Category Archives: collaboration

Scrum Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

cuckooNest_scrum

Stand-Up

onStandUpi just wrote and posted some of my recent thoughts On Stand-Up Comedy and UX up on LinkedIn — go gander a bit and read if you’ve got some minutes to spare, i think i’ve bumped across a lot of interesting similarities between the 2 fields by taking Amy Tee’s Stand-Up Comedy course out at North Shore Community College this Summer and some of the work i’ve done by learning about stand-up — through the process of writing and refining a set of stand-up comedy — enlightened me about various aspects of my life ( both personal and professional ) on SO many levels

its been a fascinating journey

that said — in less than a week i will perform my very first serious set of stand-up comedy out at Timothy’s in Danvers — here’s a link to the Facebook Even Page in case you’re interested in seeing more about the event or maybe even purchasing tickets for dinner and the show — its gonna be a lot of fun with over 10 comedians breaking out their material to friends, families strangers and frenemies, i really can’t wait

experiMENTALComedy_Timothys_Update

after this week’s debut stand-up performance i will most likely head back to Laughter at the End of the World, Outloud Open Mike and other similar, wonderful events to perform and test my material and hopefully augment this initial 6 minute set into a fuller body of work to keep pushing my comedy

after that, i gotta get back to focusing on building out and working with the team of Comedy Catalysts i’ve rounded up for TEDxBeaconStreet this November — SO many amazing TED Talks goin’ down for a big weekend in midNovember, and SO many talented comedic professionals expressing interest and comin’ on board — ‘sGonna be SO much fun!

 

 

Sara June @ Woodstock4

i absolutely LOVE this clip of Sara June’s collaborative, improvised public intervention performance with Endguys out in Boston Common for Woodstock4

Sara June Woodstock4 from Uncle Shoe on Vimeo.

Movement artist Sara June in performance at Woodstock4, presented by Whitehaus Family Record on the Boston Common August 18-19, 2012. Improvised music by Endguys (Steve Norton, bass clarinet / Matt Samolis, flute). Video by Douglas Urbank.

some reflections on the challenge of experience design

a huge part of ux has nothing to actually do with design and processes — ux is about establishing culture and curating the experience of ucd

space, the final frontier

office-cubicles-mdnits the big rage now, right? these open office floor plans

i first heard of the open office when i worked back at Monster — at the time the management talked about their new plans for an open office in these starry-eyed, future perfect ways, describing the Europeanness of this kind of office set up as a way to promote better team collaboration and a new, more innovative spirit for the group and the company

Maria Konnikova’s recent article-post ‘The Open-Office Trap‘ in The New Yorker dives into the symbolic intentions of an open office and then brings some critical research to the table to talk about the real trends and workplace effects affiliated with the open office layout

i’m not going to go into my thoughts on open offices here — i could probably rant, ya know? — just check out The New Yorker article for more of the data that’s been collected along with the critical analysis around productivity, distraction, health, privacy, happiness and so on … its all rather interesting and not all that surprising to me considering my role as a living human guinea pig for the last decade or so — at this point i kind of know what works best for me and my working style do to exposure to so many different work environment setups, which is super helpful for me as i assess what kinds of personal workspace tactics i need to take to keep myself happy, productive, healthy and somewhat sane in the modern workplace

what i’d like to talk about is what might really be an ideal work setup

i want to do a little experiment here on the webz with you, okay?

let’s take a little journey together where i walk you through what i can see as being THE optimal work space set up to truly leverage what actual the actual people doing the work might need to be creative, productive and collaborative throughout the day while simultaneously providing for the changing time-based needs of the organization and its individual employees that contribute to the culture and success of the company

so — here’s what i see and feel would be the most amazing architectural set up that would promote happy human success for everyone involved in making a business phenomenally successful

if we close our eyes and imagine for a bit together { go ahead, close your eyes …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

okay … and NOW you can open your eyes!

 

see?

