March 2, 2021

Experience Japan Pictograms

Anyone who knows me, knows I love visual systems and typologies (we have a whole ongoing city typology research project). So this Experience Japan Pictogram set just caused me to spend the last half hour looking at all the beauty, and throwing some of my quick favorites into illustrator.

February 12, 2021

Designing for Transit Riders during COVID

We can finally speak about our work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey! While at IDEO, I led a team of amazing designers and Port Authority experts to Protect People’s Health on Public Transit:

In January 2020, news of COVID-19’s approach was building like a looming storm. That the pandemic was coming seemed clear, but when it would arrive, where it would appear, and how bad it would be, nobody could yet predict. To think back on how we “prepared”—as individuals, organizations, and communities—is a lesson in hindsight. Who could have imagined the new vocabulary, behaviors, and habits we’d all acquire in one short year?

Read more about the PATH Design Case Study, see some of the work we completed, and while you are at it, read more about our public sector work.

January 29, 2021

Weeknotes 5: Infrastructure Week

Welcome to the fifth weeknote (reminder: weeknotes are intentional moments of reflection), and the first time we are putting this out over email. Yes, I guess everyone will have an email/substack/whatever for the next 15 minutes. I can’t resist, I’m within the event horizon. These updates used to just live on the website (and will continue to do so),  but we live in a multichannel world, and I’m a Barbie Girl.

Speaking of last century pop culture, It has been exciting to work with old friends the last few weeks on some projects we can’t yet speak about. But I can’t get the A-Team reference out of my head, as we are coming together to work cooperatively on tough problems. Maybe I’ll just lean into it by listening to 10 hours of the A-Team Theme Song.

I published another interview for Typology City – my project focused on urban typologies, especially the tiny bits of urbanity which we connect with on the street. I spoke with Mari Kroin about her student work, Wet Paint: A Study of Subway Columns. Please read the whole interview.

Interesting conversations had:

Spoke with the managing director of a huge management consultancy, where we traded leadership styles, prompting us to remember the Six Emotional Leadership Styles (PDF) by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee

Spoke with a friend-of-friend who used to work in government as a designer, who reminded me that organizational structure eats culture, and to be clear what kind of future we want to create is baked into the org structure.

Friend who is a head of innovation in a US county reminds me that enablement is more authentic than empowerment (can I really empower you?) and passes on this link: Enablement: how governments can achieve more by letting go

On Tap for Next Week

Getting deeper into content around cities and housing typologies. 

Journeys with purpose 

Engagement in the news

New Journey Opportunities

These are links to job openings collected from friends, and friends-of-friends, which might be interesting in your journey

News from Expedition Works

This week was all about writing proposals, continuing the arduous work of company formation (wow, how many of the same forms do I really need to fill out). Basically everything that every business needs to do to be legal. I’m swimming in acronyms, but breaking apart the tasks into smaller chunks and distributing it across the week allows me to not feel like I’m drowning in paperwork.

We love mail. If you have any feedback or links you can leave it in this google form, which is anonymous by default. We won’t sell your info. That’s gross. 

January 4, 2021

Public Sector Domain Page

Building out this website, I realized that I might need some domain-specific pages which can tell a more coherent, or organized, story which a single project might not be able to tell.

The first domain page I focused on shipping is the Public Sector Domain Page, with additional pages focused on digital product and user experience. I hope to iterate and update these pages as my storytelling evolves.

December 27, 2020

Weeknote 2: These are the days of miracle and wonder

Reminder: weeknotes are intentional moments of reflection. 

So this was a short week with Christmas break the last two days of the week. This allowed me to both have conversations and be present with family. 

Interesting conversations I had this week:

  • The best conversations are those which consist of about 60% catching up and just talking, with 20% explaining what I’d love to do in the future, and the balance setting up next conversations and whom to speak with. 
  • I hope to mix these type of conversations with more tactical and directional conversation in the next few months. 
  • Rank and file federal government workers (the bureaucracy or deep state to some) are cautiously hopeful that the new administration will respect internal expertise and install political appointees with some knowledge of how to run an agency
  • Discussed how focusing on the spirit can help define what tactics to employ
  • Looking at future opportunities through the prism of autonomy, mastery, and purpose can help me decide what new roles to prioritize or defer
  • Triangulating and understanding what a possible position requires, demands, and what the current company culture values requires lots of conversations, before the electron cloud-like picture emerges
  • Sometimes it only takes 10 minutes to explain what you want and need, as long as you have clear and actionable requests. 

On tap for next week

  • Writing lots for
  • Being present with family

I hope everyone has an excellent holiday, and a happy new year!

December 21, 2020

Weeknote 1

This feels like an auspicious week to start week notes. I’m planning on using these as a look back and looking forward moment. They will not be finished, elegant, nor potentially inspiring. They will act as a reflection forcing function. Check out the weeknotes tags for more updates.

I’m now fully outside my former employer’s bubble, and I am excited to explore what this new round of making and impact could be.

People I’ve spoken with

  • This week I’ve spoken to someone who I’ve interconnected over the last few years, starting with old Web 1.0 world discussing Folksonomies. We spoke about how to create new culture inside academia for a new program they are launching soon – how to inspire the younger faculty, while engaging and winning over those who need just a little more evidence
  • I spoke with a former colleague about the value of keeping your resume and portfolio up to date – a realization I could have experienced a few months ago. The value isn’t in potentially leaven your current place of employment (though that has some value), but rather (much like these week notes) sharpening what you are doing, and what you want to be doing. Lessons learned.
  • Also a great conversation with a former colleague about asking for help: I have come to realize that it isn’t about showing weakness or vulnerability to others (which might also be valuable), but it is really about communicating trust: I trust you enough that I need your help, and I trust your expertise in giving that assistance. That’s pretty powerful.
  • Two people last week spoke about using interviews as a way to create content, create networks, and as a possible way to edit an anthology book. Interesting. Two points makes a segment, and I’m waiting for the third point to make the ray. I’ve already been interviewing people for my interview project, so I’m already part of the way there.

Unoffice Hours?

Unoffice Hours are intentional moments set aside in these uncertain times, to have a conversation. No agenda required, no need to mail first.

We can reflect, inspire, explore, refresh perspectives on whatever project, plans, insights, challenges, aspirations, questions feel relevant in this moment. I've worked with you in the past, and want to stay connected with you, and see where the conversation goes. I look forward to engaging with you on new and evolving topics as well helping on work we’ve done together.

Book here:

Last week there was 10 inches of snow, which meant a snow day for childcare. Which meant a full day of snow angels and stomping around in the snow. Something being an independent consultant allows these days.

Looking forward

I’m looking forward this week to finishing up some much-needed conversations, scheduling new conversations for 2021, and for taking some time off to just hang with the family. We aren’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean scheduling and working out gift giving times across multiple families has gone away. It’s now just moved channels.

Next week is a short week, and I hope to complete some proposals, update this portfolio, and continue with independent research.

I wish you all well.