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111 / Using Data to Inform Design, with Krissi Xenakis & Jocelyne Dittmer

Hosted by Paul Gebel & Freddy Romano




Krissi Xenakis & Jocelyne Dittmer


Krissi Xenakis is a product design leader and educator. She teaches Advanced Interaction Design at the School of Visual Art’s (SVA) Products of Design MFA program and runs a design practice in Brooklyn that helps startups establish product design foundations. 

Previously as the Director of Product Design at Komodo Health, she led the design discipline to build data analytic experiences. While at IBM, she taught clients cloud-native design and development best practices and incorporated emerging technologies, such as AI, IoT, and Blockchain, across the globe. Before IBM, Xenakis was responsible for product design and brand as Head of Design at Shake Law, later acquired by LegalShield.  

Xenakis received an MFA in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Some of her past clients include ADP, Anthem, Citi, Duke Energy, GSK, IKEA, National Geographic Magazine, Vodafone, and Volvo. 


Jocelyne Dittmer is a design leader with over 14 years of product, industry, and consulting experience. She currently works at IBM where she tackles really interesting innovation challenges that leverage a human-centered and lean approach to product design and tap into the best of what emerging technology has to offer.

Before joining IBM, Jocelyne was a designer and researcher at MAYA Design (acquired by Boston Consulting Group). Here she accelerated digital innovation within client organizations and coached teams on human-centered design best practices.

Prior to MAYA Design, she worked with large multinational companies across continents to craft refined digital user experiences at Markit On Demand (acquired by IHS Markit).

Jocelyne received a BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. Some of her past clients include EY, S&P Global, HSBC, Visa, CNBC, The Climate Service, Versus Arthritis, and World Health Organisation.

Jocelyne is not an authorised spokesperson for IBM; all thoughts and ideas shared here are her own.

The world may be shrinking, but it doesn’t always feel that way. As product design leaders Krissi Xenakis & Jocelyne Dittmer explain, it’s more important than ever to get aligned around culture and craft, balancing the needs of the business with the needs of the team. Especially with remote and distributed teams, collaboration around complementary skills is essential. One of the most important areas of collaboration for design leaders today is with data scientists and data teams.

In this episode of Product Momentum, Krissi Xenakis & Jocelyne Dittmer join co-hosts Paul Gebel and Freddy Romano, a UX Design Lead at ITX, using their journey to share how maintaining a community of collaboration helps overcome both distance and professional disciplines.

“The design practice continues to evolve,” Jocelyne says. “As it does, similar advances in data science have created an intersection point, making it crucial for these two disciplines to work together so that we can create meaningful experiences for users and drive better outcomes.”

Data is a really big word, adds Krissi. “People assume that if I’m talking about ‘data,’ I must be referring to quantitative metrics or user insights. And I touch on the aspects of qualitative and quantitative in my talk, but it’s less about qualitative vs. quantitative; it’s more about choosing the right research program based on what you need to learn.”

Designers, she continues, sometimes fall into the same trap as other makers when it comes to building a solution before they’ve defined the problem. “It’s wrong to jump in and say, ‘okay, today we’re going to do user testing’ before making sure that user testing will give us the answers we need. There are so many different ways to learn, just like there are so many different ways to design.”

The connection between design and data will become even more important over time, especially with the emergence of AI and other advanced technologies, these experts agree. Designers need to be able to react to that, but also have the foresight to think about what comes next.

“Designers want to be part of the conversation, and if we’re not, we need to inject ourselves into it,” Jocelyne says, “to make sure we’re thinking about desired outcomes and not just about, ‘here’s the data we have today.’”

Want to hear more from Krissi Xenakis and Jocelyne Dittmer? Grab your tickets now for ITX’s 2nd annual Product + Design Conference, June 22-23 in Rochester, NY. Learn more.

Paul [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to Product Momentum, where we hope to entertain, educate, and celebrate the amazing product people who are helping to shape our community’s way ahead. My name is Paul Gebel and I’m the Director of Product Innovation at ITX. Along with my co-host, Sean Flaherty, and our amazing production team and occasional guest host, we record and release a conversation with a product thought leader, writer, speaker, or maker who has something to share with the community every two weeks.