… now wouldn’t that be SO much better?

if you’d like to learn more about these work space design ideas and more that pertains to happy daily human collaboration for a professional business setting, drop me a line, aight? let’s talk about it more

you won’t be disappointed

and, ultimately, the investment your company puts into the set up for collaborative and emotional success for the people that do the work will be just one more tool to leverage when fixing the future toward a better tomorrowland

thank you

the theatre of Work, ReVisited

theatreofwork_preview

back in 2009 when i still conducted critical design research for Dynamic Media Institute in Boston i decided to start up a presentation series aimed specifically at helping my greener friends coming into the industry with some of the basic challenges they might encounter along the journey of their profesional lives

i’ve encountered more than my fair share of interesting twists and turns in my rather adventurous career as an accomplished experience design professional — and some of the joys and tribulations of navigating the glorious terrain can benefit by simply continuously building a better and better understanding and awareness of the environments in which we need to perform

in delving into the digital archives of my mind i recently rediscovered a few slides appropriately titled the theatre of Work — survival tips for newcomers to the workForce

the theatre of Work

the phrase by itself starts to imply some of my subconscious views and feelings regarding: the social dynamics; the essential personal behaviors we need to exude while performing; and general feel of the landscape set up by the workaday world as a means of reaching toward success for ourselves and for the companies we work for

i am an experience designer and a performance artist

i never studied the theatre, which is an important key differentiator i need to continually remind myself of along the way

its also vitally important to have an unrelenting sense of self-awareness and continuous introspective reflection for the kind of trek we’re all on within ANY industry

just this hybrid mash-up between designer and artist can have extremely important internally conflicting motivations embedded within the very nature of each role

but anyhow, i digress { i just heard someone on blogging across the way stand up and scream, ‘DigreSsioN!’ ala that famous set of passages from A Catcher in the Rye ;] }

after living a little longer and experiencing a few more years of this life of work we all live and breathe, i believe i have even deeper, more profound wisdom to share than i originally intended by designing up a few slides for a future-such talk to be about workerly advice

i am therefore re-opening this thread of thought — copy-pasting the open Keynote file and the PSD folder from my portable harddrive back onto my current active MacBook Pro device to really start digging into what new significance i can bring to the table to help people navigate the choppy waters and hopefully not make all of the same foolish mistakes i’ve made along the way

i know my triathlon could’ve gone a LOT smoother so far had i just had proper mentorship or perhaps better personal self-awareness and more thoughtful empathy to guide me

but i’m an impatient clown, for the most part

i always want the impossible and i design to reach for the bluest of the bluest skies

i would be more of a fool, however, if i continue to noodle and clown without ever learning and growing for the journeys i’ve made — and i feel that if i share some of my story in a thoughtful and meaningful way it might actually make up for my own silly idiocies and hopefully make for a better overall experience for colleagues, friends, acquaintances and frenemies that even care to listen at this point

i need to focus on my storyFirst presentation out at Massachusetts College of Art for the next few weeks, but i also hope to put some time into this theatre of Work concept, too, as it is near and dear to my heart — i want to help people and give them better perspective and hopefully facilitate better and better experiences in the world through my designwork and my design leadership

but, until then — shove off, bitchez! ;]

 

logo_storyfirst

 

coming, to a theatre near you

as an avid collaborator — and relentlessly sillyman and fool — my good fortune dropped me into the project work of Christopher Kentley Field back at MassArt’s relatively underground and superCool design graduate program Dynamic Media Institute

i mean, its like i had no shame at all when i take a retrospective egoSurfing search of love down interactive, online memory lane, ya know? looks like i’d do just about anything to ‘earn’ a graduate degree, ya know?

anyhow, Chris got the like of Andrew Ellis, myself and some even cooler people together to put together this excerpted short from a feature film idea that Chris had written prior to coming to DMI — see what you think — i mean, i’m pretty proud of how it came out despite the fact that i’m playing a part that seems way too naturally-acted by me — yep, that’s right, folks, i’m basically a washed-up, old, homeless-like dude on the Boston T — a real flattering way to put myself ‘out there’ as an actor, right?

anyhow, here’s the clip ‘Deadbeat’ courtesy of Christopher K Field and Vimeo — enjoy! ;]

