Scott Berkun Profile picture
Author and speaker. Books: How Design Makes The World, The Myths of Innovation, Making Things Happen & The Year w/o Pants (#remote). Product coach @ Automattic.
Harwell Thrasher Profile picture kwanchen Profile picture Samantha Bailey Fast Profile picture Noah Fang Profile picture Karin Curkowicz Profile picture 6 added to My Authors
Sep 15, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Study decisions, not just ideas. It's decisions and the people who make them that define how ideas are evaluated.

If you only care about ideas you'll stay mystified and angry about why "the best" idea never gets chosen.

Study decisions. Learn how to influence them. I've read many books on decision making but this one had the most powerful impact on me.

For the approach he takes alone, studying front line workers making life and death decisions, it's a worthy read.

Sources of Power, Gary Klein
Jul 22, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
1. We have 5 basic senses - then why don't designers and experiences use all of them?

It's always fun to step back and ask this question, which often leads down the path to SMELL-O-VISION. Image 2. It sounds like a joke but Smell-O-Vision was one of many attempted innovations to improve the movie theater experience.

Like many attempted innovations, many approaches were tried. Some tried to pump in scents into the theaters, but the timing was a problem. Image
Jun 16, 2021 7 tweets 4 min read
1. All of the ideas in How Design Makes The World are encapsulated in these four questions every product team should ask regularly. #design #ux #designmtw 2. Many projects have requirements, schedules and cool ideas, but forget to focus on improving something specific for real people. Or get lost along the way.

Good teams refresh the real goals often, like a lighthouse.
May 13, 2021 11 tweets 3 min read
1. Have you been frustrated by how little your coworkers understand about the value of what you do?

If you're a UX designer, you're an expert. But there's a trap in how this expertise is taught that works against you.

This thread explains what to do about it. 2. Design books/courses are design-centric, but the world isn't. Orgs are business, tech or mission centric. Collision-warning!

"I have to explain my value? And work uphill for respect?"

Yes. The sheer numbers make this likely! But do not despair.
Apr 27, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
If requirements define the problem, how can a designer succeed if the problems they are supposed to solve are poorly defined or the wrong ones? If the person writing requirements knows nothing about good design, why would anyone expect good design to be a possible outcome?

It's like someone who has never cooked writing a recipe.
Apr 14, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
1. When people say "innovations happen faster today than ever before" ask:

Does this person know anything about the history of innovation?

It's an impressive sounding statement rarely challenged since we like to hear it. But it's misleading in several ways that I'll explain. 2. The pace of change is not the same as scale.

For example:

The shift from hauling water on your back to indoor plumbing is HUGE. The shift from iPhone 10 to 11 is SMALL.

Have there been shifts as transformative to your quality of life as plumbing recently? I doubt it.
Apr 13, 2021 11 tweets 2 min read
1. The fallacy of "seat at the table" is often decisions are made before the table meets. I know this because much of my career was controlling tables.

The more people at any table, the more the real action goes elsewhere. Why? I'll tell you. 2. The design of a conversation about a big decision works best in the small. 3-6 people. Every leader calls on advisors, individually or together, to sort out what they're *really* going to do.

Look around. If your "table" has 10 or 20 people, you're not in that group.
Apr 13, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
1. It feels terribly trivializing that with everything going on debates like this happen and a reminder of how tech is never neutral, because tech culture isn't either.… 2. Of many puzzling things, is this tech group using low tech community practices.

"The IETF... measures consensus by asking factions to hum... assessed by volume/ferocity. Vigorous humming, even from only a few, could indicate... that consensus has not yet been reached."
Apr 6, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
"Legitimate political change doesn’t come from one person, even a superpowered just person making decrees. Legitimate change comes from a broad base of popular support, things like that. We don’t know what a comic book about that would look like."… "[superheroes] can be problematic... how are they using their power? a story about reinforcing the status quo, or about overturning the status quo? And most popular superhero stories are always about maintaining the status quo." - Ted Chiang
Apr 5, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
We are sadly going to see dumb regressions where we fail to learn the best lessons of remote work:

Why should a boss care about about naps, breaks, socializing, etc. if the employee does their job well? The answer is they shouldn't.… Smart managers should always say:

"I will trust you to nap, take breaks, take time off for personal things, or other ideas you have, provided you do your job well."

Everyone wins. If trust is broken that's one thing, but not to even try makes for a foolish manager.
Mar 31, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
1. The irony of being an expert:

You spend years studying, practicing, and developing deep skills to qualify for a job as an expert.