Paul [00:00:43] Everyone really excited to bring you this episode with Krissi Xenakis and Jocelyn Dittmer. Also joining me today is Freddy Romano. He’s a UX Design Lead here at ITX, and we covered a lot of ground. Freddy, I was really happy to have you on the show with me along for this ride.

Freddy [00:00:56] Thank you. Thank you, Paul, for having me on the show. Yeah, I was really, really interested to participate, mostly because my background is kind of related to that. I’ve been educated in design and data also, and I think that the subject was really interesting to have, also because these two people are going to participate in the conference that we’re going to have next month. And that was awesome for me. And a few takeaways that we took from this is the value of collaboration between designers, not only within a company, but also, you know, in your network of contacts, and also the value of overcoming things like the imposter syndrome and how does the integration between designers going to help with that?

Paul [00:01:31] Awesome. I think we had a great conversation. I’m sure this is going to be valuable to all of our listeners, so let’s get after it.

Paul [00:01:39] Well hello and welcome to the pod. Today we are delighted to be joined by two special guests, Krissi Xenakis and Jocelyne Dittmer. Krissi is a product design leader and educator. She teaches advanced interaction design at SVA’s Products of Design MFA Program and runs a design practice in Brooklyn helping startups establish product design foundations. Previously, she led the design discipline at Komodo Health and taught cloud-native design and development at IBM, incorporating emerging technologies worldwide. She held a Head of Design tenure at Shake Law before its acquisition at Legal Shield. She holds an MFA in Graphic design at Maryland Institute College of Art and has worked with clients such as ADP, Anthem, CITI, Duke Energy, GSK, IKEA, National Geographic, Vodafone, and Volvo.

Paul [00:02:22] Jocelyne is a design leader with over 14 years of product, industry, and consulting experience. Currently, at IBM, she tackles innovative challenges using human-centered and Lean approaches to product design, incorporating emerging technology. Previously at Maya Design and Markit on Demand, she accelerated digital innovation, coached teams on human-centered design, and crafted refined user experiences for multinational clients. Jocelyne holds a BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media and has worked with clients such as EY, S&P Global, HSBC, Visa, CNBC, The Climate Service, Versus Arthritis, and the World Health Organization. Krissi and Jocelyne, so happy to have you. Thanks for taking some time to join us today.

Krissi [00:03:01] Thanks for having us.

Jocelyne [00:03:02] Thanks, happy to be here.

Paul [00:03:03] Absolutely. So I’d love to start off with a bit of background about your story. You’ve been collaborating together. You kind of found each other on a journey at IBM together, but it’s been sort of an evolving collaboration together. Can you kick us off and tell us a bit about how you got started with this adventure that you’re on together?

Krissi [00:03:23] Yeah, I think one of the first projects Jocelyne and I worked on together, I was based in New York and she was in London, but we were kind of charged with building onboarding and training material to scale the IBM Garage practice, which is a great way to align on, “what do we want the teams to know and how do we grow?” So I started, like I said, in New York, but then was helping build offices all over the globe. So it was important for us to align on, like, culture and craft and balancing the difference from a worldwide view. And eventually, Jocelyne started overseeing the EMEA, and I was over the Americas, which kind of meant we didn’t get to collaborate in person as much, but it was really important for us to make sure we were aligned on culture and craft and balancing the different needs that businesses might have in markets from a worldwide point of view.

Krissi [00:04:18] And I think we’re both like really, really happy with the culture that we built on the team. And I still stay in touch with a lot of the designers on the team and obviously, Jocelyne and I have continued to collaborate with each other. I think as we were doing that, we just realized how complementary our skills were to each other. So for example, if I was working on a project where I might need some help on the scoping out the program that might be relevant, I’d usually have Jocelyne kind of review it and then she might pull me in if there was a project that wanted more kind of visual design sensibilities there. And we were just kind of trade roles to partner with the design team as such.

Jocelyne [00:04:58] Yeah, I think what was unique about that time was we would tackle the hardest challenges because we were overseeing the region. And so any tough challenge, net new thing that would come our way would be something that we have to figure out. And then having those peers of design leaders, design collaborators made it really productive and effective to actually test something, trial it quickly, see if it works, then roll it out to the rest of the team.

