The What If Technique: Conversations, Cocktails, and Creativity

Added 3/19/15 5:20 PM

By Sean Echevarria, Business Partnerships Lead

Think of the most exciting thing you’ve ever had to share in your life! What was it? New job. Kid on the way. Bought a house.

For the team and me here at Motivate Design, our most exciting thing so far in 2015 is the What If Technique™ (WIT). But before you go search our site to find out more about the process, I wanted to share something our CEO, Mona Patel, shared last week at the exclusive preview for her upcoming book Reframe: Shift the Way You Think, Work, and Innovate. With the room filled with thought leaders that spanned multiple industries, she proceeded to say:

"Think of creativity like a muscle…everyone has it, but some people are more toned and flexible than others because they use that muscle and have strengthened it. Don’t believe me?”

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Topics: Design Thinking News & Events What If Technique Workshops & Learning

The What If Technique Studio Experience: Backstory

Added 3/18/15 5:50 PM

By Sean Echevarria, Business Partnerships Lead

What If Wednesday could be like Friday?

Wednesday. It's the infamous hump day. The day where you’ve just escaped the lulls of Monday, but aren’t quite close enough to the highs of Friday to celebrate the productivity of a week. Well, we might have a solution for you to try.

Last Wednesday we opened our doors to everyone around New York City and asked them to escape the standard drawn out eight hours and instead get their creative juices flowing by participating in a What If Technique™ Public Studio -- a creativity and design thinking workshop created to help you reframe your blocked, creativity-drained mindset. Below is the retelling of the events from last Wednesday and more info about the problem participants tackled: making Backstory a reality.

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Topics: Design Thinking News & Events What If Technique Workshops & Learning

It's a UX World: General Assembly & the Mona-logues, 4th edition

Added 3/4/15 3:30 PM

By Anastasia Gregorakis, Public Relations Intern

The fourth edition of the “UX Mona-logues” took place last month when General Assembly hosted Motivate Design's CEO Mona Patel for an unplugged conversation. With more than 15 years of hands-on experience, Mona gave current GA students insights and UX hiring tips to help them as they approach the next step of their careers. The entire question and answer session was unplanned and unscripted, encompassing topics like how to effectively market your personal brand in the UX industry, what is most attractive to potential employers, and how to master the interview process. Mona offered tips, examples and a few laughs to inspire and educate the students.

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Topics: Experience Design News & Events Workshops & Learning

Hey, What’s Your Problem?

Added 2/17/15 11:00 AM

By Tony Brinton, Vice President

True success begins with insightful problem definition. This article explores that idea and outlines some dos and don’ts.


The most successful user experiences don’t just happen. Many smart minds from a variety of disciplines and skill sets must come together at each step of a well-structured process and apply their best thinking and professionalism. But no amount of talent can bring great results if the initiative is poorly planned to begin with.

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Topics: Design Thinking Experience Design Product & Service Design Disruption & Innovation

The Power of Presence: Confessions of a Design Researcher

Added 2/12/15 2:30 PM

By Dom Crockett, Design Researcher

Raising your hand first, finishing first on a test, and having the right answer before anyone else -- these were the definitive marks of intelligence to a younger me. Being first was an obvious way to assert academic excellence, which made me feel accomplished, proud and special.

“This is the way the world works!” I thought, “Be smart. Be first. Be right.”

This belief in “the first” encouraged me to stay vigilant for information that would afford me leverage in a classroom or discussion and, unknowingly, created a solid foundation for my career in research. Constantly seeking information made me comfortable with discovering and learning, but rushing to conclusions was my folly.

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Topics: Research & Discovery Workshops & Learning

Beyond the Blind: How the Bradley Watch Embodies Human-Centered Design

Added 2/10/15 1:00 PM

By Syrena Huynh, researcher

As a researcher and a somewhat closeted product designer, I am always interested in hearing about design processes. After all, hindsight is always 20/20 and the notable memories of others are more likely to help than hurt our research and creation technique.

In a recent gathering at the Institute of Human Centered Design of Boston (IHCD), Hyungsoo Kim spoke about his journey in founding EONE and their pilot product, the Bradley Watch. While originally inspired to serve the blind, Kim spoke about the challenges of his design process, finding success through simplicity, and how centering design can often lead to serving a greater audience than the intended consumer base.

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Topics: Design Thinking Research & Discovery Product & Service Design Disruption & Innovation

We're Taking Off Our Shoes for User Research and Customer Personas

Added 2/2/15 1:30 PM

By Zarla Ludin, Director, Insights

“More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.”  -Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

We recently conducted a week-long analysis effort with a client, and one of the natural behaviors we all had during that week was to leave our shoes at the door. The weather made for wet and sloppy conditions, and our office in Harvard Square is cozy with lots of natural light and high ceilings. Even if someone had mismatching socks or simply wouldn’t normally take their shoes off, we all did it anyway. During the week, this gesture came to symbolize our own little culture of openness and togetherness during this time of storytelling and personas discussion.

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Topics: Design Thinking Research & Discovery

The Rise of the On-Demand Personal Assistant: A Look Into Perssist

Added 1/29/15 11:30 AM

By Sean Echevarria, Business Partnerships Lead

With venture funding at its highest peak since 2000, it's not surprising to be running into entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds. Most notably, I’ve come across so many ex-Wall Street business people that took everything they learned in finance and applied it to their own ideas. To be honest most of their ideas don’t pan out to much (nothing against Wall Street, startups in general are risky), but once in a while I’ll find someone that’s on to something. Or in this case, they’ll find us.


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Topics: Disruption & Innovation Startups & Business Management

Will People Pay for an Innovative Solution If It's Cheap?

Added 1/28/15 1:00 PM

By Christo Claassens, Senior User Experience Designer

I favor a world that is simple. As an experience designer, I’m drawn to simple solutions. And in my experience working with organizations, the simple solution is often right in front of your eyes, but actually seeing it is time and again not that simple.

While practicing my craft, I have encountered many reasons that obscure the simple solution:

Budget - There’s no money

Schedules - There’s no time

Resources - Who will find time, and how will it be done?

Yet, what if all of these things don’t matter? What if the solution is cheap, quick to build, and doesn’t need plenty of resources? Surely then it’s a no-brainer to move forward.

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Topics: Experience Design Research & Discovery Product & Service Design

Avoiding the Curveball: Improving the ‘When’ of User Research

Added 1/20/15 11:00 AM

By Matt Karp, Senior Design Researcher

Often project kickoff calls follow the same series of steps: Discuss the issue. Get to know the main players. Start to come up with a plan of attack. Once in a while, however, those calls may throw you a curveball or two (you may have already read our response to a stakeholder’s expressed goal to conduct improper research to send a message to their superiors). Maybe it’s a logistical limitation or some unusual testing criteria, but despite all the excitement of kicking off a new project, often we may find ourselves (as so many UX professionals do) thrown into a design cycle too late to allow for truly meaningful change.

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Topics: Design Thinking Experience Design Research & Discovery

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