Experience Designers Ep 1

(Edited for readability)

Steve: Hi my name's Steve Usher and welcome to the experience designers podcast.

Steve: Over the course of this podcast series, I'm really excited to meet and interview people from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds. However, they will all have one thing in common, and that is design thinking and human centered design. And I hope that by sharing their stories, together we can create our own movement in the H.R. and talent acquisition community. And this is where I genuinely believe design thinking can play a massive part in improving the experience during the hiring, onboarding and employee experience.

Steve: So for my first episode I thought it would be really fitting to go back to a place that really inspired me this year. And that was the Design Thinkers Academy in Amsterdam

Steve: And I got the opportunity to spend more time with Arne, who is one of the co-founders, and we talked about a huge variety of topics – ranging from artificial intelligence and machine learning through to an amazing segment on empathy. And of course we talked design thinking as well. So, strap yourselves in. Enjoy the show. And here we go.

Steve: So Arne. Welcome to the Experience Design show. Thank you so much for agreeing to be part of my first ever podcast today.

Arne: My pleasure. 

Steve: Excellent. So we are here in Amsterdam at the Design Thinkers Academy HQ. This is such a wonderful space. So any excuse to come back here, I always take it. Definitely. So, today I'd like to cover off quite a few things, if possible, and just have a good conversation about Design Thinking (DT) and get your views on how you see certain things in the world from a DT point of view.

Steve: So, for the listeners – from your perspective – just a little bit about yourself and intro into your background. 

Arne: Well, I'm the founder of Design Thinkers Group/Academy. It’s now 11 years ago, so I'm getting old. I can tell, seriously, because there are pictures of me in the videos that we still show in training sessions… Just now, downstairs, there was a video of me doing a project, and I thought to myself ‘Wait a minute! I'm getting old… Oh my god. What's happening?’.

Arne: So, you know, we went through a huge evolution. My company/organization, our network, community… So there's so much stuff to talk about. But I think mainly what kind of happened to us over the decade is that we've been busy with design thinking and service design.

Arne: What we went from, here in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands, we went from sort of a more consultancy mindset to a facilitation training/coaching kind of organisation to where we felt that it's actually  about teaching. You know, be a teacher. And for me personally, you know, both being a teacher and creating a platform for knowledge to be shared. Those are the things that are to us the most important things that have happened.

Steve: How would you say, from your own perspective, how has the business kind of evolved from where it was? From its first day one to where it is now.

Arne: When I started being interested in service design, really in design thinking as well but mainly service design… That's probably like 15 years ago or so, when I was with my previous agency. I fell in love with this openness and this collaborative spirit and… Everyone was kind of active in that space and shared their methodology. I love that. And I was in an agency where it was very competitive and – as my customer, I don’t know your customer. Totally not sharing. In the Netherlands alone, this tiny little country, we had like thousands of agencies just like us. So there was so much stuff – and there was also a lot of work obviously. It was a healthy market.

Arne: But I was kind of fed up with both this attitude of non-collaborative attitude. You know, the closed doors and working isolated from other people. And I met so many inspirational people, and I though ‘Wow, I'd love to work with these people.’. But I couldn't because they weren’t at my agency – and it wasn’t MY agency – etc., etc. and I really, really, really wanted to work with clients on the questions they had – and not only work with the solutions they already came up with, because usually they were crappy solutions. And as an agency you were given sort of the task to put a nice ribbon on a nice box and a nice colour on it. But you can't really change the solution, and I wanted to kind of be part of where this was still the question. So that was one of the things I loved. That it’s so open and I love this kind of… I love this promise of being part of the question.

Arne: When we started, there was sort of a thing… Because it's a very traditional thought, just saying: ‘Oh, so we're going to design a service’, for instance. But I personally never made a difference between products and services, because it's really about the value you create. So basically, it’s the same thing. But I did kind of think ‘Okay, so we're going to design a service, together with our client and they're going to implement that.’. Right? I'd been in the business for quite a while, had worked with corporates kind, but that was still really what was in my mind.