Jocelyne [00:05:21] But that was also something that we used and applied to the way that we were thinking about the rest of the design team and how we could almost use our method and approach for spending up on MVPs, testing them on products with clients, but actually using that approach methodology to how we were thinking about the culture of our practice and getting individual designers running experiments, feeding that back and using that, kind of almost bubbling that up to the regional level to see, “well, what’s working, what’s not, how are we measuring the success of those new experiments?” But really fostering that culture of innovation and trialing things and then scaling it worldwide.

Freddy [00:05:56] So about this idea of building community and how that can be super successful for generating synergy inside of our design team in big companies, how has generating communities helped you be successful professionally, both inside IBM but also in your careers outside of the company?

Krissi [00:06:13] Yeah. I think it’s important to remember as design leaders, I always tell my mentees and/or folks that I stay in contact with that I get just as much out of the conversations that I have with them as they’re getting for me. So a lot of times they’re like, “Oh, thank you for your time, blah, blah, blah.” I was like, but it is so important for me to see what the landscape is like for either an early career hire or I even mentor, like, early career product people and like kind of understanding those challenges, it helps me stay grounded.

Krissi [00:06:42] And that’s part of the reason why I also love teaching is because I’m like looking through design through a different lens, through a teaching lens, to like see what the students are interested in. So, you know, when it comes to like maintaining these different types of communities, I always say as a designer, you have to know a little bit about everything and nothing about anything. So you can be wise enough to ask the questions but not have too much ego to like always fill in the blanks. And I think having those communities where you have kind of a diversity of design skillsets through mentors and/or mentees can give you the language to answer those questions.

Paul [00:07:21] Love that. What I’m hearing a lot is kind of the law of reciprocity shining through. Kind of the more you give, the more you get. These networks and communities that you’re talking about building, ironically or even counterintuitively, are just as helpful, if not more helpful to the people building and teaching and nurturing and growing those coming up in the industry as it is for those who are doing the leading in these communities. I think that’s a really generous and kind of a growth mindset of where we’re looking at building people in this space. It can be lonely at times in product, in design, architecture, in the development of these products that we’re bringing to life. And it can feel like a slog. And I think that sometimes having these networks is a really healthy way to build. You know, we talk all the time about empathy for our users, but there’s also human beings building the products in real-time, and they’re just as human as anyone else in the mix. I think that’s a really, really great perspective.

Paul [00:08:14] I’d love to shift topics for just a minute or two, you know, and just as of the date of this recording, we’re a few short weeks from having you here in town, Rochester, for our conference. And some of the things that we’re going to be learning and talking about with you is the value of data insights in design and I’m wondering if you can talk about how this can be a meaningful space to have a conversation for design leaders, why it’s relevant at this moment more than ever.

Jocelyne [00:08:40] Yeah, I think the design practice has continued to evolve and I think the data science practice, we’ve seen such a rapid evolution, not just in the past few years, but probably in the past decade. And it’s really the intersection point kind of then, and as that emerges over time, where I think it’s really important for us to make sure that we’re collaborating and having meaningful conversations.

Jocelyne [00:09:01] Design leaders, I think, play a massive role in this space because, right, we’re looking at, “What are the user outcomes that we’re trying to drive?” And we need to be able to lean on and leverage the support of the data scientists and the data teams and what’s actually there, the number crunching, the data modeling, data optimization, right, all of the good outcomes that we can get from the data teams to support creating that meaningful experience for users to create new, better products. And as the technology behind the scene starts to emerge and evolve over time and get better and better, and we’re seeing so much in terms of AI at the moment, right? That’s just going to continue to evolve and change and get better. And we as designers really need to be able to react to that, but also have the foresight to be able to think about, “where is it going next, what are we going to be able to do tomorrow that we couldn’t do today?”.