Deadbeat (first cut) from Christopher Field on Vimeo.

why do we need to ask appropriate questions?

real-people-main-110207

as professional experience designers its of the utmost importance to me that we drive every decision we make in an informed and somewhat sensical manner as a means to create and optimize what we design for real people

i don’t call people users or participants or customers — i try to avoid terms like personas or user types as much as possible, although words like these help us all understand that leveraging the powerful tool of a properly developed or estimated persona can help us generalize the psychographic and demographic populations of people that make up our target audiences for businesses

i prefer to refer to people as people

to call people people just simplifies some of the interesting dynamics that might get in the way as part of the process and helps to build a better empathic relationship with the people we’re designing for at the end of the day

calling people people turns what can be a very uppity and exclusionary sense of them vs us into the more elegant and gracious one-word phrase us

the process becomes more inclusive and friendly when we realize our users are people, too — just like us — so let’s not refer to the people we design for as them because its simply not a nice thing to do and it creates a competitive dynamic that oftentimes misses the goal to meet the real needs of real people and to hopefully create an authentic experience for people that is helpful, humble, beautiful and meaningful

walking along with the people we’re designing something for is probably the best way to understand and design for those particular real people — its as close as we’re going to get to actually being them — or being with them — and truly understanding what they need — and its how we can get to understand what’s working or not working for the real people we’re designing for with our design work from the most appropriate perspective to properly guide the design process

standing-together-CS

also, i don’t consider the way i do what i do as an experience designer to be user-centered

i prefer people-centered

or better yet, human-centered

previous versions of Design with a Big D didn’t always successfully meet the needs of people due to the fact that the focus was somewhere else entirely

when we lose sight of who we’re designing for and drive our processes and decisions by something other than servicing the needs of real people, we’re unfortunately positioned to miss the mark and create an experience that just doesn’t feel right

for example

another way we can focus the design work we do might unintentionally focus on a more systems-centered methodology — and much of the time, since the material elements { or immaterial elements to be more precise, maybe even representative or mapped elements could better define what we’re talking about here } we’re given to design something with is deeply based in data and information, if we don’t properly focus on consciously guiding toward a human-centered experience we will almost definitely end up with a more systems- or information-centered set of processes and experiential outcomes that improperly focuses on what we’re designing for { a dataset, or one particular interpretation of a dataset } instead of who we’re designing for { once again, the actual people }

if we’re hoping the results of our design processes bring people into our world to engage with our company’s business offerings we need to focus in the appropriate direction and we need to invite and guide the people we would like to collaborate with in an evolving business relationship in a way that’s really actually about the people, not the systems or the information that make up the pieces of the experience

if, at a certain point, the working results our design processes aren’t quite working as anticipated, we need to be very critical about the integrity of processes we’re involved in and we need to ask some big questions to hopefully help better guide the design work moving forward — and what a lot of people sometimes lose clear sight of when looking at the metrics and when listening to the qualitative feedback and suggestions is very definition of the word feedback and what it ultimately implies

measure

i’m sure the tendency to externalize a perceived set of negative results from any collection of usability might tightly tether to genuine internal psychological insecurities regarding the feeling of failure — especially for deeply passionate and empathic creatives that constantly need to balance an oftentimes conflicting capability to emotionally tune into the needs of people with the exact opposite simultaneous ability to then emotionally pull away from the iterative design work we’re engaged with on a daily basis

suddenly — when faced with suggestions that the design just isn’t optimally working — the illogical but somewhat understandable reaction might cause the wrong kind of emotional distance from a design team

an emotional, dynamic shift might actually increase the distance we feel with our users — with the very people we’re ultimately designing for

we might be too emotionally involved with the design work to even understand the more competitive attitude we’re suddenly feeling in relation to our users

the team might start refer to our people as them

and now the design process goes from collaborative to competitive — and those competitive feelings, as subtle as they may seem, can really start building to the wrong kind of energy for a truly collaborative and effective set of design processes

amidst our frustrations with qualitatively negative reactions to the work, we might ask ourselves questions like

why aren’t they getting it?

