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Weekly Inspirations: Dec 28, 2018

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

9 design thinking tools to try with your team

From heavy hitters like Apple, Google, and IBM to growing startups, everyone seems to be implementing design thinking to drive innovation and results. But how? Design thinking isn’t just a session where everyone gets together in a room and thinks really hard about design solutions. It’s actually an iterative process made up of five phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. And with each phase comes important tools and apps to help you succeed. Here are some of our favorite design thinking tools, broken up by phase:
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I Tried Jeff Bezos’s PowerPoint Replacement at My Company–and It Actually Worked

Last year, a friend whose new boss used to work for Jeff Bezos at Amazon told me that the company actually banned PowerPoint presentations in favor of memos. That’s right, instead of reading bullet points on a projector screen, Amazon employees read memos setting the tone of the meeting before anyone actually starts talking. I hadn’t heard about this technique before, and was a bit skeptical of its legitimacy. It sounds crazy, right? But I was open to giving it a try at my company because it’s hard to run a really good meeting. And if getting everyone literally on the same page improved meeting productivity, why not give it a shot?
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Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic In Design Thinking

When the term Design Thinking first emerged on the scene, I found it completely puzzling. People were treating it as if it was a revolutionary new methodology to produce better products and services. They were talking about how entire companies were adopting this new approach, and those companies were becoming more competitive in the marketplace and seeing huge increases in customer satisfaction. Now, every few years, someone touts some new approach or method that’s going to change the world. It’s part of how consultants make money. Brand an idea and sell it. Make a ton of money until the next big thing comes around. So, I’m used to these cycles by now. Yet, Design Thinking was in my own backyard. It’s supposed to be a shift in how companies think about design, and that’s where I’ve been working for the last 37 years. I needed to find out more about what it was.
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The 9 big design trends of 2019

Everyone is overworked and unhappy. Digital platforms have sucked the last of our attention and sanity. If you read the headlines in 2018, you’d have every reason to feel pessimistic about the future. But the design experts we talked to–from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Ideo, and Forrester–offer a glimmer of hope. As they look forward to 2019, they agree on one thing: The cold, corporate thinking that has defined the business world over the past several years doesn’t jive with how people want to live. In 2019, people will be more than mere data points; it’s a designer’s job to make sure of it. Here are nine key design predictions for 2019.
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This study abroad program is for professional designers, and it’s free

If a typography walking tour your idea of a dream vacation, then a.) I feel for your significant other and b.) you should apply for InVision’s inaugural Design Exchange. InVision, the design software company recently valued at $1.9 billion, is announcing a program to send designers to inspiring cities around the world next year for free to “learn with, and from, their design peers,” according to a blog post on InVision’s site. Think of it as study abroad for the T-square set. The program is open to professional designers, with each trip lasting a week. Itineraries are expected to include design workshops, visits to prominent design firms and design-led companies, and tours of art museums and other cultural institutions. InVision plans to host four trips in 2019, starting with Sydney in February, then Copenhagen and Singapore later in the year. The fourth destination has not been announced.
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18 designers predict UI/UX trends for 2018

Designers are always looking toward the future — in our “build and ship it now” industry we’re programmed to iterate ad finitum. In the end, a designer’s obsession always circles back to one simple question: How can we improve the user’s experience? With that in mind, Figma asked 18 designers what UI/UX trends they predict for 2018. December, with its flurry of holiday parties, cheery OOO auto-replies and introspective weather patterns, provided the perfect opportunity to pause and survey the landscape. Designers were culled from a few different sources: those who attended last month’s Figma sponsored design systems dinner, speakers at this year’s Clarity Conference and friends of the Figma family. You’ll read through opinions from designers who work anywhere from Facebook to Google to Airbnb. We even crowdsourced Twitter, receiving 61 thoughtful responses that were much appreciated.
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A visual overview of Apple’s essential design principles

Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines have been the core of the company’s design philosophy ever since the Macintosh in 1978. Apple design evangelist Mike Stern gave an overview of the ever-evolving guidelines during a Wednesday session at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The session, entitled “Essential Design Principles,” is one of my favorites, in large part because I’m a designer myself. I’ve distilled the essential Apple design principles he talked about in the sketch notes above.
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