. Josephine highlighted the need to nurture new growth areas, decentralise Strategy, Research, Innovation and Design, distribute creativity and embrace complexity through new organisational, cultural and leadership models.

The need for new narratives..kept ringing in my head.

I began to sketch a couple of ideas that popped into my head at the time, just trying to generate a clearer picture of her speech. I began to think about new ways to look at the Participants of Conductive Education, new ways to look at the service, new ways for a better system. Thinking that this might be the key to solutions for the challenges presented.

It was a great speech.

Ideation start.

For this week so far, we started off making clear of our Aims and the Objectives we all sought to meet. I put it to everyone to be specific on team roles and also to give ourselves titles because I felt this is something that could go into our CVs.

Also we looked at our schedule, and the plan that Katie had produced with the help of, that I gave her

DEFINE :  Whats the issue? Who is the audience? Urgent? How will it be successful?

RESEARCH : History of issue? Examples of attempts to solve, Project supporters, Investors and critics, Talk to end users, Get leaders opinion

IDEATE : Identify needs and motivations, generate ideas, log sessions, one conversation

PROTOTYPE : Combine, Expand, Refine, Seek Feedback

CHOOSE : Review the objective, select the powerful ideas

IMPLEMENT : Make task descriptors, Plan tasks, Determine resources, Assign tasks.

LEARN!

Which became this,

Project Definition and Initiation

  • Site Visit(s)
  • Problem definition
  • Project exploration
  • Project Selection

Research and Planning

  • Background research
  • Project timescale decided
  • Project plan created

Ideation

  • Brainstorming
  • Further research
  • Site visit(s)
  • Review objectives

Project Execution/Production

  • Proposition creation
  • Site visits

Monitor and Control

  • Review Objectives
  • Client Feedback
  • End user feedback?
  • Project Handover

Final Handover/Presentation

To start our Ideation process, we brainstormed and produced a mind map of what we had at hand and identified areas to further take on.

Katie and Victoria would be on tasks which revolve round marketing, and promotion. While I and Bogdan would focus on Equipments and the Environment. At this point, I wanted to just keep my eyes on the larger picture,  overseeing how each area feeds into the other.

On the project

Personally, I was a bit disappointed..just a bit disappointed to find out I was on this project, it was third on my preference list. But I just took it with the fact that

  • We don’t always get what we want..at the top of my list was the Amazing group.
  • I am always ready for challenges and surprises, I am very adaptable.
  • The fact that I get to add value in this capacity is very heart-warming and fulfilling

My Team Mates

Bogdan, I have worked with him once on the Whitley Bay enterprise project. I like his energy, enthusiasm, and ability to think wide, not just outside the proverbial box

but critically look at things, he does get bogged down by details

Victoria and Katie, I am really keen to see how they work and how we get along.

I wasn’t around the first week, starting on the 25th of May, but I had been sent the rules of engagement, a bit miffed that there was no formal report on the first meeting which I could have read through but I made a point to make a brief report of subsequent meetings.

We were able to go together on the 3rd of June, We met with David Barker, who really surprised me, I was taken unawares by his state, but it didn’t seem to bother him, in fact I became a bit too conscious of myself.

One of my fears with taking on this project was the tendency to get overly emotional, when working around people with disabilities. While we took walks, an informal tour of all the facilities, I had tears in my eyes. I have a tendency to go from a very tiny detail to the world, to zoom out and gaze at the big picture.

I began to think of a lot of stuff, how grateful people should be and stop complaining, because we should all be thankful for whatever place we are in. I tried to compose myself and focus on the project, but some things wouldn’t just leave my head.

An INFJ Designer

 

I came up as an INFJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test and I agree with this up to 90%

What’s it like to be me?

1. The quest for more knowledge

The meaning of life, the philosophical questions—my mind is always occupied, and what’s exciting is when I get to follow through with an insight and do something. I am an abstract future thinker, looking at things from different perspectives. I’m about the relationships and possibilities and enjoy anything with deeper meaning that leaves me wondering, with more questions to ask and things to untangle. Connecting for me means being able to intuitively ask questions of people to get them to go deeper into the things they are talking about.

2. Inspiring others

Helping people find their purpose or meaning, being a different kind of leader from what’s traditional—that’s really gratifying. I just do that naturally. The challenge is opening up people’s minds to have their own original thoughts. I’m a listener and guide.

3. Structure and Plans

I tend to approach my day with a structured way of getting things accomplished. People see me as organized, thorough, and easy to get along with, pulling my own weight and eager to help out when called upon. But I’m not as outgoing or as critical as I may sometimes appear. I need a balance between people contact and working on creative projects and will break away from interactions when I get tired out. If I don’t have some long-term goals, then what’s the point?

4. People Connections

I tend to intuitively read people very quickly, but I have to be cautious not to make assumptions. I’m an observer. I get a feeling when people are interesting, and I watch from a distance, make some assessments about the situation, and then approach them and engage in conversation. I put a little bit out and a little more and see how that goes. Do I trust and like them, are they who they say?

I have a few deep friendships. A friendship comes best when it is worked to develop that investment. I quickly pick up on sincerity and withdraw if the person is superficial or obviously doesn’t care. When I see people who abuse their power or won’t stand behind what they say, that ticks me off. It’s about integrity. I feel other people’s feelings, and taking on that burden can make me too intense and serious, where I can’t be spontaneous and fun loving…

5. Life

Everything revolves around growth. Caring is about the ability to help others grow. What I bring is caring about people, not things. If we spent more time trying to understand each other’s point of view, to communicate more effectively, we would grow. In an honest, open, sincere relationship, I can accomplish anything. My challenge is to create those kinds of relationships.