Arne: So that's what we would do, because that's a service that we would provide to our clients: Help them create a beautiful service and a beautiful service experience. Obviously, that's not how things turn out, because they cannot implement it. It's not really about ideas. They had lots of ideas, you know, and what we found out quite quickly is that you can do lots of workshops – one day workshop two day workshops – and everybody loves you. It's fantastic and they go home, giving each other high fives, and the next day, it's like… Nothing. Silence. Absolutely nothing happens. It’s business as usual. Nothing is or will be implemented. In other words, it’s obvious that nothing will be changed, because it is not about that. And the whole mantra of service design and design thinking, is that it starts with the end user. It's nonsense. It doesn't start with the end user. It starts with understanding the system. It starts with understanding all the players and usually the first the hairy challenge, the big problem, is internal. It is about the mess businesses really are, the total chaos and all the emotional stuff that goes on within organisations and then to get stuff done that is beautiful…? No way!

Steve: So, Arne, say someone has just listened to this section, just now, and suddenly had an epiphany or has been inspired and wants to make a change in their organization or create a movement… From your perspective how does Design Thinking play a part in that? For those that perhaps hasn't been exposed to this way of thinking or this way of working.

Arne: So first of all, a little bit about Design Thinking. Design Thinking – these are words like lean start-up, service design, UX, agile and so on, you know. These words, what they mean is that we're actually looking for a solution. So different people with different backgrounds came up with ideas and they gave it a name. But the underlying problem is the same. We are all trying to solve the same problem. We all try to, kind of, find a methodology or a system or a way of thinking that helps us out of this problem. Out of this this systemic problem. To become really human centred, to be able to experiment, to be able to be free… Basically to do the things we're passionate about. It's all the same. There is no difference. It just comes from different angles, from different people with different baggage. You know people with different knowledge of a methodology and so on. Like lean start-up comes from someone who understands lean. All right fine. So Design Thinking, in my opinion, tries to create a common language and tries to be a mindset saying: ‘I just want to know what the problem is. I don't care about the methodology and tools. I don't want to have a hammer. I'll choose my tool when I know if it's a nail or not, right?’. I’ve heard someone say that they had like a black belt in design thinking. What the hell is going on?

Steve: It's six sigma and DT coming together!.

Arne: What is that? Black belt… That's impossible. How? Who gave you that idea? Right?

Steve: People make things up.

Arne: Yeah, of course, because it’s sales. Its prioritising these things. right? So Design Thinking becomes part of these sales. It’s the borg, right? We get assimilated into a system and so on. Like ‘I'm in my spaceship trying to fight back, that's what I'm doing. The resistance! Yay!. Well, kind of. It feels a bit like that. It feels like we're in the resistance and against this system that tries to swallow us and eat us alive and assimilate us.

Arne: So, Design Thinking is this mindset, this way of thinking. And it’s saying: ‘Listen. If you have the right question, you are probably halfway there to find an answer.’. Right? And I don't care which tools you use. If you're a chef and a really good cook, you know your stuff. You make up your recipes. Who cares. You find new recipes, new ingredients and you make stuff up. But you know what you're doing. If you start out cooking, when you don't really have a lot of experience, you need a recipe, right? And I think a lot of people are on the recipe level. They're like ‘Okay, so it's 6 steps. Step one, people – pay attention – step one is, empathy! Go out and talk to people.’.

Arne: But ,I mean, that's not really the point. It might work, it might be great too, but that's still a recipe. So if you haven't practiced cooking and you're not a chef and even if Jamie Oliver is right next to you, in your kitchen, telling you exactly what to do, you still won't cook as good as him. It’s irritating but you won't. I mean, of course you won't. Right?

Arne: In order to become Jamie Oliver, you have to practice. You have to do it a lot. DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! This is how we learn how to ride a bicycle and so on...

Arne: If you cannot practice, meaning fall down, try… Practice means you can’t do it, right? Practice means I can't do it.

Arne: It's not practices like: ‘Let's do it right, all the time!’.

Steve: Fail forward.

Arne: Yeah, play out of tune totally. You can't play the piano because you haven't done it before. So you have to practice, practice, practice....Then you can become really good at it.

Arne: So this feeling of ‘We have to have instant knowledge and instant capabilities. Let's go to a two day training session people, and let’s get this Design Thinking stuff done’… No.