Jocelyne [00:09:50] So making sure that we’re part of the conversation, and when we’re not, making sure that we’re injecting ourselves into the conversation to make sure that we’re one step ahead thinking about what is the desired outcome and not just thinking about, “here’s the data we have today?” Right, almost that set of constraints that we’ve set upon ourselves. But really looking at it a little bit more from a visionary perspective of, “where are we trying to get to, and if we don’t have the data today, that’s fine. How do we collect it? How do we mine it? How do we approach our projects differently to make sure that we can actually get to that net new thing that we want?”

Freddy [00:10:22] Thank you for that, Jocelyne. So this is actually an interesting topic to chat about because, for designers in general, it’s quite a challenge. Even though the practice has been in the new market and been executed for the last decade, we know also that in general designers don’t tend to come from this type of background, right? And it’s quite a challenge to get educated in, you know, the approaches on design practices, right? We know that there are challenges in there. So basically, how do designers get to balance between the research that we tend to know, which is more like a qualitative type of research, and balance between that and the data practices? How does that work? How do we level up both practices? How do we learn and implement both practices in our day-to-day basis?

Krissi [00:11:05] Yeah, data is a really big word, right? And people kind of come in and assume, if I’m talking about data, you might think that means I’m talking about quantitative metrics or I’m talking about an insight. I touch a little bit around the qualitative and quantitative bit in my talk because it’s really important to align research programs to business needs. And so it’s not necessarily about the outcome if it’s a qualitative or quantitative outcome, it’s more about, you know, what’s the right research program depending on what you need to learn and getting the business stakeholders, client, whoever you’re working with, aligned around what you want to learn and why versus, like, “this is the research program I’m going to do.” Because they’ll ask why anyways, and then you’ll get to the first spot.

Krissi [00:11:53] I think designers can easily fall into the trap just like any other kind of maker when it comes to, like, building before defining the problem, you know, like, “okay, we’re going to do some user testing.” It’s like, “Well, not all research is user testing, right? Is that really the program that you need to learn?” So, you know, as a teacher, I will say it’s important to have both qualitative and quantitative. But I think when you look one step lower, it’s like, the way you decide on what research program is meaningful is, what do you need to learn? Because there’s so many different ways to learn, just like there’s so many different ways to design. And I think where, you know, designers might feel defeated is, is if they go and they do a research program and nobody does anything with it or they don’t take their recommendations. And it’s not that it wasn’t, like, good work, it just wasn’t the right work maybe for the right time, based on what the business needed to learn.

Paul [00:12:53] That’s really interesting.

Krissi [00:12:54] It’s really cool though, looking at rage clicks. Sorry.

Paul [00:12:59] I love it. Krissi, springboarding off that just briefly into kind of what causes people to get into the creative sciences, the design and building empathy to solve a problem in a technical product but through a creative lens, there is a line or a concept that you revisited from time to time about kind of selling your creative soul at the benefit of being able to measure and qualify your designs through data. Can you unpack a bit of, what does it mean to build metrics in and yet preserve that creative spark that so many people are drawn to this industry because of?

Krissi [00:13:35] Yeah, I started thinking about this specifically a few years ago, well more than a few years ago, when dark patterns were a really hot topic, right, in the UX design community. But I’ve been thinking about it at a bit more of a higher level, specifically since I started my practice. I probably don’t talk about it enough. I think I think about it a lot.

Krissi [00:13:54] Many times as designers, our hobby is our craft and our craft is a hobby. So it’s really hard to like draw that line between work and life. So it’s important for designers to draw those boundaries around your work activities versus life activities. But with the talk, I also really want to give ways for designers to tackle that dreaded moment when a stakeholder, boss, client says, “It doesn’t have to look good.” What do you do with that? Right.

Krissi [00:14:19] And I get told that so many times. And you can unpack that because what they’re actually giving you, they’re giving you data. They’re giving you a piece of information. So let’s unpack that. Why does somebody say it doesn’t have to look good? So there are some limits around time. Is the time about money or is it about unblocking engineering? Is it about all the..? Like, figure out, like, what the crux of that, why it doesn’t need to look good because they’re giving you a solution without really understanding the problem. You’re the design expert.