how come they’re not seeing the link?

oh jeez, why did they do that?

i’d like to suggest that whenever we start to use terminology that implies any sense of an exclusionary attitude toward our collaborations with our users, that we need to stop and think a little deeper about the wrongful inversion of what’s psychologically going on with the team

instead of asking about them in reference to a set of people that are suddenly emotionally put on the outside of our competitive process dynamics — we need to start asking about we again — we need to pull them into the better-feeling, inclusive we feeling of the project work

does that even make any sense?

i don’t know — its been a long blogPost, i know, right?

but i’m trying to tie all of this back into the stupid title i came up with for this post

instead of asking the they questions — start asking the we questions again, aight?
if you’re tending toward exclusionary, competitive processes — reach out to set up more appropriate inclusive, collaborative team dynamics with the people you’re designing for

if you can feel that things are starting to feel off with your process
— and even with the results of your design work

turn that shit inside out, ya know?

monkey_01-09ed43f265a3620d7145ced7c6179b7b38122a98-s6-c30

you might feel a little more humble all of a sudden — it might not feel all that fantastic even, but its a far braver and far more appropriate way to turn it all around

when we bring ourselves as designers to this inside out place and ask more questions about what we did or didn’t do, then we’ve rediscovered the proper attitude to get back to our work following a far better inclusive, collaborative mentality to guide the design work we need to do

looking into Che

greenpeace-che-guevara-original-50060

i don’t know that much about Ernesto “Che” Guevara — no more than you can read up on Wikipedia with just a quick Googling of the nickname Che that most people know him and his iconic image by — but its really interesting to see how much he’s been creeping up in my subconscious lately, as you or anyone can witness in my last 2 — and now my last 3 blogPosts { if you’re including this one }

i believe in embracing my subconscious, in going with my gut — and its not just because i’m typically overweight or officially obese as some physicians might point out at a check-up

its interesting, too, that on many levels i’m very much attracted to learning more about people that are considered to be counterCultural

if you take a quick peek at his Wikipedia entry you’ll notice that he seemed to accomplish an awful lot during the course of his lifetime — and sometimes his involvement in political arenas were influenced by the direction of US government, at other times he acted and spoke on his own behalf and on the behalf of the people he loved

in many ways Guevara’s political ideologies were actually formulated by his direct participation in the sort of strange global manipulations our US Government involves itself with as a means to push and pull power — instead of working in more diplomatic and authentic ways as part of a diverse and healthy international community, one might say that The United States constantly strives for a sense of total global supremacy and alignment

i think of it as The MacDonaldization of The World

macdonalds-worldwide

lots of the companies i’ve worked for, too, seem to push toward The Concept of One

and its not about The Myth of The Melting Pot, unfortunately

its more of a total control thing

{ for the most part, its almost always a way to save money by reducing corporate costs through human downsizing, sometimes including an attempt to simplify an organization and maybe increase efficiencies — there’s a lot of corporate speak and ‘business logic’ behind all of this Oneness, i’ve practically heard it all and its a very predictable, unsurprising internal brand trend, believe me }

and its all pretty transparent to everyone at this point

we can just smell it now

anyone that can’t feel the current and increasing creepiness over the years — this push toward Total US World Domination — is probably:

  • totally delusional;
  • completely mesmerized and hypnotized;
  • doesn’t want to admit its happening and its been happening for quite some time now;
  • just doesn’t care or isn’t paying critical attention to our current events in the news;
  • is just a vampire, zombie or robot { ever wonder why our entertainment is currently so obsessed and oversaturated with allusions to the undead? its probably because we’re all feeling that way — like a nation of citizens that’s only allowed to wander the earth in search of sweet bargains at the mall — either that or it might be a bit of a subliminal suggestion for how to actually best behave as part of our society };

and this MacDonaldization of The World — or as some might say, this One World we’re pushing for — is definitely more about homogeneity over inclusion or mutual betterment for all The Peoples of the World — we’re trained for robotic agreement and quasi-involvement through mere complicity and laziness

