Andrew Travers

Andrew Travers is a designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

Filtered for thinking and feeling, week of 15 Oct, 2018

Posted on 20 Oct 2018

I hesitate to even write about this, but here goes. Meditating is something I find myself coming back periodically, and always at a point at which I sense that I’m getting stressed out by work.

That’s a problem, because it makes it hard to meditate well when my levels of anxiety and distraction are already heightened and I’m still in the early stages of learning techniques.

I’m not good at meditating yet but I am getting something from it even if it’s just 10 minutes of high quality breathing in and out.

This week it’s been learning about ‘noting’: momentarily recognising when you’re thinking, when you’re feeling. There’s been too much of both from me this week. Recognising that as it happens, and bringing yourself back to where you are, can help.

Jamie Arnold’s blog post for Co-op Digital on governance and agile delivery re-appeared on my Twitter timeline this week. It was a reminder that so much of what we wrote and what we did at Co-op was good work. As I said on Twitter, a solid body of work (and one that Co-op happily continues to build on).

I wrote last week about Arsenal and Scotland’s Kim Little. Two days later, Chelsea’s Drew Spence broke Kim’s fibula with a tackle that I don’t think was malicious but was the very definition of reckless. Spence’s lack of care for a fellow player earned her a yellow card, and deprives Arsenal of their finest player for the rest of the calendar year.

Wales erudite manager Jayne Ludlow was good on the Women’s Super League highlights show, observing how uneven modernisation is: the clubs have professionalised and the technical level has soared, but refereeing standards lag behind.

This interview with Liverpool’s Kirsty Linnett and Burnley’s Chris Woods on equal pay and more, nicely highlights the issues that football needs to address for everyone.

I also want to return for a moment to what I wrote last week on Spotify. The sign of a rusty blogger, it really didn't say what I was trying to capture. Which is, I think, this: we're increasingly programmed to value discovery and ‘the new’ over what we already have. It's easier to buy a book than read a book. In so many ways, I want to put more of my focus on enjoying what I have.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael wrote an excellent piece, Working notes on product management that contained this line:

“40% on relationships and communication (the actual job)”

I think the same applies to design. Maybe even more. Design is meetings. Design is talking. Design is listening.

Rands’ piece on the meaning of org charts coincided with a very similar conversation happening on our work Slack channels. I like the distinction he makes here between individuals and the roles they hold.

“The tax on communication increases as a function of the size of the team. The reason you need agreed upon and well-understood artifacts like an org chart is because critical aspects of the organisms are clear. Everyone understands critical truths.”

Our own org chart is, I think, gradually becoming clearer and less taxing.

John Cutler’s “pull system” posts on Twitter really hit home.

In our fledging DesignOps team, I think we’re often guilty of thinking in story rather than goal terms, often because the reactive is easier, more immediate than the proactive.

The proactive is often more urgent than it first appears. That’s a thing I really want us to work on.

Kara Swisher’s piece for the New York Times on Instagram founder Kevin Systrom is worth reading on what Instagram and Facebook have lost.

“Social media is in a pre-Newtonian moment, where we all understand that it works, but not how it works”

Public Digital is a company made from most of the best people I’ll ever work with. The rest are just people I wish I’d worked with. Tom Loosemore’s regular writing there has brought a clarity of thinking that I think the world I work in has really missed.

These emerging design principles for internet-era ways of working are going to be well worth watching in the coming months.

“Filtered” is a 3-years-late, 2nd attempt at a Matt Webb, Michael Sippey inspired-format.