LTUX: From Fire Fighter to Fire Starter

Last night, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the San Francisco chapter of Ladies that UX. The audience was engaged and asked tough questions, so I think maybe I did a decent job 😉

Download the presentation PDF.

My talk was centered on a client project at EchoUser. The financial software company engaged us to increase the impact of the UX team. Originally, we planned to do that through doing on-the-ground work and modeling good UX process for the rest of the organization. What we learned instead was that this complex organism needed a overhaul of their collaboration, process and relationships to stakeholders.

I fundamentally believe that the way to make impact through design is to utilize empathy to understand the “real” picture of your organization, followed by collaboration that rallies teams together around the existing opportunities and where they want to go. These two forces create an energy and magic that creates a flame of new ways of working.

The audience laughed at my jokes, groaned when I talked about the stuff we all hate, and nodded when what I said resonated. They also had some questions about finding advocates (A: be empathetic, be human, be dedicated), ways to keep the work going (A: artifacts and making them public) and how to carry the torch internally (A: you’ve have trust that a consultant has to earn, so leverage that).

I feel great this day after because I genuinely enjoyed my time with this group of ladies (and men!). A friend texted me on her ride home last night and said, “You made me remember why I’m in design/research again 😊 ”

To that, I say, mission accomplished!