Posts tagged “presentation”

Slides from yesterday’s talk on Improv, Creativity and Design

Last night I spoke at the ACM Bay Area chapter’s monthly event. My talk was Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha: Improv, Creativity and Design, another iteration of a talk I’ve been giving since 2005. For me, the topic continues to evolve and inspire and each time I talk to a group about this, some new things emerge. Last night, I talked (albeit briefly) about the power of Yes. In improv, we hear a lot about “Yes, and…” which is really an alternative to saying “no.” In “Yes, and…” you accept an idea and then add your own. But I really got to thinking about the fundamental reframe being about empowering ourselves to say Yes. The “and…” is about putting yourself back into it, but I thought there was something to focusing for a moment on the core idea of responding to things with yes. A few years ago we led an ideation training workshop and at the end we had everyone line up and one at a time come to the front and say something that they had learned, while everyone in the room responded with “Yes!” While it had a bit of a revival meeting about it, it was an interesting exercise. My challenge to the folks last night (a mix of old-skool Silicon Valley types and people in my network, all of whom jumped into the games and exercise) was to try responding yes in a situation where you might typically respond no. It’s a challenge I’ll have to take on myself as well.

The slides are below:

Steve speaking locally, about improv, design, and creativity

I am frequently asked when I’m doing a public talk in the SF Bay Area, and now I can answer: next week!

I’m giving my popular talk Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha in Cupertino on Wednesday, June 20th, at 6:30. This talk, about improv, creativity, and design, is something I’ve revisited and revised for a number of years. As the talk has evolved, I’ve presented it at CHIFOO, Puget Sound SIGCHI, IxDA New York (slides, video), IDSA’s Southern Conference, IDSA/ICSID World Design Congress, IDSA 2009, and DUX05.

Read more here, and come on down to the event
HP Oak Room
19111 Pruneridge Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014

I hope to see you there. No iguanas will be harmed. No one will be forced to do improv but there should be plenty of opportunities to try it out if you’re up for it!

This Week @ Portigal

Here’s the latest on our end

  • Infrastructure? Who needs it! After last week’s challenges (resolution still pending) on the water for our kitchen, today PG&E finally made good on their repeated promise to only offer intermittent power throughout the day. So we’re in and out, in cafes, and waiting hopefully for full service to return.
  • We’re taking last week’s flurry of Bay Area and Sacramento interviews and very rapidly turning that into a deliverable. We’re committed to finishing up this week (which is about as rapid as we’ve ever done something like this, admittedly with a bit of trepidation) but it looks like our client has some scheduling gremlins emerging at the last minute.
  • It’s San Francisco Design Week, a time to hang out at other firms, talking to our friends, and eating-and-drinking from their free and sumptuous spreads. Maybe we’ll see you around (we’ll be the ones with our mouths full).
  • We’re hiring!
  • I’m in some near-final stages with the book, focusing on the images, a lot of which I’m crowdsourcing from other research folks. Hooray, community!
  • Do you have a fieldwork War Story? Please share it with us!
  • We’re moving ahead on upcoming talks at CPSI, San Francisco/Bay Area ACM, and WebVisions Barcelona.
  • What we’re consuming: Stanley Park Noble Pilsner, Crunchie Bar, Hyperbole TV.

Back from UX Lisbon

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Lisbon and presenting at UX Lx.

I gave an updated version of “Well, We’ve Done All This Research, Now What?” where we did a brief observation of the area around the venue and then developed concepts that spoke to the needs we uncovered. Among the concepts the teams played with was a giant robotic sheep that would provide shade.

The slide deck:

Per Axbom took a series sketchnotes during the session and kindly posted all of them here.

I gave a short presentation on the final day of the conference, exploring the power of user research not only to uncover data that drives product development but to change the way an organization thinks about it’s customers and itself.

The slide deck:

Sketchnotes from, Per Axbom, and Francis Rowland.

Click to see larger original

(Side note: amusing to see the consistent use of the presenter caricature. The organizers of the conference may have contributed to this; in each attendee packet was a poster showing a funny if awkward scene with cartoon representations of all the different speakers, as well as a set of cards for one of the speakers. Attendees were supposed to trade cards until they got a complete set.)