the push of American Consumerism for our citizenship only allows The People to participate in government and major decision-making through a dream-like Freedom of Choice — that’s the new American Dream, that we are free to choose between this elected representative or that one, both of which, are in fact, basically the very same choice

they’re not that different actually

and the other Freedom of Choice we’re so graciously allowed is which corporate brand of products or services to purchase — unless, of course, you get more directly involved and somehow keep your moral standing along the way

i really like this Greenpeace poster depiction of a little boy portraying the marxist revolutionary Che that i put up as the standard intro-visual at the top of this post

there’s no way we look at this little boy as evil or marxist or dangerous, right? if you do, you’ve affiliated some sort of US public relations-driven fear of The Other with this remarkably innocent-looking image — if its not something you can make in the MacDonald’s production line, it must be different, evil and anti-American, right?

its not really that simple, though

and i hope we can all see that this dynamic has been vastly oversimplified for political reasons — there are personal motivations that go far beyond the desire to protect The People of a nation from the big, bad world of terrorism and evil

power and profit reside at the core of our current issues in the world

we need more inclusionary and respectful, collaborative means of working with the world and not against it any longer — and that world that i speak of not only includes the beautiful variety of people we live with in the world, with all of their interesting and eclectic perspectives and ways of seeing the world, but also includes the world itself — we need to literally work with the world to behave in better accordance with the limits we’ve been given, with the rules and regulations of a higher power that has nothing at all to do with God or what Republicans want, but all to do with the realities of our Mother Earth

yes, i said it

Mother Earth

{ you don’t hear that phrase all that much lately — and i’m not exactly sure why, but i have the sneaking suspicion it might have something to do with sovereignty of a Christian maleness established and promoted during The Age of the Enlightenment over the more supposedly Pagan femaleness of our pre-Christian beliefs and behaviors }

we need to start listening to Mother Earth and start working with her again

happy-pregnant-woman

our energy needs to move away from the power of man over natural destiny — this sort of destructive set of energies to control each other and conquer the natural world at all expense — and move toward the collaborative creative destiny and positive potential energies alive in all of us, in all of The Peoples of The World

i don’t think the answer resides in one ism over another

its more of an individual, ethical choice we all need to consciously make and then act upon on a daily basis

we can have no faith in our representatives and the dangling choices we’re given as a means to participate in how we’ll ultimately really change and govern the world

let’s just stop pretending

the experiment in all of these isms show us nothing but failure and pain and corruption so far

and there’s no longer any need to force it — it does us no good

let’s not put any more of our faith and energy into any of these shadowGames and pretenses

if you see me at the mall, just give me a smile and a nod — let’s just acknowledge we’re part of the same open and inclusionary humanness { no new isms, please } and that we’re all now individually fighting the good fight to do right by The People, not just of our nation, but for The Peoples of The World living in collaborative destiny with Mother Earth

being a transitional

laEvolucion

one of the fun parts about being human is that we are always evolving

like it or not — the only thing we can truly count on actually staying the same is the fact that things always change — and we are a species that is very much under the influence of things — so, following that logic, to some degree, as our things change, we change, almost purely as a means to adapt to our things

this concept, in many ways, is in direct conflict with my very purpose as a human-centered designer — my job and daily activities are focused solely on driving and guiding the design process, mostly aimed at creating technology-based experiences, to hopefully result in interactive and dynamic software and interfaces that: intuitively make sense to users { or people as i prefer to call them }; that are usable and valuable and user-friendly { or ‘easy to use’ and understand with a minimal learning effort }; and that largely serve the actual human goals and business goals of the overall technohumanic experiences being delivered

we now live in a world population increasingly geared toward the digital natives

 

the other day my son Maceo was taking a bath and, with Maceo being extremely social and fun-loving but also a bit co-dependent, he invited me to come in to the bathroom to talk with him while he relaxed and washed { before settling in to read and eventually fall asleep in his bed on this typical school night }