I respect most the person who is willing to come forth and be an individual—to make the world a better place, or make a difference in a person’s life, where we reach each other’s hearts.

 

Adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999)

Heading to Final

So here I am, sat in my aunty’s in London, thought i was gonna travel for a mini-break, before our final projects really take off, only to be saddled by news of the death of a relative. The house was in a solemn and sober mood. I couldn’t help but think about my future, and where i have come through from last year.

What outcomes did i hope to get off this course?  My parents want me to be at the top of the class, but is that a true measurement of success. Yes, in the world we know it..but really? No. Looking back at the beginnings of this course, if i draw a graph of my learning outcomes, it would be quite steep. That is where success lies for me. i was concerned about lots of things at the start but have learnt enough to disband those thoughts.

I was supposed to present my semester 2 portfolio in front of the class, but i wasn’t in the right frame of mind, this is one area of learning i had identified though, allowing personal things to affect your professional status, granted some things happen which cant be helped.

Over this year alone, a couple of people i know have died, and only just once in the studio did i burst out in tears cause i found out on facebook, He had been shot, horrifying. But then again its this life and the world keeps turning, all we can do is to try to build up the world positively, atleast make it a little better for someone else.

With this i head to the final leg of my year.

Second Semester

Brand new year, Brand new month, Brand new semester. I am so happy to see the last one go, there are so many things I did wrong, so many things i want to right. Last semester was more of observation for me and i can see how much i was lacking in skills and  so many aspects of my life. The projects came and went and i never had the sense of why things were done a certain way, why things could not be done in some other way.

Well on this new, its like a breathe of fresh air for me. Many things are definitely clearer to me. We have a couple of projects lined up and i really can’t wait to apply these acquired skills and new knowledge to them. Also, i’m defining my self and how i would be seen in the outside world.

I have Four modules to tackle;

Design Context

Business Context

Inter-Disciplinary Context

Familiarization Project

I wish myself all the best in tackling all these. To become an efficient teamplayer, and achieve all my set goals and targets.

Reflection on the Semester.

Reflection is a crucial experience we must carry out at one point or the other in our lives. And as i take my mind over the past semester and the projects and people i have been involved with, i know i can learn a number of things.

First of all, this has been a very big learning curve for me. I have been completely thrown out of my comfort zone (working independently and alone) i always  felt i could get work done better done that way. While working on these projects, i did feel at times subdued, even while i contributed, i didn’t feel i was giving my best, i felt overshadowed because of my tendency to want to have a clear picture of how things would go, look at all options and come to a logical explanation for the best path to take. Secondly, i tried to develop certain skills like presentation skills, I opted to do most of the presentations even amidst hostility for example where some students purposely decided to disrupt on one occasion by coughing in fits. i take it all and move ahead.

One the First and Second projects,  i almost had a clear idea of the path we were going down. I was ON the project, i felt i was active, i liked that tasks were assigned and events were mostly well planned, there was a good level of communication amongst involved parties. But the Third project, at first we didn’t seem to have a direction but things started to have shape, and being in an uncomfortable position later on, communication got skewered, the team didn’t keep me up to date with what was going on, even when i requested for information, it was all vague. I did what i could do at the time but i realize i should have put more effort into each and every one of the projects i worked on.

These are some I’m going to carry on into the next semester and the things i resolved to do

1, To get more active within groups, i know i am uncomfortable but if i must go out there and get things done, i have to get over this.
2, Documenting my research and output in better ways
3, Communicating and giving feedback effectively
4, Documenting my ideas as they come up so i don’t lose track.

Going Further with Project Live

As we wrapped up the project, I took a look back at what had been done, what I expected and what I wanted to happen next. I really liked the project, it is one I would like to see taken far, it was something exportable. I see myself setting up similar in Nigeria.

Process and Ideas

Design Process

 

On every project I realized how important it was for me to have a form of structure. I needed a process for a practical and creative resolution of these issues. This really helped me give some form to the project

DEFINE :  Whats the issue? Who is the audience? Urgent? How will it be successful?

RESEARCH : History of issue? Examples of attempts to solve, Project supporters, Investors and critics, Talk to end users, Get leaders opinion

IDEATE : Identify needs and motivations, generate ideas, log sessions, conversations

PROTOTYPE : Combine, Expand, Refine, Seek Feedback

CHOOSE : Review the objective, Select the powerful ideas

IMPLEMENT : Make task descriptors, Plan tasks, Determine resources, Assign tasks.

LEARN!

Meet the Class

 

MDI – Multidisciplinar Design Innovation.

I resumed on the course a bit late due to some unforseen circumstances on the part of the University, so I felt a sense of urgency to begin as soon as possible. I contacted the MDI programme Leader Mr Mark Bailey, and he arranged to have me inducted alongside another student into the course, the following day.

The next day I felt ready to begin and take on any challenge, I was also very keen to meet those I would be spending the next year with. I felt slightly disappointed with the turn out, I expected a really culturally diverse class with a number of mature students, but I knew I would get over this. Also one project had already been done, so it meant teams had already been formed, so I had to join any team.

Kirsten , Lindsey, Graeme and Andrew, my first teammates took me in with no troubles and they introduced me to the current project.

Off to a good start, I had thought as I ended my first day on the course.