Steve: So, let's say you're sitting in a business and there is this expectation, and instant world that we live in when we want everything now, and, you know, in order to really get the full value of Design Thinking you have to fail forward and go through various iterations and… Well, fail and try. But sometimes people don't have that time, because there's so much pressure and so much going on in the business and people are always busy. So how do we strike that balance to get people there? Maybe there’s a ‘smaller’ way to get into to trial? Something in maybe a smaller piece? And then grow it that way?

Arne: Of course.

Steve: Like ‘Oh, my God! I've haven't got time to fail.’. It's not easy.

Arne: Well, yes you do. Because you will fail anyway. We all do, all the time. The point is that you make it explicit. You know, these projects that we do, we fail all the time. Except we don't make it explicit. We don't say that. We don't look at it. We hide our mistakes. And you know, that's the problem. It's not about ‘Let's do some Design Thinking people’. And I know it's just common sense. Design thinking is common sense. It's everything you know, but not doing because you think you're not allowed. Or all that stuff in the back of your head, the little voice saying ‘Yeah maybe we should do it differently’. Or maybe you’re aware that our clients really know that our product is shitty, but just go ahead anyway and you know this prototype doesn't really work… ‘But we’ve put so much money into it and we're so far ahead in the project – we can't go back. We have to go forward.’. You know? All that. Say it out loud, put it on a post-it and it'll solve everything. Post-its basically solve everything. So, give some post-its everyone and the world will be fine! No, but seriously; Make it explicit. It's about that. It's about what the real problem is. What is the elephant in the room. Let's say Design Thinking is about common sense. It's nothing new.

Arne: So people listening is saying: ‘Yeah, you know, we all know that. That's nothing new. Is that Design Thinking? Is that the stuff that everybody talks about?’. Listen – it is about just saying what's going on. Make it explicit and share it with each other. Because that will help. And it will make your assumptions clear, because then you will kind of challenge your assumptions and if you challenge your assumptions you will come up with new ideas. And so on and so forth... So, yeah. It's common sense. It's such basic stuff and it's so hard to do, because we're stuck in these nasty systems that don't allow us to do that. You cannot sit in a meeting and say “By the way, this meeting is not really working.”.

‘Jim, what are you saying?’. ‘Well, I think this is all crappy, we're a crappy company and we should do things differently.’. People are stuck, they act a part in their business.

Arne: They enter the door and they change, you know they're like: ‘Now, I'm Jim the manager. I'm supposed to act this way and I'm supposed to be knowledgeable. I am the expert, so I know what to do, but you don't.’. The reality is that you don't, Jim. You don't.

Steve: So what would the typical situation be for a business that leans towards this, to then going down this path of solving their problems – and using the toolkits or the Design Thinking approach? Are there kind of certain things that you see with the clients you've worked or engaged with? ‘Actually this one is definitely going to move to the right action because of X, Y, Z. This one is perhaps not going to move as well, because of X, Y and Z.’. 

Steve: Is there any distinction between the ones that do take the step and don't?

Arne: Well, there's a distinction. Usually it has to do with the size of the company, because you know companies with two hundred or three hundred thousand people employed and who bought all kinds of companies in the past to grow and buy their innovation. They usually… You know, it's so difficult. So there are pockets, again, pockets of resistance in the company. So you used the word movement earlier on and I think that's the key. Don't do a project, start a movement. Internally – start a movement. Just think about it. You know, just do the thought experiment. What if it was a movement? What should you do differently, then? Because if it's a movement people can join it. People can join it voluntarily. And that's what you really want. Wouldn't that be the best way, right? Have a movement of people saying: ‘I'm passionate. I want to be part of this.’. You know, so make it into a movement and learn about how to do this. Learn about what creates a movement, what is a movement? How does it work?

Arne: Because it also means you have to become a different leader. So it's about a new kind of creative leadership, which I am very passionate about. We see companies where there are creative leaders and it doesn't necessarily mean that it's on C level. You know, it doesn't mean these are people who are in management positions. Sometimes they are, but not always. Having creative leaders in your company who can create a movement, who can create a sort of a platform for people to join and to be part of. And to understand this leadership and what leadership actually means. That's what I also mean with facilitation. You know, you facilitate this, you facilitate this movement. You create a platform.

