Tag Archives: design

Intentional Environments: Designing a Culture of Co-creation

Just gave this talk with Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path’s UX Week Conference.


Design doesn’t happen inside a vacuum. It happens inside teams, inside the context of relationships, inside physical spaces, inside organizations with very particular cultures. Ignore that intricate ecosystem, and you might as well give your project a death sentence.

Teresa Brazen and Kate Rutter draw from their experience bringing this holistic outlook to the design process. Pulling from methods used in filmmaking, fine art, design research, facilitation, improv, and UX design, they craft “intentional environments” for their teams and clients. These literal and figurative environments cultivate work that is actionable, co-created, co-owned, and much more likely to succeed in the world.
They discuss the benefits of intentional environments and walk you through how to design them and methods for keeping them activated throughout the design process. You’ll walk away understanding how to cultivate intentionality, co-create without compromising output, and inspire teams and clients along the way. But more importantly, you’ll have a powerful new framework that will enrich your entire design process.



Ask DJ Spooky

You love Paul Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid). Or, maybe you just don’t know you love him yet. But, trust me, you do. Your love for him is in you. Waiting to find its way out.

Whether you already love him, or don’t know you love him yet, there is a likely a burning question in your mind…one you’ve always wanted (or will want) to ask him. One that keeps you up at night (or will), that you mull over (or will) as you stare out the window while you’re being creative. It’s one of those annoying brain itches you can’t scratch with your short brain arms.

Well, my friends, relief has come. Think of me as your conduit, a portal that will deliver your question to the man himself. I can scratch your brain itch. Let me explain…

I’m excited to announce that Paul Miller, composer, multimedia artist and writer, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s UX Week (Adaptive Path’s conference for user experience design folk, for those of you not in the know). He’ll discuss his book, Sound Unbound, a collection of thirty-six essays from musicians, writers and artists like Brian Eno, Moby, Chuck D, and Bruce Sterling. These are reports from the front lines on the role of sound and digital media in an information-based society. In preparation for his talk at UX Week, I’ll be interviewing him and sharing our conversation on my blog and Adaptive Path’s blog later this month.

Paul describes music as a social network that is “not about individual creativity but a collective process”.  In that vein, rather than crafting interview questions myself, I’ll be collecting questions from friends and colleges. I’ll take your questions, print them out, put them in a bowl and randomly select a handful, letting fate guide where the conversation goes.

So, send your questions to me at teresa@adaptivepath.com by Tuesday, May 24th.

For some Paul Miller goodness, check out his official website, his book, his Sinfonia Antartica project, his Rebirth of a Nation project or the DJ Spooky iPhone App.

And to get a sense of the kind of things we might hear at UX Week, here's a snippet of him at SXSW last year.

UX Week is August 23-26 in San Francisco. Have a look at our speaker line up and register at the UX Week website.

Dialogue in the Dark

Journey Into A World Without Sight

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An interview with Dialogue in the Dark Creative Director John Zaller and Tour Guide Gloria Fisher
Show Length: 20 minutes

In this podcast, I’ll take you with me on a journey into a world of darkness where people use their hands, hearing and sense of smell to discover where they are. We’ll explore an immersive exhibition called Dialogue in the Dark, were blind guides help visitors move through multiple environments, experiencing the world without sight. Creative Director John Zaller and exhibition guide Gloria Fisher talk about the mission behind this experience and the profound impact it has upon visitors. While exhibition environments have been carefully crafted, the physical space is not the focus of the experience; it simply provides a frame for interpersonal connection. Join me on this adventure into darkness; your perspective about sight will never be the same.

Dialogue In the Dark website
Blind & Low Vision Services
Civic Atlanta (staffed the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition in Atlanta)

Tools and Methods for Learning, Navigating and Making a Name for Yourself in the User Experience Design Landscape

Hosted by Adaptive Path
Wednesday, August 12
10:00 – 11:15 AM Pacific Time
Only $125

REGISTER on AdaptivePath.com

Who is this workshop for?

Are you new to the world of user experience (UX) and find yourself grappling with terms and jargon? Or are you a more seasoned UX professional who is looking for ways to increase the impact you have within your organization and the UX community at large? This talk offers some simple, creative approaches to understanding and navigating the sea of methods and concepts that make up the UX practice, while embedding yourself as a player in the UX industry.

A painter, filmmaker and one of Adaptive Path’s project managers, Teresa talks about how she came to find herself a fish out of water at Adaptive Path and the creative approach she took to understanding a new industry and her place in it. She shares the three things that have helped her thrive in her new environment:

Knowledge Mapping

Learn how to create diagrams that allow you to visualize what you know about the industry, what you don’t know, and the areas where you can supplement what you already know.


Building a community of influential friends is as simple as paying attention to the people around you. Teresa will share how her idea to start a podcast (TeaWithTeresa.com) has allowed her to learn about UX methods and practice from the people who have helped grow the field or who have made huge waves in the industry. She will also share key things you can do to build authentic, rich relationships with others in the field. And networking is not one of them!

Using Your Own Voice

Whether you’re a student or an experienced UX professional, finding and using your voice will make a difference for your career. Teresa will provide you with tools to help you uncover what you have to offer and create a mantra (everyone needs one!). The seminar includes guest appearances (and advice!) from Scott Berkun, Whitney Hess, Merlin Mann and Rachel Hinman – who have all created strong personal brands within the UX community.

How does a Virtual Seminar work?

You’ll participate in the seminar through an online presentation on your web browser. The technology works on both PCs and Macs. We encourage you to share the seminar with your colleagues on a big screen. Feel free to wear your pajamas if you’re at home (we can’t see you!). Detailed instructions for attending the seminar will be sent out a few days before the seminar, including audio information, system requirements and a few technical tips.

Don’t Be So Precious

Tips & Tricks to Help Creativity Flourish

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An interview with Scott Berkun, author and public speaker
Show Length: 20 minutes

In 1956 a documentary called The Mystery of Picasso was released, showing two hours of Pablo Picasso doing what he did best: making paintings. This film gave the public a first-hand glimpse directly into this infamous artist’s creative process. Public speaker and writer Scott Berkun and I got together for tea to talk about the film and our own experiences around creativity. As both managers of creative teams and creators of work ourselves, we looked at how our processes aligned with Picasso’s…or where we could learn from him. As the discussion unfolded, we came up with an interesting set of guidelines that enable creativity to flourish.

Trailer for “The Mystery of Picasso”
IMDb’s listing for “The Mystery of Picasso”
Wikipedia’s description of “The Mystery of Picasso”

The Assumptions Designers Make

Why Mobile Phones Don’t Make Sense To Everyone

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An interview with Natasha Alani, Cafe Enterprise Manager, Community Vocational Enterprises
Show Length: 20 minutes

Have you ever thought about the basic knowledge you need to use a mobile phone? There are fundamental assumptions that designers make when designing mobile phones…such as literacy, an understanding of numbers, and a grasp of basic computer concepts such as menus or folders. But, what if, like millions throughout the world, you couldn’t read or you’d never seen a computer before? How might your interactions with and understanding of mobile phones be different?

Researcher Natasha Alani went to the Kutch region in rural India to explore these questions within a culture that is nomadic and highly illiterate. I had tea with Natasha to find out what she discovered out in the field…and uncovered an exciting challenge for mobile phone designers everywhere.

NOTE: After this interview, Experience Design firm Adaptive Path used Natasha’s research to take a first crack at developing mobile phone designs that are not based on common assumptions of literacy and knowledge of computers. View the designs at www.adaptivepath.com/mobileliteracy