Weeknotes #041

— 20 minute read

A few days ago, the content team in my previous workplace invited Giles Turnbull for a talk. Giles is a writer, and his book The Agile Comms Handbook is precious. More recently, he shared about Weeknotes and the superpowers they enable in organizations. His talk inspired me to write here again after several months. I
I have been writing this blog using a custom weeknote format I created for myself three years ago. However, I realized that the format prevents me from exploring new topics. This is precisely what Giles says about structure in one of his old posts with tips for writing good weeknotes.
From now on, I will write shorter, sharper, and more personal posts. I might be completely shifting away from this blog's format and original intent. This one will be the last using the old format. Enjoy.

How to disagree with someone more powerful than you I'm not a fan of HBR content, but Amy Gallo deserves your attention.

He killed something beautiful Jason wrote a beautiful eulogy about the Twitter design team and their contributions. Space Karen killed something important.

Addressing Arguments Against Facial Expressions of Emotion Computer vision and machine learning have improved, and many people have discussed applications to detect emotions based on facial expressions. Dr. David Matsumoto attempts to address some of the arguments against that.

Good things permalink

Do what you love. permalink

The last time I updated my LinkedIn profile, people sent the usual congrats and comments. But one person asked me privately why I have changed jobs so frequently. That question haunted me for months. I have been in this industry for over two decades and have never experienced this speed of change.

Reflecting on my colleague's inquiry, I've been thinking about whether we, as a society, need to adjust our expectations about what a stable career is. An office-based, 9-5, with a 5-year tenure in the same company, is different from the norm these days. We live in a VUCA, post-COVID, AI-supported world.

I am resilient, but sometimes changing is for the best. With time, I have learned to be confident in my decisions and my ability to spot when the conditions are favourable. Or when I can influence change.

I have my mind clear, and my purpose hasn't changed. Every day, when I wake up, I think about that one great thing I will design with my people. Most of the time, I will support and inspire the conditions and conversations for teams to thrive. I am often hands-on, leading by example or trying to be more precise and helpful, showing the thing instead of talking about the thing. Some people call this being a "player-coach". My superpower is to connect designers/writers/researchers/engineers so they can deliver excellent work - I know how to do many things relatively well, but the player-coach definition might be misleading.

I am empowered at this career stage to choose better. The adventure of finding a new job (or doing something different) just started. Am I afraid? Definitely yes. The market is challenging these days. But I am also excited, at the top of my game. Onward.

  • I am using WeWork's motto ironically, of course.

Facilitation and Butter permalink

Anamaria Dorgo is the Head of Community at Butter and the most curious person I know. She is always inviting me for cool stuff. We share this infinite love for understanding collaboration. Last year, she asked me to join Butter's first Bootcamp, a week of talks about facilitation - one of the core tools you can use to rethink group collaboration. But my talk was more straightforward and more focused on the basics.

The title was Don’t Leave Anything to Chance: Plan Your Sessions in Butter. There was a bit of theory about the stages of planning workshops and a basic framework to schedule any session. The participants tried the framework live, and I heard people liked it very much. If you want to learn a tried and tested framework to plan workshops, you are in for a treat. It's like a Crash Course on planning and leading a workshop. I hope you enjoy it.

Conference circuit permalink

Since my last post, I have attended Figma Config, where I had the pleasure of seeing Jack Roles and Brice Fontaine showing our work at Farfetch integrating design systems, operations, and user research. Another IRL highlight event I attended was the first in-person IXDA meet-up after three years. Meeting Sophie Gendron, Boon Chew, Jason Mesut and Niclas Ljungjberg. Territory Studio's excellent work in sci-fi interfaces, car interaction design and motion was inspiring. It was fantastic to see some friends and see great work.
This week, I attended the AI and Society Forum, part of the AI Fringe programme. Rachel Coldicutt and her team at Careful Industries / Promising Trouble rocked my world with a beautiful community event. In the first keynote, legendary Abeba Birhane explained the issues with AI and racism. Abeba is a cognitive scientist, and I have followed her work for years. And like a genuine fanboy, I asked her to autograph my credentials and take a picture. Selfie with Abeba Birhane

Speaking and giving back permalink

I have also had the chance to speak at IRL conferences this year. Last March, Patrizia Bertini invited me to join a panel with Peter Boesma, Anna Wojcieszczak and others at the Design Operations London conference to discuss the impact of DesignOps. The panel title was How to Introduce and Position DesignOps in Your Organisation to Maximise the Impact. Lovely Zoe Seaman also presented on the same day. Next Tuesday, I will speak at the Innovation Conference. It's the most significant innovation conference in Latin America, with more than 6000 people attending online and about 2000 in Brasilia. I was one of the conference curators, covering service design and inclusive design. I convinced Daniel Burka, Stéphanie Krus, and Anamaria to share their brilliance remotely. I will be moderating a panel about inclusive design. And co-facilitating a workshop about designing voice services with Janaína Pereira. I am excited to return to my home country with such a meaningful contribution. After the conference, I will be travelling to Belo Horizonte to relax, visit my family and eat lots of great food.

Learned things permalink

Learning, teaching, liberating permalink

I am teaching my second cohort at Experience Haus. It's a small team of 6 designers learning Service Design. Before accepting the invite, I wondered whether that made sense. And in that search for meaning, I learned so much about learning. Paulo Freire's Critical Pedagogy transformed my thinking on teaching, and I am still inspired by it. I am learning things about service design that I have never thought about before. I am capturing some learnings in my new digital garden: sd notes

Things that bring me joy permalink

Leili, AKA little bird. permalink

It was a sweltering day in Brasilia, Brazil. My life was very different at that time. I was young, louder, stronger. And I was dating a girl from my home state. She lived with her adorable auntie, but we were spending a lot of time together. I honestly already knew she was the one from the get go. A few months later, impulsively, I asked her to marry me. Over twitter. About 13 years ago, on the first of April. We celebrate this milestone by travelling to Cabo Verde in March.

Every day, I think how lucky I am to have Leili in my life.

Healthcheck permalink

Overall, I am ok. My diabetes is under control. I am still using continuous glucose monitoring, but things are better. I have lost some weight, and I am slowly coming back to exercising.

Weight: 91 kg Blood pressure: 12/8 Food: I'm trying to eat fewer and fewer carbs, but Gail's Bakery is in my life. Drinks: Not drinking for months, except for extraordinary occasions.

Quote permalink

"Empowerment is a necessary step because we’ve been accustomed to disempowerment. Empowerment is needed to undo all those top-down, do-what-you’re-told, be-a-team-player messages that result from our leader-follower model... What we need is release or emancipation. Emancipation is fundamentally different from Empowerment. With emancipation, we are recognising the inherent genius, energy, and creativity in all people and allowing those talents to emerge. We realise that we don’t have the power to give these talents to others or “empower” them to use them, only the power to prevent them from coming out. Emancipation results when teams have been given decision-making control and have the additional characteristics of competence and clarity. You know you have an emancipated team when you no longer need to empower them. Indeed, you no longer have the ability to empower them because they are not relying on you as their source of power."

L. David Marquet and Stephen R. Covey, Turn the Ship Around!