Arne: So we see companies that actually are doing this. The difference between the “old companies”, the dinosaurs that have been around for a long time, and relatively newer companies.. There's a big difference. New companies are usually… Well, they don't have the hierarchy. They're ‘pancake companies’, right? They're very different. They're faster. They're really small. They're working in ecosystems. And that's where the future is. The future is in networks, the future for companies are… Well, again, it's about making things explicit and making things visual. We all work in networks, ecosystems. Everyone. And I was joking about Apple, but it's not one company. No company on this planet is one company. We are networks. We are networks, because we're people working and using the same logo, basically. Right? But we're a network or a community of people doing this stuff and then we are a network of all kinds of businesses working together.

Arne: I believe that this is what the future is and that's what we're seeing. A relatively small core, small businesses working in an ecosystem. So there's this system, but very explicit, so you don't have to become a big company to make a big impact. You don't have to be… The core can be quite small, really. And we see that all the time. I mean there are lots of companies who are very small. If you think about companies like Instagram for instance. And you know, they make a global impact, right? So that's the new company. Yes. And now they're being assimilated by the Borg.  

Arne: So I don't know what that means, but I do know that those are the companies that will work. And I think that healthy companies in the future will slim down. They will be cutting away, you know, all the stuff and all the branches they don't need. And they will go back to a core that is meaningful.

Arne: So, for instance, a Dutch company Philips, you know? Again, I can't predict the future but I think what they've done is so awesome. Somehow, they've seen… Years ago, but I don't know exactly when they started doing this, but it's a long, long time ago… That healthcare is going to be a big, big growth market and very important. And it's going to touch everything in in this world, because it touches everything in our lives. Health. Health and healthcare. So they started cutting away all the other stuff. Stuff like television. And they even cut away lights. That's what they were about. You know that was the core, so people were shocked. And they are focusing on health and healthcare and they have a purpose of making X amount of millions of people more healthy each year. So their purpose is to make people better, each year etc... That does something to people working there!

Steve: Absolutely!

Arne: I mean, internally, it’s still a mess and then the shit goes on all of the time, of course. But imagine going to a birthday party or something… ‘Where do you work?’ ‘I work at Philips.’ ‘So what do you guys do?’ ‘We make people better. That's what we do. That's what we're about.’. You’re proud of that. Instead of saying: ‘Yeah I will do well and we do television and we do etc...” You know, the Procter Gamble's of this planet. Why do you do what you do? “I don't know, we make money.’. 

Arne: But this is also about making money. Sure. Because they have shareholders, but I love that. I love that you’re going back to, as an example, a core of something you believe in and something that you’re really passionate about. Something that makes sense to people. And you try and do this. Actually, you could make the calculation. What do we need to get that? What do we need to make these people better? You know, it's a great question. And like, I can do something with that. I love that. And even know, as an outsider, we know the work we do with them. You're always like: ‘I love working with Philips. I love working with them, even though it's sometimes the same kind of project I could do for another company. But it's part of this making people better.’. So that is important. And we see companies who do that. In my opinion, they are doing something really good, something really awesome, and they don't have to be that big. And yes, of course Philips is in that sense again a traditional company, as they start buying up all these health and healthcare companies. So it's not ideal, but I do believe that if you look at companies in the future, it will be companies who are a small core and work in an ecosystem. That's what it’s going to be.

Arne: By the way, a tip. There's an awesome book about this, called 'The connected company' by David Grey.

Steve: Something you mentioned – and I'm going to dare to approach it – AI and machine learning... It's everywhere right now and I think, you know, with all of the technology and the data and everything that is happening out there... I think people and the human space still fill an even more important part than ever. Particularly, when companies are designing experiences or journeys or all of these pieces. What’s your view on that? Just in terms of people keeping a mind of the human, as it were, the human aspects and not going too lost. And believe that machines or tech is actually a way to solve the problems.