Maceo is 10 years old

he’s definitely a digital native, meaning, he’s grown up in The Digital Age and for the most part has never been in a world without computing machines, as we used to call them — he understands computers and our mobile devices in a much different way than my wife or i do because he’s grown up with them as a simple and accepted set of objects within his natural living environment — and he’s grown up in an era when, for the most part, the information-based, interactive experiences delivered via the medium of our digital technologies already have a lot of the kinks worked out of ’em — due to Steve Jobs and the iUniverse he’s created through his prosumerization of our computers and devices, through Jobs’ efforts to make these relationships we have with our modernday technologies ‘just work,’ Maceo’s never really had to deal with the first 3 or 4 generations of the rather krudgy software and digital experiences we previously had with our devices in the first few decades on the new digital island

needless to say, he probably doesn’t have the same amount of frustration and associated psychological baggage that i have with these technologies that were invented to somehow serve humanity but also somehow typically don’t ‘just work’ the way we were promised they would in our non-native explorations of the digital island

with Maceo sprawled out, his body submerged under under the warm water of his bath, we discussed his daytime learning activities out at Spofford Pond School in Boxford — i asked him if today’s special { as they call all non-core classes at his school } was gym and he said, ‘No, today was Art’ — i asked him what special he’d have in school tomorrow and he said, Media’

‘Media? What’s Media?’ I asked him — i kind of knew what the term implied, of course, but wanted to know what the school system teaches him about media

i wanted to know what media now means
to a third grade student living in our modern Digital Age

he started laughing and said, ‘they teach us things that we all already know, like how to save a document,‘ and then he really started laughing pretty hard, which of course made me laugh

i could tell the whole idea of teaching media to the new breed of our digital natives seemed totally preposterous to him, almost like they were trying to teach him how to breathe or something so innately embedded in our humanness to feel like futile effort or even farce

we were laughing for quite some time

he went on, ‘its like, go to file and then move the mouse down and click on ‘Save”

he was like a little bathing stand-up comedian, delivering the ultimate punchline to the most hilarious joke i’ve heard in years, and i was both his receptive, laughing audience and an instant co-writer to these new jokes that almost seem to write themselves now

‘what are they gonna teach you next week, Maceo? how to log off of the computer?’ i quipped back — we were both laughing even harder than ever now, he returned the volley with, ‘i know, its like, here’s how we right-click on a mouse’ — he was kind of saying the entire little phrase with an intentionally slow delivery, mocking how remedial and silly this class must feel to him and his fellow student colleagues sitting through each special weekly session of Media at Spofford Pond

i haven’t laughed that hard in about half a year

as a digital native, Maceo just gets it

and, if the technology does live up to its original promise — this high-level promise from Steve Jobs and other pre-Apple visionaries that promised these technologies will ‘just work’ and that they’ll actually be helpful, useful and valuable for us all to use — if the experience isn’t living up to our expectations, well, quite frankly, Maceo’s ready to dive in under the hood and actually make the technology do what he needs it to do for him

i, on the other hand, get immediately hung up on my overall, continual disappointment with the promises that are never quite met from my standpoint as both a user of these technologies and a designer that’s constantly trying to devise ways to improve the human experience of our digital technologies

and i get frustrated rather easily, i might add

i actually want the technology to ‘just work’ the way we were promised it would

but it doesn’t

9 times out of 10, from my own personal lifelong experiences with computers, devices and technologies, these experiences fall extremely short of the expectation

maybe i’m more aware of these discrepancies between the promise and what we really experience from our technologies right now because i remember the promise, whereas Maceo doesn’t have the same context at all — and, unlike a lot of people that will spend a lot of time jerry-rigging these experiences like some sort of delusional Digital MacGyvers that just want so desperately for the technologies to be so cool as to ‘just work’ that they paperclip and chewing gum back together the actual, shitty and broken experience design in an attempt to sort of pretend perfection or merely band-aid a nearly-usable hackensteined-up app or something — unlike those folks that are drinking the digital koolaid with wireless ice, play-acting like everythingz all too cool for school an’ all, i like to tell it like it is and assess these experiences at some sort of reasonably realistic and honest scale

macgyver

 