Then you discover work is often w/ people with none of your expertise but the power to ignore your field at a whim as if it didn't exist. 2. The joy of being an expert:

Your insights are needed in thousands of important places and situations and you are one of a small group of people who has the potential to make great things happen. The rewards from solving problems the way you can are rare in the working world.
Mar 20, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
The first principle of thinking about the future is to admit we are a foolish species. We do dumb things. We get distracted easily. We repeat history. We are tribal. We are wired for hunting/gathering, not for "civilization". If you don't start here you are part of the problem. When people talk about the future they tend to imagine we are some other species that doesn't have our staggeringly dumb track record. It's an amazing phenomenon. It's almost like futurists have never studied history, much less the history of people talking about the future.
Mar 18, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
1. Many leaders in organizations set up designers to fail.

They hire designers without understanding their value and what must be done for them to succeed. The opportunity is a lie when the truth is designers are involved too late and with too little power to ever succeed. 2. Hiring designers only to ignore them might be the cruelest kind of design theater. It enables a CEO to say "we have a great UX team" while in reality, they reward unqualified PMs and engineers for doing most of the designing.
Mar 11, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
1. In the debate over the best communication tool, like Slack or email, what's missing is consideration of org culture. Tools rarely change culture, but culture always changes tools.

The trap is changing tools is less scary for managers than learning how to change culture. 2. Managers can't help but want tools that make their job easier. As much as they might say "this will help our team" unless they're doing user research to understand how their team actually works, they are heavily biased towards their own needs and experiences.
Mar 5, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
If you think everyone loves your product, you haven't done enough user research yet. When projects start don't just write goals, write non-goals too.

A non-goal is a scenario/profile that coworkers might be tempted to design for, but you want to make clear is out of scope early.

"goal: simple meal ordering"
"Non-goal: filtering for custom diets"
Feb 22, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
1. It's easy to think being a star at a job will make for a good manager, but it's a fallacy. They are different roles. Good managers help everyone do better work, regardless of their talents - a very different skill from being a solo star. 2. Stars pride themselves on great solo work. Shifting to taking pride in how others work, removing roadblocks, coaching, encouraging... is often hardest for the greatest talents. They can't let go. They delegate poorly. Talent growth challenges their "supremacy."
Sep 23, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
1. Interesting report on mask use in U.S.

On average 80% of Americans say they wear masks. But they observe only 51% of other people wearing them. Hmm.

I know it's based in cognitive bias, but surprised somehow to see it by such a wide margin. Image 2. This was less surprising: urban vs. rural, except for the *wider gap* in self vs. other perception in rural areas - more pressure to claim wearing masks even if they don't? ImageImage
Sep 21, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
1. Leaders should always credit people when mentioning their ideas. Even if that person is not in the conversation.

You win just for saying the idea at the right time.

If you're unsure where an idea came from, say so or ask. Pretending it's yours will come back to haunt you. 2. PMs & people who work across disciplines hear many ideas in many contexts and it's hard to track it all in your mind. That's OK. But own it.

If you want more good ideas to come to you, err on giving credit away rather than taking it. Once burned smart people will avoid you.
Sep 16, 2020 15 tweets 7 min read
1. A great innovation in business tech was announced on this day in 1959 - The Xerox 914.

It's hallmark was simplicity: unlike competitors, you simply placed your paper on glass and pressed a button.

How Chester Carlson invented it is a great story of risk and persistence. Image 2. Carlson worked at Bell Labs in the 1930s in the patent dept. He had 100s of ideas for different inventions, but focused on copying because typing with carbon paper was messy and frustrating.

The "cc:" line in email today is a reference to carbon copy. Image
Sep 14, 2020 13 tweets 6 min read
1. The product world has an odd relationship with "designing for humans". Often it's designing to sell rather than designing for actual use.

Take this clever "have a look" feature - it briefly raises toast so you can see how done it is.

Another design that solves this... 2. Is this one. By just making the toast visible you don't need a button or any extra engineering to raise the toast.

It *eliminates the need for interaction*, which is often a better experience.

But wait... what problem does all this solve? Somehow that question gets lost.
Sep 9, 2020 8 tweets 3 min read
1. The breakthrough for people with ideas is the day they realize even the best idea does little on its own.

An idea often depends on a system for it to have value. That system could be an organization, a community or a technology. This is shocking because… 2. The mythology around ideas is that they are magical. That obtaining an idea is rare, but once you have it you've done the hard part. This is the *myth of epiphany* - most epiphany stories skip the real work that happened. Myths are fun after all!…