Arne: I think it’s just such a fantastic and interesting – so interesting and intriguing – topic, because there are so many aspects of it that that makes no sense. And, for instance, do we really want this, you know? No, of course not. But it's an arms race, you know? Like ‘If we don't do it, they will do it. So let’s just do some stuff.’. So, do I want my chair to tell me exactly how much I weigh and if I'm healthy or not? No, I don't. But it will happen anyway. My vacuum cleaner has a conversation with my refrigerator, behind my back…

Arne: I heard someone say the other day: ‘I was in the Baltics.’. I was at a table and there were two ladies talking. I was just listening to their conversation and the one lady said to the other lady: ‘You know, it's so annoying. My vacuum cleaner just has no learning curve.’. I was like: ‘What??? Are you talking about your vacuum cleaner?’. And she said ‘Yeah, because you know, it keeps bumping into the same table. It happens every time, it just doesn't learn.’.

Arne: Some friends of mine, they have this lawnmower, right? It just mowes the lawn every night. Or when it feels like it, I guess. It has its little house. It's like a dog really, in the yard, and it goes over the lawn and they are like 'Oh there he goes'. They call him Hank. They go ‘There's Hank again and he's so stupid’ as he keeps bumping into a tree and when he has to get back into his dock to charge and it takes him a couple of times to get in there. And they're like ‘Aaaw, look at that.’.

Arne: We are so stupid. People are stupid. There are these robots, these videos of Boston robotics, I think they're called. And you see this robot dog that tries to open the door and it kicks the door closed again or there's a robot that tries to pick up a box and the box drops out of his hand… We’re like ‘Aaaw, aaaw’ and get emotionally attached to these wires and this metal. But I think there's a really important point they're making. If, in this room right now, there was a robot and it looked like a human being… Even if it doesn't look right, whatever it looks like, but it responds to me. And you tease it and we'll be like ‘Don't tease it.’. It's like ‘I will accept it as one of our own’, immediately. So I think it's interesting, because… You know, the difference between human beings and artificial intelligence. It will never be a human being/conscious. And that's fine. If it is conscious or not, but ‘I will still love it and defend it.´. And you know I will still go ‘aaaw’, you know?

Arne: So we are stupid like that, and that's interesting. So I don't know what's going to happen there. But I know the chatbots can fool us already. You will think it's a human being. And it's fine. It's amazing and we won't recognize it as a chatbot. It's scary. Totally scary. But, you know, people are stupid, so we’re probably going to do something and turn it into some kind of weapon or something terrible, because people do that all the time. That really scares me.

Arne: Another thing is that it also means that we have to ask ourselves ‘what's the difference between us then and those machines and those robots and that intelligence?’. It's creativity. Still is. I don't know if it's going to be that for ever, but it is at least something that we humans can do. We can be totally stupid. That's actually our quality. We can do stupid things and people go like: ‘Why would you do that? Hey wait a minute, that's actually pretty cool.’.

Arne: Or ‘You know, I didn't wash my hands after doing this experiment… Hey, that tastes sweet. Oh I discovered sugar, I mean sweetener.’. That's how we have discovered things. A robot won't do that. It won't go like that. ‘Oh wait a minute. Ooops!?’. Serendipity. We can be the masters of serendipity. That's basically creativity. That's lateral thinking. That is like thinking in options. That is doing things that make no sense. We do things that make no sense. And we do it all the time, so we're going to be really good at this. We’ve got that covered. So, yeah, I think there's a difference between humans and artificial intelligence –and it’s that we are basically stupid. So that's great. That's going to be fine.

Arne: Yet another thing is that I think that it's going to probably disrupt so many things. So, the point of Design Thinking in this topic is: First of all, we know we need creativity. We need to kind of have an understanding of how we can use our creativity, our ability to come up with non-logical stuff, do stuff that make no sense and build something valuable out of it. How we can use our humanity, our empathy, to understand each other and to build bridges, to create cultures and societies etc. etc.

Arne: Design Thinking – and all the other buzzwords out there – are trying to do that. They are trying to humanize systems, right? Because we need it. So design, not just designers, but people who are designers and people who have a designer mindset or a creative mindset or an open mindset capable of lateral thinking, whatever… Creative people who are generalists. We need them in that conversation. Now it's only technical people, it's only people who are building the systems, the IT people rule the planet. That's not good.

Arne: We need people who can say ‘Wait a minute. Aren't there people in this equation or are their human beings there, so why do we do this? How can we orchestrate this? How can we design that?’. That’s why we need people with a design mindset, with the design skills, to be part of the conversation. Actually, I think they should lead that conversation! But that's actually something else I've got, that's one of my other adventures. We have this creative leadership program, where that’s a big part of that program. To say, you know, we need to understand, as designers or people with this creative mindset or design thinkers or whatever you would call them, to be part of that. And how can we be part of it? How can we, maybe, put some creative leadership in that? Because I think that that’s really, really important.