Krissi [00:14:46] So the title’s a little tongue in cheek, like how do you not create your creative soul? But I think it’s more about, you know, being able to focus the time you do have on your craft doing meaningful work because it’s so depressing as designers to create some beautiful artifact that doesn’t get built, that nobody uses. You know, one of the reasons I really love teaching at Products of Design is because a big part of that program is teaching designers to think about the sustainability of their ideas through many different lenses, but one of them is business, of course. Because at the end of the day, like, cloud storage, fabrication. You know, as designers, you can’t just build something. It has to be sustainable. It’s expensive to host things in a cloud environment. So designers don’t have to answer the business question, but they need to be able to ask it. So a lot of what I think about when it comes to measuring design and being able to do the creative work that you really want to do is finding that sweet spot between user value, business value, creative value, and just focusing on the work that matters.

Paul [00:15:54] Yeah. Maybe I’m imposing some of my own experiences on this but what I heard you say is there’s kind of freedom in constraints. When you understand the guides and guardrails that surround a product and the teams, whether it’s the budget, you know, the iron triangle of scope, schedule, and budget, or the business constraints or legal and compliance that often have influence in what our products look and feel like… When we understand the limitations, there’s almost a freedom that comes with it that while, yes, we are sacrificing the all else being equal, the quote-unquote perfect product, great the creative soul. But we can preserve that creative integrity by embracing the constraints and understanding that it’s not sacrificing. By making things more holistic and understanding all of the constraints of the system, there’s almost a liberation that occurs. Am I bringing too much and reading too much between the lines?

Krissi [00:16:48] No, no, no. I think that’s a good point. I think there’s, like, another couple liners that I like to say is, you know, design without constraints is art. That’s something sometimes I think about a lot. I love art though. I think it’s a fuzzy line. I got some good advice when I was working on my thesis and I tell my students this too. Like, the more you can kind of narrow your focus, you can deepen the breadth of the work. So there’s only so much you can get done in a day. So I always think the hardest thing as a designer is prioritization. What do you want to get done? Where are you going to have the most impact about your craft so that, you know, you build the trust and that people trust you to do more of that craft. And giving those guardrails is a great way to focus.

Freddy [00:17:36] Totally, absolutely. It’s like, you know, the divergent exercise of being creative, it’s actually limited because you have a mind that consumes energy, you know, and you just get tired of trying to be creative all day. It makes total sense to just, you know, draw the boundaries of your talents so that you can be creative within those boundaries and probably come up with something that is actually innovative rather than just diverging, you know, across everything or every possibility. Right? But of course, to establish those boundaries, we have to have an effective communication, right? We have to understand, you know, the business needs. We have to understand the limitations of technology. We have to be able to understand all those limitations in order to be able to perform better. So Jocelyne, on your keynote about effective communication, can you give us an example of a project where were are actually able to, you know, steer the strategy and direction because of the effective communication?

Jocelyne [00:18:23] Yeah, I was thinking about this a little bit leading up to our chat today, and I think I’ve got a lot of good historic examples, but actually probably the best one is the one that I’m currently working on just because it’s top of mind and I’m in the trenches trying to make things happen, move it forward. So I’ll probably talk a little bit about that one today. It’s one where another team from the company is involved, we’re handing it over. It’s got a lot of stakeholders both within the company and client involved, and it just means that there’s a really broad mix of viewpoints of stakeholders to try and get things moving to the next step. And I think that’s one of the things that I’ll touch on in my talk a little bit more as well, is, right, when you’re dealing with these situations where you’ve got so many points of view, so many different stakeholders, how do you actually get teams to that next step of alignment and making sure that you understand both the drivers and the objectives of what are people actually trying to get at to get to that next step? Right, we’ve done the initial MVP, we’re trying to get to a release one, right? How do we make sure we understand what the data teams need? What are you unblocked by it? We’re building an optimization model. How do we make sure we’ve got the right steering on what we need there?

Jocelyne [00:19:27] So it’s kind of figuring out as a team, well, what do we need to get to that next step and figuring out, well, what challenges might we see on the way there? What do we need to try and extract from our product owner? So it’s really getting a sense of that larger lay of the land and figuring out, well, if I understand your drivers and what you’re trying to get at, it’s almost like, “help me help you,” right, so that I can help to facilitate and move things forward. But then meanwhile, also be thinking about, you know, as a designer, “here’s what I’m going to have to be updating in the interface.” But it’s also the strategic side to figure out, “How are we actually moving that product forward in a meaningful way?”

