thoughtless interactor

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a thoughtless interactor? Have you ever been approached by a person whose thoughtlessness in their communication to you created irritation? An interaction that simply bamboozled you in its obliviousness and immediately annoyed you? Someone who just made you shake your head in disgust and ask:

  • Why are you emailing, texting, or calling me at inopportune moments?
  • Why are you sending massively verbose documents and requiring feedback via email?
  • Why do you think that I don’t want to interact with you?

As a thoughtless interactor could it be that you are on the receiving end of these negative client/customer* situations?

  • Because you haven’t taken the time to get to know me enough to gauge how I will take your message. Stop charging ahead with what you want from me before you understand me.
  • Because you keep making more work for me. Stop adding things to my to-do list and make it easy for me to talk to you.
  • Because I don’t like your thoughtless approach to getting what you want from me. Stop and think before you create an interaction.

Basic human interaction design principles centre around lessening the ‘cognitive burden’ on the client or customer of the interaction. Many daily interactions could be better with a small dose of human interaction common sense!

Basic interaction design principles would encourage us all to:

  1. Understand the client/customer & their world
  2. Know your role in interacting with the client / customer
  3. Craft your messaging, medium, & response required from the client / customer to fit or exceed their expectations
  4. Follow through & follow-up to create follower-ship (the making of advocates)
  5. Be fun, different, & a breath of fresh air (apply the power of positivity)

Let’s all be thoughtful interactors! Huzzah!

Rant over.

*Remember that everyone you interact with is your client or customer in one way or another. When in doubt follow the chain of customer-ship.


This week at work I presented my method on making gnarly PowerPoints. It was surfing inspired.  I enjoyed it a bit too much. :-)

snail in the dark

No need to run in the dark, likely a snail will conquer the ambiguous darkness by testing the environment.

This year I have been seriously focused on a specific mission in my growth, focusing on strengths & building an advocate base in hostile turf. Often this makes me feel like I am crawling along at a snail’s pace deep in a dark ambiguous place, with no knowledge what kind of dangers are around me. This has helped me to slow my roll and learn new skills to test the environment around me before making grandiose leaps of effort which might have little impact.

Our project this year has been a whirlwind opportunity that has allowed me to grow my skills and resilience by huge factors. Most importantly I have learned few key super powers I’d like to share with you:

1. The power of the one pager
A well thought out and cleverly designed story on a single page gets more buy-in than all the reams of research behind it. A one pager done well can take you longer than a 10 page report, but its so easily shareable and gets your message across well.

2. The power of the live visualisation
A good doodle on a whiteboard goes much further than all the research, reports, interviews and client quotes you can find.

3. The power of ‘covert network comms’
As you try to go around and get buy-in from seriously busy people, whose diaries are always chock-a-block… it is often easier to go see all their direct reports individually and communicate with the whole network covertly before you can reach the top dog. Giving people a sneak peek is a great feeling and a good way to gather and incorporate their critiques making the whole a more successful endeavour.


Hey listen, think about 9 year old Julissa, who can so clearly articulate what the good life is, maybe we should all try this activity and gain some clarity?

Originally posted on Relational Welfare:

We’ve just run across this tweet by the brilliant 826 Valencia, a San Francisco-based organisation that promotes writing skills for young people. It was created by 9 year old Julissa and shows her take on “the good life”:

The Good Life

We love this because (aside from being pretty darn adorable)  Julissa has managed to create in what we’re guessing was a few minutes what it’s taken our researchers years to refine: a framework of the capabilities people need to create a good life. They might differ a little bit, but all the important pieces are there:

Our capabilities Julissa’s good life
Relationships: capability to build and sustain relationships Helping family; helping friends (We hope they help you too, Julissa)
Work & learning: capability to participate in structured learning and working activities Have a job; good school (no skipping class, no hitting)
Community & environment: capability…

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Simple, powerful words from one of the most well versed relationship building partners in Deloitte Australia & Nike.
“Why not stop procrastinating and make the call or send the email NOW. It could be the start of something big” – John Meacock

Boil it down another level:
“Just do it, it could be something big.”

Originally posted on John Meacock:

What is most important in building a relationship or making a sale:

  • preparation?
  • elevator message?
  • defining value?
  • understanding the client’s needs?

All of these are critical, but not the MOST important factor – the most important thing is stated by Nike – ‘Just do it’.

That is, overcoming the personal inertia and picking up the phone, walking up to someone at a function, hitting send on an email, texting the SMS or mailing the article. So why not stop procrastinating and make the call or send the email NOW. It could be the start of something big.

View original


Kate Saunderson has done a great summary of good career advice article.

Originally posted on interested and interesting?:

Source: Career rocket rule: Whether you’re a millennial or eyeing retirements, heres what you really need to get right about work a blog post by Brian Fetherstonhaugh sent to me by Alicia Dudek to put things in perspective.

Thoughts: The article begins with you undertaking some simple arithmetic, it asks you to subtract your current age from the number 62. This sets the scene for the rest of the article, namely, how many years do you have left to work. I have, at least, another 35 years, all going well. So what do you do with that time and how, if you are near the beginning, do you comprehend what that means and act strategically?

Fetherstonhaugh references the work of Malcolm Gladwells work in outliers, the concept that it takes 10,00 hours to become excellent at something. So in my dream scenario where I only work a 32 hour week…

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Play nice: design ethnographer meets management consultant, an interview with Alicia Dudek from Deloitte Digital.

I met Trisha Wang at EPIC 2013 last year and our discussion turned into an interview which has been put up on Ethnomatters, one of the the premier ethnographic community blogs.

Check out a new blogpost for the Deloitte Digital blog.

In this post I discuss customer centricity & big data based on Trisha Wang’s Keynote address from EPIC 2013 (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference)

You can read it here:

or click on the picture:

deloitte digital blogpost - Alicia Dudek


Rachel Shadoan, my research partner and alma gemela (soul twin), once wrote this beyond amazing post about how to live with uncertainty in a field as constantly uncertain as ethnography. I rediscovered it today and it really helped me cope with some of the stress I have been under lately.

Originally posted on Rachel Shadoan Muses:

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliche that the world isn’t black and white. This is true. And if you want to be a design ethnographer, you’d best get accustomed to living in the gray.

Living in the gray is a balancing act, which involves, among many other things:

  • standing with one foot in the world of a social scientist and one in the world of a designer
  • balancing a client’s agenda while protecting the interests of participants
  • staying true to the richness and variety of ethnographic results while distilling actionable insights
  • switching from hyper-analytical meta-cognitive work to the hyper-aware meditative zen in-the-moment mindset of fieldwork
  • constantly convincing people that what you do is valuable
  • empathizing without becoming emotionally invested
  • distilling without oversimplifying or overgeneralizing

And that is completely outside of the very normal student worries such as

  • how to pay off student loans
  • where to find a job post-graduation in…

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Alicia Dudek

Design Ethnographer
User Experience Consultant
Design Thinker
Play Advocate
Post-it Note Junkie

p.s. These are all my own words, not my employer's.

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