Inspiring Innovation at UX Summit 2015

Inspiring Innovation at UX Summit 2015

Inspiring Innovation
Summary:

Last month, Matt travelled to the Philippines to teach a workshop about how to inspire innovation in your workplace. Fair warning: his write-up of the trip includes photos of hammocks, beaches, and enviable countryside. Read on to live vicariously!

Regular readers will know that last year Luke and I took our Introduction to UX workshop to Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

This was the first time we’d taken any of our workshops overseas, and we were delighted that the principles and format translated reasonably well cross-culturally. Of course, the fact we were able to enjoy a holiday with the lovely folks from UXMNL after the training event was over was clearly a huge part of why we enjoyed the experience so much! (Read Part 1 and Part 2 of my travel diary).

Well, last month I had the very good fortune of returning to the Philippines to deliver more UX training. This time my fellow instructor was A Practical Guide to Information Architecture author and UX Australia organiser, Donna Spencer.

The workshop room at the Green Sun Hotel, full of eager participants
The workshop room at the Green Sun hotel

 

A few words about UXMNL

I feel compelled to give a massive shout-out to Phil and the team at UXMNL. User Experience is not a mature concept in the Philippines—it’s not uncommon to receive poor service in a range of industries, and the UXMNL team want to change that. They’ve set themselves the admirable and ambitious goal of “making outstanding customer experience the norm in the Philippines”. One of the ways they’re making this happen is by running affordable education seminars like this event, titled UX Summit 2015.

The UXMNL team greet workshop participants at the registration desk. Photo credit: <a href="http://www.wheninmanila.com/ux-mnl-summit-2015-the-fun-fusion-of-structure-and-innovation/">When In Manila</a>
The UXMNL team greet workshop participants at the registration desk. Photo credit: When In Manila

They also know how to make speakers feel like rock stars. A massive thank-you to Phil, Christine, Kate, Zara, the helpful conference interns and everyone else involved in the event. Plus, the event sold out, with 250 people attending across both days. I foretell big things in the future for the UXMNL team!

Inspiring Innovation in the Workplace

Day 1 of the UX Summit consisted of yours truly running the Inspiring Innovation workshop that Luke and I have run in Melbourne a couple of times. The workshop is all about helping the next generation of designers become facilitators (psst: we’re running it again in Melbourne later in the year).

Matt explains an activity to 250 eager participants
Matt explains an activity to 250 eager participants. Photo credit: rappler.com

The activities in the workshop are a mix of techniques I’ve used on client projects over the years, as well as a few that are well documented in books by some of my heroes in the visual thinking world—folks like Dan Roam, Sunni Brown, and others. Participating in the activities gives students get the opportunity to gain experience running some of these collaborative creativity exercises, which they may not get the opportunity to do at work.

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If you’d like more information, check out the excellent write-up at rappler.com, which goes into detail about the activities and what participants learned. The team at When In Manila have also published a ton of photos and thoughts about the day.

Participants explain their wireframes to the group
Participants explain their wireframes to the group
Participants fill out their FABI grid
Participants fill out their FABI grid. Photo credit: rappler.com

Killer Information Architecture

Day 2 saw Donna take the stage to teach a full day of information architecture. Her workshop material was, as always, polished, insightful, and fun. Students were taken on a journey to design a website of their choosing, and along the way learned all about categories, card sorting, and Donna’s weird obsession with organising everything. A handful of lucky attendees also received a free copy of her book!

Donna explains an activity to participants. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.wheninmanila.com/ux-mnl-summit-2015-the-fun-fusion-of-structure-and-innovation/">When In Manila</a>
Donna explains an activity to participants. Photo Credit: When In Manila

 

Celebrating Hard Work

With the hard work out the way, Donna, myself, and a handful of the UXMNL team took some time-out at an amazing resort called Coco Beach, near Puerto Galera. I don’t use that word amazing lightly—I’m talking golden sand, thatched-roof huts dotted throughout the hillside, amidst a jungle of coconut trees and chirping wildlife.

The pool at Coco Beach, with some thatched huts beyond
The pool at Coco Beach, with some thatched huts beyond. Photo credit: Donna Spencer
Coco Beach from the boat
Coco Beach from the boat
Taking a well-earned break at the beach
Taking a well-earned break at the beach

I won’t go into a terrible amount of detail, for fear of making you green with jealousy. Suffice to say the next few days involved a fair amount of snorkelling, scuba diving (sea turtles! giant clams!), drinking cocktails by the pool, and reading books in a hammock. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it. Yes, this was one of those memorable “pinch me” moments that I will treasure forever.

Upcoming Workshops

Now that I’m back to the real world, allow me to mention the fact that you don’t need to travel to Manila to learn all about UX design, sketching, or innovation. We’re teaching a handful of UX training workshops between now and the end of the year. Feel free to download an info sheet if you’d like to know more (or have something to show your boss).

Matthew Magain
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Matthew Magain
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