This Week @ Portigal

We all survived Friday the 13th last week and are ready to take on another week that certainly promises to end less ominously…

So, what’s happening this week at Portigal? Quite a bit…

  • We are up to our ears in interesting opportunities that require some creative thinking about participant engagement. Our research gears are turning!
  • Steve and Tamara will be giving a curtain-call presentation of findings from a recent study.
  • We continue to prepare for upcoming fieldwork (New York!! Los Angeles!!) and Julie is going to be busy making some tools to catalyze conversation.
  • Steve presses on with writing for his forthcoming book, synthesizing fabulous interviews with change agents who have driven the adoption of user research and pulling together the great suggestions people contributed to Tips to Improve Your Interviewing Skills (and a request for more!)
  • We are percolating some sweet ideas for primary research in 2012 for the Omni project and plan to share them soon. Stay tuned…
  • Steve continues to plug away on various tasks related to the upcoming Interaction 12 in Dublin.
  • We are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Wednesday so we can get our geek on at Nerd Nite SF!
  • Steve is meeting with a big Silicon Valley player to explore how we can deliver design research training to their teams.
  • We continue to search for (and find!) cool opportunities for learning, teaching, and sharing. Julie and Tamara are currently in the throes of submitting proposals for Agile2012 and a few other gigs…
  • Tamara continues to dive deep into the eye-candy-land of visual thinking, doodling, mind mapping, graphic facilitation, etc. and welcomes suggestions for articles, websites, examples or groups of local SFists who like to get together with colored markers, blank paper, and ideas.

Merry Monday and Happy Week to you!

This Week @ Portigal

People often ask us “Just what the heck are you people up to these days?” (Sometimes they just say “Wassup?” but we just figure they are stuck in another decade). We’ve been enjoying posts like the Weekending updates from our new friend Julian Bleecker and we’ve always wanted people to know that real people work here (not just ridiculously brilliant innovator-bots) so while this might be a bit of a departure for All This Chittah Chattah, let us welcome you to the first in what we intend to be a regular series of updates about what’s going on with our team!

  • We tore into the New Year with an off-site planning meeting to talk about where we want to head with our little team over this next year. While a change in venue meant we didn’t get to sample American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, we did enjoy a little Freedom From Choice cocktail to unwind from an intense day of future-envisioning
  • We’re kicking off a new project with a very tech-forward organization. We’ve been working this team in a training capacity to help them transform their marketing practice into a more user-centered approach, but now they’ve asked us to work with them to bring their professional and consumer customers more deeply into their culture
  • Two of the projects we wrapped up at the end of December come back to life briefly as we meet with more stakeholders to share results and discuss the business implications
  • We’ll be joining our office-mates at Bayley.Co for a Welcome Back soiree at Pacifica’s newly-reopened Moonraker

Good times!

Portigal Consulting year in review, 2011

Another year is speeding towards its conclusion and we wanted to share our highlights for 2011.

Really nostalgic? Check out summaries from 2010, 2009 and 2008.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] My Notes on Steve Portigal’s presentation – Design Fieldwork: Uncovering Innovation from the Outside In [The Pam] – [Pam pulls out the key points from my UIE WAMT presentation that most resonated with her.] The knowledge “You’re not your user” creates empathy, but going out to the field makes you listen and understand what your users are going through. Through fieldwork you can detect unmet business goals. Doing fieldwork can accomplish many research goals at the same time, not only about the users but also about your organizational goals.
  • [from steve_portigal] Web App Masters: Uncovering Innovation with Fieldwork [LukeW] – [Luke's summary notes from my 75-minute talk.] Be a methods-polygamist. Choose, mash-up, or create a methodology based on the problem you are trying to solve. Integrate with other methods. Create a library of methods and artifacts that you can call on and modify as needed. Different methodologies tell you different things. It’s not an either or.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Let’s Be Frank: Divisadero Public Discussion Board [The Bold Italic] – [Building on yesterday's quickie – here's a local example of the use of public space as a form for gathering thoughts of residents.] I think it's cool that people can participate after the event by writing their thoughts on the chalkboards. This neighborhood has evolved so much in the last few years, and I'm sure everyone who lives here has thoughts about the transformation, good and bad. I'm personally worried that the changes will leave out members of the old neighborhood, but I'm hopeful when I see the community come together on projects like these. However you feel about the change, I think it's a positive step when people are asked to voice their opinions in the process. So neighbors of Divisadero, don't be shy, what do you think the community needs?

