This issue of BeingDesignerly focuses on innovation and creativity, including the principle of simplicity, the benefit of focus, and getting into your audience's mind.
Read about Ben & Jerry innovating flavors from home (a cool Work-From-Home job), how a bank's virtual agent is standing up against harassment, how Renault Used LEGOs To Design Its E-Tech Hybrid System, and a few more curated designerly reads.
And finally, if you think you'll miss Calibri, have your say in the battle for the next default font.
Create More Than You Consume
A few issues ago, BeingDesignerly featured Bezos' stepping-down-as-CEO-announcement and his signoff line: ‘Let Curiosity Be Your Compass’ - good designerly advice for everyone.
A few days ago, his last letter as CEO, featured storytelling, customer focus, and ended with: "be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings." - maybe my kids will finally listen now that B-man said it!
While this could be filed under news or inspiration, I felt it was most appropriate as a featured item.
How Steve Jobs' #1 Design Principle Can Transform Your Daily Life
TL;DR - Simplicity. It's something we talked about in our previous issue as well (see To Instantly Boost Your Creativity, Think Subtraction, New Study Suggests)
"The simplest steps are the ones you don’t take."
Steve Jobs Never Turned Off His iPhone Except For This One Reason. You Should Too
Another article about Jobs, another TL;DR to battle click-baitey titles. Disconnect and focus. Jobs would turn off his phone during his "playtime" in the Apple design lab. Yes, creativity is a gift, but like all designerly habits, it can be cultivated.
Set aside time to play, or whatever drives you to create. And if you need more tips, our previous issue highlighted them: Smartphone too distracting? Here’s how to reclaim your focus
How I sparked my creativity by brainstorming like a kid
5 techniques on finding your creative spark - for times when you’re short on inspiration, this article has a few ways to reframe your thoughts and break through to better ideas.
One designerly tactic is: "Get into your audience's mindset" - read about this and the others
At Ben & Jerry’s, ice cream innovation persevered through the pandemic
Last year, Ben & Jerry’s created nearly 40 new products, making it their most innovative year ever, by using smart glasses and other technologies to create and test new flavors in their home kitchens.
Apart from remotely collaborating, their flavor gurus were shipped new Cuisinart home ice cream makers, allowing them to continue creating flavor based on a prompt, like nostalgic childhood desserts, or holidays, with a goal of sparking ideas and creativity. Along with the new flavor, the creator writes up a one-sheet description and presents the work to the rest of the team.
Though none of these flavors will probably make it to the freezer of your local grocery store anytime soon, the process is serving its purpose to keep the R&D team connected and creating.
Salivating much? Read the article to satiate those curiosity tastebuds!
User Experience Challenges
One way to get better at anything is by practicing. This site has real-world UX exercises to help you sharpen your UX skills and is useful for beginners and experts.
Free design systems courses
Ethan Marcotte (yes, the responsive-web-design guy) launched four new courses on design systems, and they’re available for free at Aquent Gymnasium.
Design systems work feels challenging partly because “creating a design system” means something different at every organization. Researching design systems can quickly take one down a rabbit hole.
The four courses are organized around roles: Developers, Designers, Product Managers, and Everyone. Pick the one of the first three, or if you need a grounding, pick the last one. Enjoy!
Brazilian bank's virtual assistant now confronts her abusers
After facing harassment since she was introduced in 2018, Banco Bradesco's virtual assistant BIA now stands up to abusers and demands respect. Last year alone, BIA received around 95,000 messages that could be categorized as sexual harassment. Like most other chatbots, BIA was programmed to respond to abuse in a subservient or passive way, attempting to be polite and helpful even when faced with vile speech.
Now, BIA no longer attempts to remain friendly at all costs. When customers insult or attempt to demean her, she responds with a "don't talk to me like that," demands respect and will even cite articles of criminal law.
Way to go!
How do we create structure and engagement when we are working apart?
That's a question many of us dealt with this time last year, especially those of us facilitating design sprints. Google created a comprehensive design sprint resource to help others figure out when to work synchronously and asynchronously and then integrate those two modes seamlessly to get the best results.
But these tips, tools and resources can also be applied to remote collaboration, not just design sprints.
Figma Launches a Multiplayer Whiteboard Tool Called FigJam
I love Fig Jam, FROG jam, and even Fig Newtons.... but wait, that's not what they're talking about here, are they?
The pandemic gave rise to many remote collaboration and whiteboarding tool and this is the latest one from the offices of prototyping tool Figma. I'm all for brand consistency, but Figjam? As with all tools, give this a shot to see if it will replace your current tool.
In case you were wondering, FROG is an acronym for: Fig, Rhubarb, Orange, Ginger, and it's delicious!
Renault Used LEGOs To Design Its E-Tech Hybrid System
One of Renault’s designers used LEGOs to design the hybrid transmission available on some of their vehicles. There's a video describing it, but unlike a kit, the designer bought it piece by piece and then completed the model in 20 hours. Bringing that to life for real world use took 18 months.
The tactile nature of the LEGO set allowed Nicolas Fremau, Renault’s Hybrid Architecture Expert, to play with things, take them apart, and try out designs that he wouldn’t have really thought of on paper. Having a small but functional product to experiment with in the physical plane was definitely a benefit.
BeingDesignerly involves experimenting and iterating.
Beyond Calibri: Finding Microsoft’s next default font
Microsoft is replacing its default Office font next year and commissioned five new custom fonts for Office, in a move away from the Calibri font that has been the default in Microsoft Office for nearly 15 years.
I am torn between Grandview and Tenorite - what's your favorite?
UNTIL NEXT TIME
I hope you enjoyed this issue, and the articles about innovation, creativity, tactile prototyping with LEGO, and free tools and resources.
If you think someone would benefit from Being Designerly, please forward it to them.
I'm looking for feedback, of the brutally honest kind, so this can improve over time. You can reach me at lycerejo (at) gmail.com - thank you!