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Senior Designer & Strategist in the🇨🇭Banking industry. Critical / UX / Design / Systems / Complexity thinker, learner, practitioner.

Mapping islands: context topography

The explorer’s metaphor is a series of articles that aim to provide an introduction to sensemaking and complexity management for designers, managers, and decision-makers. Read here part 1 and part 2.

Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps).

Territory mapping

Sensemaking is about creating a coherent approximation of the terrain. It is the act of creating an understanding of an unclear situation or context.

The territory here is an abstract construction (not to be taken…

Discovering Islands

The explorer’s metaphor is a series of articles that aim to provide an introduction to sensemaking and complexity management for designers, managers, and decision-makers. Read part 1 here.

You are explorers. You are navigating on (more or less) calm seas and see on the horizon an island. You don’t know how big the island is, or what to find there. If you were to land on its shore, you wouldn’t know where you are because you don’t have any point of reference yet. …

Sailing Complexity: introduction to sensemaking & complexity for designers, managers, and decision-makers.

An invitation to be explorers, not just problem-solvers

We tend to see design and innovation as problem-solving spaces. This engineering and sometimes mechanistic approach is not bad in itself but brings a lot of limitations, one major being to quickly frame whatever challenge into a narrow, finite, solution.

When facing uncertainty, designers, and changemakers might feel unempowered. We look for recipes and pre-packaged generalist solutions — “the answer”, that sells an illusion of certainty through the economy of speed — to help us disambiguate our very specific contexts.

Problem-solvers look for answers. Explorers look for better questions.

Rather, challenges should elicit curiosity to bring diversity in perspectives because…

Yet another lengthy reply to Design Sprint proponents’ claims.

Photo by Kumpan Electric on Unsplash

🔥 TL;DR;

The main claim is that the Design Sprint (Jake Knapp, Google) is a great tool for gaining a deep understanding of the problem context and users' motivations, if well executed. I reply that this not a matter of execution but goals and that it was never the point for the Design Sprint to gain a deep understanding of anything.

The Design Sprints' main goal is to move quickly from idea to materialization, with a minimum understanding of the problem, to validate it (the metric is speed), which make (kinda) sense in the context it was invented in (Google Ventures).

📝 Long reply


A reply to a Shopify UX Designer’s article.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash


🔥 TL;DR;

The criticism made by the author here is that [Design Thinking] does not take reality (and its complexity) into account. My answer is that it was never the point.

📝 Long answer

The main commentary on this article is both understandable and erroneous. What the author criticizes are the ‘ontological concepts’ that are supposed to represent “The Design Process” — one of the many reasons I came to think that ‘design is in an epistemological crisis’.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

Several points to note here:

  1. these concepts (like the double-diamond, design thinking, etc.) were designed to communicate…

A discussion with Pascal Briod from

Photo by Edi Kurniawan on Unsplash

In this episode, we discuss with Pascal Briod, Head of Product at Monito, about user research and UX design in a Startup company.

From the very inception of the company to managing a growing team of UX & UI professionals, Pascal had to basically learn & practice many aspects of design & product management at the same time. This helped him build a very pragmatic approach to UX, research, and design decision.

🔗 About Monito

Monito is a Swiss-based company, specialized in money transfer provider comparison.

🔥 Monito is looking for a Senior UX/UI Designer and a Product Manager. Find out more

Cold washing; Mixed linen; Max spin; Start, repeat.

We should be even more skeptical when we want to believe.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The “new wave” of business management and innovation “truths” are mainly about selling a point. They often advertise models, not to help you work with reality and be less wrong, but instead are nice & shiny ideas that have the potential to sell books & conferences and, altogether, help their author gain a place in the pantheon of “those who make authority”, not because they’re necessarily right about anything but because they “convinced” others to believe in them. …

And how designer & innovators could do it right

There is a lot of discussion going on about ethics in Tech, Design, innovation, etc. many of them revolve around (legitimately) the societal consequences of companies’ decisions. One of the logical steps is to look for public institutions and our politics to intervene, regulate, etc. but institutions are slow and mainly work through systematic audits & expensive fines to incentivise change in behavior. How does it even apply to innovations?

Another perspective would be to address the subject by involving organisations directly, and, for instance, see how we can transition businesses to different models that help them make better…

The thing that prevents you to do “what should be done”.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Hi everyone, Kevin here.

Some times ago, I proposed the concept of “space-for-action barrier” as a potentially useful description of the conditions of a context that hinders your ability to act & learn in a “necessary space” because of imposed constraints.

I recently wanted to extend it a bit further and provide a path through it, in the light of 1) some words of wisdom from D. Snowden and; 2) my own, surely limited, understanding of his work at Cognitive Edge and my endeavor through Systems & Complexity themes.

The “necessary space” here is what we think/believe we ought…

Join us for our first community event

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

UPDATE: If you missed it, here’s the recording of the opening session. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in sharing ideas and/or helping to organize future events or simply discuss with the community, feel free to join our Slack here 👇

Back in August, I shared my wish to create a space for a community to grow. After 3 months, a Slack group, and tons of very interesting discussions, we are happy to announce our first Design & Critical Thinking (D&CT) event on Tuesday 15, December 2020 at 6 PM CET.

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and…

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