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Need More Calm? [Do Nothing for 2 Minutes] – [If you do give up PowerPoint this week, you may find yourself with a little time on your hands. In that case, consider spending two minutes at It seems to be as much about taunting you for your inability to leave your mouse and keyboard alone for two minutes as it is about encouraging relaxation and meditation. If you achieve the modest goal they set forth you are met with some marketing. If you don't you are told that you FAIL.] Need more calm? We're thinking about additional tools we could create to aid relaxation. If you'd like to know if we launch something, pop in your email below.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Say No to PowerPoint Week [Fast Company] – [Though PowerPoint certainly can be a powerful communication tool, are we turning to it too often out of collective habit? It is the expected medium; we deliver it. But do we really need the same tool for every objective? Storytelling, sales, reporting… it's rare that PowerPoint is questioned as the go-to move for any of the above on projects, for business meetings or at conferences. Edward Tufte has been on this for years of course:] Suffering from PowerPoint fatigue? You're not alone. Tech conferences, including Demo and Finovate, have banned boring slide shows in favor of short, fast-paced product demos.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Lending Coming Soon for Kindle [Kindle Forum] – [This announcement from Amazon produced a lot of skepticism on the important caveat – that lending will be dependent on the publishers. Nice move that allows Amazon to raise their eyebrows innocently, "Oh, sure, we're allowing people to share eBooks. It's those greedy publishers that won't let you do it. But don't look at us!"] Later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.
  • [from steve_portigal] Proposing a Taxonomy of Social Reading [Institute for the Future of the Book] – [Bob Stein opens the conversation on how we can further the dialog about what it means to be social in reading. The wiki-like format he's used allows for discussion but is pretty difficult to navigate. I've linked here to the overview page that summarizes the current entries in the taxonomy] In recent months the phrase “social reading” has been showing up in conversation and seems well on its way to being a both a useful and increasingly used meme. While I find this very exciting, as with any newly minted phrase, it’s often used to express quite different things…In order to advance our understanding of how reading (and writing) are changing as they begin to shift decisively into the digital era, it occurred to me that we need a taxonomy to make sense of a range of behaviors all of which fit within the current “social reading” rubric.
  • [from steve_portigal] Cross-examining your interview skills [Slideshare] – [Discovered through Google Alerts since it quotes me, but shared here because it's a great reference for a lot of fundamental interpersonal (and other) aspects of interviewing]
  • [from steve_portigal] Some crayons belong in kids’ mouths [Seattle Times Newspaper] – [Old news perhaps, but new news to me. A surprising brand name for a beverage!] In 2003, Seay bought the Crayons trademark for use with food and beverages from someone who had been tinkering with using it with juices on the East Coast. The crayons trademark is not the same as Crayola, a company that sells a popular brand of the colorful writing instruments known as crayons. Coincidentally, another local company — Advanced H2O on Mercer Island — uses the Crayola brand name for a bottled-water line called Crayola Color Coolerz.
  • [from steve_portigal] HP’s Slate specs slated by bloggers [Boing Boing] – [As Homer Simpson said, it's funny cuz it's true] it's just a pretty keyboardless netbook. Its most interesting characteristic is a bizarre slide-out tray that exists only to display the Windows 7 licensing information. It's like something from some kind of screwball comedy about awful product design: HP was apparently obliged to do this because it didn't want to mess up the exterior with this compulsory information panel.

Skill Building for Design Innovators (from CHIFOO)

At CHIFOO in Portland this week, I presented Skill Building for Design Innovators.

How can you broaden your sphere of influence within the field of human-computer interaction? You can start by building your muscles! Steve will take a look at some fundamental skills that underlie the creation and launch of innovative goods and services. He will discuss the personal skills that he considers to be “the muscles of innovators” and the ways you can build these important muscles, including noticing, understanding cultural context, maintaining exposure to pop culture, synthesizing, drawing, wordsmithing, listening, and prototyping. Along the way, he will demonstrate how improving these powerful skills will equip you to lead positive change.

Here are the slides and audio:

Listen to audio:

To download the audio Right-Click and Save As… (Windows) or Ctrl-Click (Mac)

Culture: You’re Soaking In It (from UPA2010)

At UPA2010 in Munich last month, I presented Culture: You’re Soaking In It

Culture is everywhere we look, and (perhaps more importantly) everywhere we don’t look. It informs our work, our purchases, our usage, our expectations, our comfort, and our communications (indeed, if you aren’t familiar with a specific geographic and historical set of experiences, the presumably clever title for this talk will instead be perhaps bland). In this presentation, Steve will explore the ways we can experience, observe, and understand diverse cultures to foster successful collaborations, usable products, and desirable experiences.

Here are the slides and audio:


Listen to audio:

To download the audio Right-Click and Save As… (Windows) or Ctrl-Click (Mac)

Also see: Rachel Hinman’s wonderful opening keynote Technology as a Cultural Practice


About Steve