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Thoughts and inspiration

This blog as a source of inspiration and provocative thought.

The three dangers of certainty.

We tend to like to keep things knowable. And by knowable I’m referring to feeling as certain about something as we possibly can. The conundrum is that most domains that require design and leadership are complex and dynamic, and some aspects of these systems are unknowable. And where we have complexity and ambiguity what do we have? Yep… we have uncertainty.

The way we typically deal with uncertainty is to view it as something that needs to be managed. We do this in business all the time, we manage uncertainty with a risk lens. Coming up with multiple risk mitigation strategies to know what to do if a particular scenario plays out in an unpredictable future. And when we have a risk mitigation approach to uncertainty what inevitably happens is we get rid of as much of it as we can. Mostly because we feel more comfortable and in control. We feel we make better decisions when we have more certainty, in fact, we often wait to act as we wait for certainty to reach a certain...

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A personal note

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2018

Dearest Everybody,

It is nearing the end of the year and I wanted to post a personal reflection about what being human means to me.

I've made many changes this year, and dealt with many challenging moments, as I am sure you have as well. There are some things that have changed within me, and others... the deepest parts of me remain unchanged. I wanted to share those aspects with you, as they are very human. :-)

A desire to live deliberately and consciously. I remain aware of the impermanence of everything and swim in gratitude for life, no matter what form it shows up.

A desire to love completely and connect deeply with others. I remain in awe of the capacity of humanity, and I seek to connect deeply with those close to me and those new beings who cross my path. I do what I do so we can become more self aware and able to be more vulnerable with each other. To decrease the distance between each other and not feel so separate, like we need to do it all alone. 

A desire...

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Why self awareness is key to being in service of others

I am often asked, "what is the one thing you look for when working with executives?" I have one simple answer, "Self awareness". If we have self awareness, we also have the ability to learn, to reflect and to change. Without self awareness we are unable to see our role in a situation, how we are contributing to creating undesirable (or desirable) circumstances, and  are hindered in our capacity to make meaningful change.

I often use the words 'to be in service of others' and I'd like to explore the connection between this and self awareness.

First of all, let's define what 'being in service of' means.

Being in service is:

  • Genuinely caring and curious about the background context of others
  • Understanding needs, desires and concerns of others
  • Creating alternatives that improve the situation for others

Being in service is not:

  • Only caring about the context of others and ignoring your own
  • Forgoing your own needs to deliver on theirs
  • Making things more difficult for yourself while...
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More articles over at

Uncategorized Aug 06, 2018

There are loads of other interesting articles over at my blog at - please check them out!

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Authenticity needs practice

In the many years I have been working with large organisations to shift the mindset around customer centricity, I have seen a division occur. It seems we’ve decided that customers are different from employees in terms of their values. Sure, customers are different from employees from their activities, problems they are trying to solve and motivations, though their values are not that different. Especially, the deeper held values that often inform how people like to be treated and interacted with.

Here are two important reasons why you should have the same values informing your corporate culture and your customer experience:

Authenticity can’t be faked and needs practice

A key ingredient to positive interactions with people, inside (employees) or outside (customers) your organisation, is authenticity. Authenticity doesn’t always come naturally to us in a business context. In fact, it doesn’t come naturally in our social context either sometimes, so we...

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It takes real grit

courage grit inner work Feb 12, 2017

Are you ready? This is your training.

Just like an athlete trains their body, we need to train our minds. If we are to head out there into the world and re-wire the systems that contribute to the challenges facing humanity, we need to be professionals. We need to be Olympic Grade athletes at what we do. These challenges are tricky, they take commitment, resilience and determination. It takes real GRIT. To get there we need to commit to doing the work ourselves.

We need to be prepared to look under the hood, to explore what makes us tick so we know how it is affecting our work. We need to be willing to go places that might be a little ugly, and we might not like what we see, but that’s ok. At least we’ll know what to do about it.

The world needs people who care, who are deeply concerned about the state of things and want to do something about it. Sometimes people think that doing good is fluffy, that it’s flowers, unicorns and rainbows. To me,...

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intention purpose values Oct 23, 2016

I was recently asked to write about stance and its role in design. Well, its role in anything actually. Stance is different to values, it is different to your intention. It describes how you choose to ‘be’ in the pursuit of something, whatever that might be.

Having loved sailing my whole life, I tend to use sailing as a metaphor to describe it. If your purpose is the reason why you sail, for the love of sea and nature, your intention is where you aim to get to, the island in the middle of the bay, your stance describes how you sail the boat to get there, whether you race or you cruise.

Describing your stance sets up how you will ‘be’ as you go about getting your work done. It sets up how you interact with your work, with each other, your approach to problem solving and dealing with challenges and successes.

Stance can be deliberately considered in the design of teams, projects and work. It can influence decisions about...

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Solution Seduction

Ever fallen in love with your own idea? I have. There is a time and place for this kind of love, and when you get the timing wrong, it really stings.

Solution seduction is a term we started using at Huddle in 2009 when we were trying to explain the difference between a convergent engineering process versus a divergent design process. Having been an engineer designing human experiences first, I am very familiar with the process of coming up with an idea and bringing that idea into reality, in its original form, as you conceived it. This really is a great feeling.

Though sometimes we fall in love too early. We become attached to a solution when we are still learning about the context of design. We are still uncovering new information about the needs and motivations of the people we are designing for. We are still understanding the limitations of what the technology can do, or what the organisation can feasibly support.

When you converge too early on a solution, the design process...

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