Jocelyne [00:20:02] And I think Krissi had touched on kind of that trust building. That’s another important one that I’ll dig into in a little bit more detail just because the relationship building and the trust, right, not only happens with clients, but it’s also the internal teams that you’re working on and if you can at least understand what you’re trying to get at in that support situation, then they’re going to entrust you with the decisions moving forward. And then as design leaders, we could move the conversation forward. We can steer the ship where it needs to go in a more thoughtful way.

Paul [00:20:32] Yeah, it’s almost like you’re using communication not just as a knowledge transfer vehicle, but as a culture-building tool. And the way that you look at teams isn’t necessarily as just how efficient or productive are you, but how cohesive is this collective group of people working together? There’s some nuance there that I think you’re pulling at that’s really cool. Is there anything else that you’d like to unpack in terms of some of the risks or challenges, pitfalls to building this kind of culture or how this effective communication can start to emerge? How do you know if you’re doing it right?

Jocelyne [00:21:00] Yeah. I think before we jump into that, one other thing that comes to mind is the fun element, and I think sometimes that gets overlooked.

Krissi [00:21:06] Yeah.

Jocelyne [00:21:07] A former colleague of mine, Holly Kevin, she wrote a whole extensive blog series around just the value of fun and making sure you inject fun, and it kind of ties into your point around culture and making sure you nurture the culture of your teams internally, but also with clients and, right, using the nugget of fun in the way that you’re working and also building those relationships as a nugget to help you get to that outcome.

Paul [00:21:28] Cool.

Jocelyne [00:21:29] Rephrase that other question for me. I can build on it.

Paul [00:21:33] I was wondering if you could unpack some of the risks and pitfalls that might come from people interacting with each other. And while from a business lens, that might seem like a risk, but I think that there is some truth or wisdom to that vulnerability and transparency does actually foster a culture of trust. That’s a bit of my own perception and experience that I’m bringing to the table, but have you found that that’s a challenge to building community or having this communication style as a part of the team building and culture of trust that you’re looking for in effective communication?

Jocelyne [00:22:05] Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s an area that we can actually lean into more and almost use to our advantage. I talk a lot about forecasting failure. I mean, as we’re using a lot of Lean and Agile, right, we’re training ourselves to be like accepting of failure. Right, it’s okay to fail fast or learn quickly, but actually, right, the plus of being able to dive into some of those risks that you were talking about is the more I can tell stories of how I failed, the better I can help you forecast failure on the project that we’ve got coming up, right? So it’s on us being vulnerable in that moment to say, “Well, here’s the 20 times I failed in the past doing this, like, how do we do it better this time around, right?”.

Paul [00:22:41] Yeah.

Jocelyne [00:22:42] It kind of dives into that vulnerability and almost allows you to use it to your advantage, to build trust, to build relationships, to learn from what you didn’t do well last time. And then it also gets your teammates and whether it’s clients, product owners, other designers, right, it helps them to also feel like you’re in a culture of, “oh, we can share when things go wrong and it’s okay and how do we actually learn from it moving forward?”

Paul [00:23:06] Wonderful. Krissi, we just have a few questions left, but I’m doing you a bit of injustice by teasing out a conversation that we had just prior to hitting record. I know that there’s probably more to unpack here than we have time left, and maybe we can do a podcast just this topic. But to give our listeners just a taste of where we were a few minutes ago, can you talk about your experience with supporting designers with confidence and some of the language that you’d mentioned being not as helpful as maybe traditionally been assumed? Can you help, just at a high level, share some of your thinking around what this means in the networks that we’re building within our industry?

Krissi [00:23:44] Yeah. I think this kind of ties up to why Jocelyne and I like collaborating together. It can be really isolating, like, I’m running my own practice. I do a lot of work on my own and I really lean on my design community for not just, like, feedback, but just being able to have like other designers to lean on and talk to. The word we’re kind of dancing around right now is imposter syndrome, because I recently listened to a talk by Reshma Saujani, who founded Girls Who Code, who really wants to remove the ownership of feeling like an imposter on the individual.