if we can’t evaluate the current-day experiences we have with our technologies with at least a reasonable sense of honesty then we’ll never be able to: level set where we are; identify critical areas for potential improvement; and then iteratively work toward any real sense of improving our overall human experience

now, unlike my son Maceo, who is considered a digital native, i am what’s called a digital immigrant — i don’t particularly like this terminology, but this is what anyone can Google up in a few seconds as a definition of who i am and what it means to be in my demographic in relation to the introduction to our interactive technologies and my particular abilities and views about the technologies and experiences we all use and deal with on a daily basis

i think by including the term digital in the semantics, definition and language so nicely weaved around these digital demographics, we almost immediately begin to think of absolutely everything as needing to be associated with the term digital — which in itself is quite interesting, this power of language to sell a movement

but i would like to think of myself in an entirely different way and perhaps affiliate my personal demographic less around the technologies and more around the actual times we’re talking about — or, better yet, it might even be nice to entirely decouple the term for my demographic from both the technologies and the times

let’s agree on at least one thing up front, though

we live in The Age of Information

we might also consider this to be The Digital Age, too, but for the most part the way that most of humanity views the entire world today is through an almost frighteningly pure informational lens

back to self-identification, though

so, instead of considering myself to be a digital immigrant, i would prefer to be called a transitional person, or just a transtitional

the term hints just a little bit toward our eventual post-humanity, which, like it or not, we’re already embarking on the journey to — i hope that its not an entirely inevitable place we’re heading to, but its pretty much nearly guaranteed just through the economics quite purposely confounded with our innovations through information and inventions — we’ll most likely just keep driving ourselves deeper and deeper into the human-machine-integration that futurists like Ray Kurzweil foretold decades ago in books like The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

i guess, then, i consider myself as transitioning from a mediated yet mostly analog time in the world we live in to one that is heavily dominated by: digital experiences; computing machines and devices; and datasets of information

where there is no transition necessary for Maceo — he was born with computers and smartphones in the household — i’ve needed to learn entirely new ways of doing just about everything i do in life just to fit in, and to perform and survive within our increasingly more and more digitalized culture

i think of the world we live in now
as our technohumanic ecoSystem

we live among the machines

and the machines outnumber us at this point, too, if you think about it

and, i guess one could even say even the culture we live in itself is still mostly transitional by its very nature, too — its not necessarily just a demographic set, but its also a way to categorize life in the modern age as we move to more and more digitally-mediated interactions and experiences

as much as the current trend shows us as a humanity moving closer and closer to merging with machines to evolve to a supposedly higher place, i would like to think the kind of design story we should be more focused on should center a lot more on developing a better sense of human and environmental awareness that really is totally unrelated to our technological inventions altogether

but how do we design for something like greater awareness?

this isn’t one of those ‘there’s an app for that’ results we’re looking for — there’s no real profitable product or service that i’m aiming for as a human experience designer, actually, which probably leaves me in a bit of a bind, right? i personally believe that we can invent a lot of amazing and innovative technologies that will help us survive or make our lives seem somewhat more comfortable or enjoyable, but at the end of the day i would like to do more than merely survive

i would like to see humanity start to grow again

and i don’t mean growing as in growing a user-base or expanding a knowledge set or some other similar information-based endeavor we get distracted by along the real path of where our human evolution should be headed — in this case, its not about the information

we need to start feeling the vibe of the universe again — we need to stop dissecting everything so much and mapping it all to some fictional, self-serving, data-related set of attributes that we as people invent to make sense of our chaotic universe to only feel somewhat in control of our little destinies — we need to start focusing in on our emotionality, our spirituality and our purpose

someone or something else designed these things for us, however, and we can only discover, shape and guide these interesting topic touch points in the story of our lives

we cannot truly control them

i don’t want to leave this planet to the next generation with my contributions merely being the design and delivery of a bunch of apps and experiences — i want to leave the future people of tomorrow with a sense that we helped change the direction of our destiny toward something more meaningful and real, and something far more valuable than the code for an information-based set of experiences, but maybe instead, the code for how to better behave and interact with each other in the world in which we live in together as we all move forward toward a more holistic, harmonious and humanistic civilization