Curiosity and presence. Coach to unconventional leaders at method & matter. Obsessed with time. Design, decoloniality, systems, learning. She/her.

What happens outside the conversation is as important as what happens in it

Remember that time someone gave you a gift and you opened it and were like, “oh wow, this person doesn’t know me at all”? Maybe it wasn’t your style (or size), or too flashy, or just totally not anything you’d be into? The type of gift that is more about the person giving it, than about you?

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Well, most feedback is like a shitty gift, given for the sake of someone else.

Great feedback, on the other hand, is a gift for both parties. When approached with curiosity, care, and understanding, giving feedback becomes a learning conversation. The first step in doing this skillfully is to drop the idea that feedback is a one way street — that the person giving feedback is “right” and the person receiving feedback is somehow “wrong”. …


Whether you’re stuck or looking to grow, support can come in many forms. Which is right for you?

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There are times in life where we need some outside support to help us get to where we want to go. Often we turn to friends, family, and community to help us reflect and get unstuck, but sometimes we might also want a more formal set-up in the form of a therapist, coach, mentor, or advisor. As someone who has worked with all the above (and is currently a full-time executive coach) here are a few thoughts to help you on your journey.

Coaching

The purpose of coaching is to facilitate learning, development, and change. One thing about coaching that surprises a lot of people is that coaches don’t provide answers. Whatever brings you to coaching, whatever is happening in your life, is unique to you. And while your coach may have gone through similar things, they are not you. You are unique in what makes you you, in how you understand the world, in how your past experiences inform your ways of interpreting what’s going on around you. Coaches work with clients to create a developmental container that provides a space for the client to become aware of limiting beliefs, connect more deeply with inner knowing, become more effective in generating desired impact and outcomes, and start to build generative capacity for continuing development and growth. …


2021–2024 IxDA Board of Directors:

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The Interaction Design Association (IxDA) is accepting nominations to the 2021–2024 IxDA Board of Directors.

As a volunteer-led and supported organization with no paid membership and virtual operations, IxDA relies on leadership emerging directly from our global community. We are seeking highly motivated and passionate individuals, ready to shape and guide the organization in furthering IxDA’s goals and mission. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, 6 November 2020, at 11:59 pm EST.

About IxDA

Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity in the United States, the Interaction Design Association is a global community focused on discussing and advancing the discipline of interaction design. Our community of interest continues to grow at an amazing pace. This growth reflects the increasing importance of and attention given to interaction design worldwide. …


Understanding the differences between management and leadership can help you be more effective as a team, department, or company leader, but when it comes to management there are a few subtleties that have outsized impact: managing yourself and managing relationships. Forget the idea of managing people. The rest will fall into place.

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Management, by the very definition of the word, has to do with supervision, administration, and control of resources. There are all kinds of resources in an organization that need managing:

  • Processes
  • Decisions
  • Budgets
  • Products
  • Programs
  • Knowledge
  • Time

Notice that ‘people’ is not included in the list. “Human Resources” is an unfortunate naming for a field that has evolved well past the management of the workforce, but the legacy of thinking remains. This distinction is important and warrants an explicit articulation: humans are not resources to be managed. …


A closer look at management, leadership, and why it’s important to understand the differences between the two.

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If you’re stepping into a leadership role, chances are you’re also going to be doing a lot of managing. And while it’s true the two overlap quite a bit, understanding the differences can help you be more effective manager, a more inspirational leader, and more successful overall.

On Management

Managers are a specific breed of leader, created by the business world to guide the destinies of corporate enterprises. They are responsible and accountable for running and managing a part of the business. This might be a division, a department, or a team with a specific mandate. Their power in the organization is bestowed upon them by their position, which is why it’s called positional power. If they weren’t in the position, they wouldn’t have power. Simple as that. When combined with great leadership skills, managers rarely need to rely on positional power. …


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The pandemic, for all that’s been written about it, has done a bang-up job of making the invisible visible. The tenuous state of the American health-care system, the brittleness of supply chains, not to mention the irregularity of men’s hand-washing. It’s also brought to the foreground the shifting cadences and complexities of how we show up at work, often under the guise of navigating “The New Normal”. What’s now visible is the variability in how work and life happens day to day, an acknowledgement of the importance of self-care, and an acceptance that this shit is hard. …


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“There is no better way to gain an understanding of something than by designing it.” — Russell Ackoff

A while back, I casually dropped an alternative framing of design as a way of learning. My intent was to articulate the activities of design, decoupled from the technics of craft, to explore how we can bring our understanding of design to business. In the intervening months, I’ve gone deeper with this framing, pulling from several theories and connecting a few more dots to help articulate the why of design as a way of learning, and to examine what makes it different.

As design evolves beyond a consideration of objects to answer the challenges of the 21st century, it is essential to understand what design brings to the table well beyond the current framing of design as problem solving. When we look at design as a way of learning, we expand the possibilities of where design can go and what design can do. What is unique to the designerly way of learning is that it involves making, crafting in conversation with the world in order to understand and shape it. …


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On Value

In business school you spend a lot of time learning about the idea of value, which is surprisingly slippery — the value of a firm, an idea, a product, a service. Because of this you need a cross-section of disciplines to approximate value — marketing, strategy, statistics, law, operations, innovation, economics, and finance being the most common. And so you start to learn marketing frameworks about customer value, how accounting recognizes value, how the market estimates value, how to use financial valuation models, strategic approaches to creating value, business models to capture value, the ins and outs of Porter’s value chain, the rampant focus in the 80’s on increasing shareholder value (thanks Jack Welch)… you get the drift. Value is a thing. …


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The design team at Movable Ink is unified across brand, product design, and research. This approach allows us to focus on growing the practice of design within the organization and creating a unified customer experience, but can be challenging because the various design disciplines collaborate with vastly different parts of the organization, users, and customer base. I’ll save the details of our org design for another post, but you can imagine that designers are embedded with various teams working on different products, projects, and initiatives. …


This summer I was interviewed by builtinnyc for a piece they were doing on women in tech. Thanks to internet attention spans the interview went through a bit of editing, so I thought I’d post the full version here for posterity.

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What is your name and title?
Andrea Mignolo, Head of Design & UX

Can you tell me about your background? I’d love to hear about your education and work experience.

Growing up with video games and the internet made me interested in the interactions between humans and technology. I went to Oberlin where I designed my own major, Technocultural studies, that combined arts, humanities, technology, and society. After graduating the web was booming so I got into web design and front-end development working with a range of clients from museums to universities to start-ups. …

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