Krissi [00:24:25] So she really poses this idea, like, “It’s not my responsibility to feel welcomed in this space.” And I think it’s really important. You know, I was nervous before I came on this podcast, but you invited me here, you asked me to come. That’s a really great example. So, yeah, I’m rethinking the way we talk about being an imposter. And maybe you can link to her work. But, you know, if we reflect on, you know, when you need that confidence boost, like, whose responsibility is that? I think that’s kind of the question I’m curious about. As designers, we want to be the fixers, but some of these cultural and societal concepts maybe should be fixed by someone else.

Paul [00:25:11] I’ll let you off the hook there. I think this is a really big topic and I think a lot of the words that we’re using, imposter syndrome, being one, are not as helpful. You know, you mentioned that when the phrase was originally coined, it was called imposter phenomenon. And that has, you know, a bit more of an agnostic bent to it and imposing this on, “it’s a you problem,” kind of take on the situation. I appreciate that and that’s probably all that we have time for now. I think it’s a really interesting concept and I’d love to dig more into it. You know, one last thing that we ask of all our guests on the podcast, Jocelyne, maybe starting with you, but I’d love to get both of your answers. How do you define innovation? What does that word mean to you?

Jocelyne [00:25:51] Good question. I think sometimes innovation can be like the net new thing. I think the interesting thought about innovation is, if I think about it in the context of projects and clients I’m working on, like, innovation means so many different things. And like what’s innovation for some clients isn’t for others. And so being able to draw out and really figure out, you know, where on that innovation spectrum are you falling and what is innovation for you, so that you can really center and put your projects in the context of that. Because, right, using machine learning on a new project or using AI might be net new for some clients, and others they’ve been using it for the past few years and really they’re trying to get to that next level of detail. So when I think about innovation, we are making net new things, but I think it’s really important to think about, “well, what’s the context, what’s the baseline for where we’re at today?” So that we can be realistic around how far we can go, how far we can get to, and how far we want to push things along.

Paul [00:26:46] Love that. That’s a really pragmatic take. Krissi, what about you? What does innovation mean to you?

Krissi [00:26:50] Yeah, this is a good question. So when I think about innovation through a design lens, I’m considering, what are some of the things the world didn’t know that it might need? I also like what Jocelyne said that innovation can mean different to different people. I’ve also been thinking a lot about, and this ties into my talk, like, making for making sake, it’s not a great approach, right? I think when I’m thinking about, like, environmental needs and sustainability, it’s like sometimes the best thing to do is not make and that can be innovative as well. So I think depending on the lens you look through and the people that are looking through that lens can create a very different definition.

Paul [00:27:35] Yeah, you’re both very measured in your responses, and I think it’s a unique take to impose sort of the individual’s perspective on, it might not be net new, but it’s net new to me. And I love the idea of, you know, doing nothing as a strategy is often touted as sort of the devil’s advocate or the Red Hat position, however you want to look at it. But it can be the most innovative thing to do because there are a lot more concerns. The carbon footprint, not just the environmental sustainability, but the fiscal sustainability of a product I think has more far-reaching implications than we can imagine. It’s a system of unintended consequences. So I really appreciate both of your insights there. Jocelyne and Krissi, thank you so much for taking the time today. I know you’ve got really busy schedules and your insights are super valuable. I love the way that you have approached teams and caring about people and bringing your best self to the designs. It’s been really inspiring spending a couple of minutes with you. So thanks.

Jocelyne [00:28:32] Thank you so much.

Krissi [00:28:33] Yeah. Thanks for the conversation.

Paul [00:28:35] Cheers.

Paul [00:28:38] Well, that’s it for today. In line with our goals of transparency and listening, we really want to hear from you. Sean and I are committed to reading every piece of feedback that we get, so please leave a comment or a rating wherever you’re listening to this podcast. Not only does it help us continue to improve, but it also helps the show climb up the rankings so that we can help other listeners move, touch, and inspire the world, just like you’re doing. Thanks, everyone. We’ll see you next episode.

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