Steve: So, Arne, I've got one last area I'd like to discuss with you today, which I know is close to your heart actually and you're actually running a conference here in Amsterdam in October, that actually focuses on this very subject – which is around empathy.

Steve: I came across a very short video on LinkedIn, that you shot here. There were a few things in there that really captured me and I thought ‘Wow, okay. This is really interesting!’. It was around empathy and looking inside of ourselves, which I really just wanted to bring to this podcast. I thought it was really fascinating and I'd love to understand a little more about your thinking on that.

Arne: Yeah, so empathy is one of those words that you know is thrown around, when you you're in a workshop, in service design/design thinking, and so on. Because it's about this attempt to become human centred and then empathy is kind of a logical word to use. Look at the world through someone else's eyes. You walk in someone else's shoes. It's fine. I think that's really good. I think that it's important. But I also have a problem with it because it becomes something of.... It's really not that easy, you know?

Arne: I don't want to discourage anyone, so I'm hesitating a little bit here… But okay, because I think it's important, you have to do your personas. Do your journey maps. Of course you have to do them, because that's the start. But that's not… That's not empathy. It is the start. It is simply beginning to understand someone. It is starting to understand why people do what they do, because that's basically what we do with design research and qualitative research. It is not just understanding what people do, but why they do it. Because you need that in order to create an intervention, to create a prototype etc etc.

Arne: [00:32:48] But we tend to… Well, because of the systems that we're part of, we don't want to be vulnerable, right? So, we take ourselves out of that equation. We say that it’s not about me. But it is about. It IS about you. It is empathy. I'm really inspired by an author called Brené Brown. She has amazing books and great TED talks about this. So, one of her things is about finding a place inside of you that connects to the other. The other day someone said ‘Yeah, of course because if you can't let anything in, it's not going to make the connection. How can you have empathy, if you don't allow it to come into you?’. It's impossible. So it starts with you, it starts with you understanding something about yourself. Again, this is common sense. If you are in a relationship and you're not okay with yourself… There are some issues.. Then your relationship is going to struggle, right? Because it's part of you. But if you are totally okay with yourself and you know your weaknesses, then that's a good thing for your relationship. Right? Chances are your relationship will benefit from that. If both of you are okay with you, so fine. That’s logical. Fine. 

Arne: Now, I kind of want to translate that into the business we're in. Not only into research, saying that if you want to really understand someone you have to dig inside of yourself to connect to that person. But if you're a company and you're not okay with yourself… You don't know why you do what you do. You know it's all about that, because how can you expect to create a real meaningful relationship with people then? With anyone – with your employees and with your customers. That's not logical. That makes no sense. That's not going to happen. So again, empathy – not only meaning purpose. Why not say ‘Let's do some user research in understanding why people bought this phone and not that phone.’. It's a lot deeper and it's fairly complicated. It's difficult because it's about vulnerability. It's about people and it's about vulnerabilities. It’s about opening up and doing it and going to the place where we talk about real things, like real life things, like the things that are actually part of life. Not just all this marketing sales mumbo jumbo. It’s real stuff. And that’s is painful. But – it's where things are happening.

Steve: I mean, imagine achieving that. Imagine moving through a period of vulnerability to actually having a connection! That would be so much more meaningful. That would be amazing.

Arne: But the thing is that if you imagine a company that has a clear purpose and they really mean it, they’re really serious about that they want to do this thing. And that’s everything they do. So this also means that they can hire the people that connect to that and their clients will connect to that. Now, that’s the ideal situation. Yes, I know it’s difficult, but if that's the ideal situation? Let's work towards that. Let's go and try and achieve that. It is about people and it's emotional and it's challenging… But it's real. So let's do something that’s real. So the conference is basically part of my resistance, saying ‘I really want to go deep inside. I don't want to kind of lets just jump over, empathy right there. Stop. Wait. Hold on wait a minute. Design Thinking is about empathy? Let's talk about it for a while. Let's go and invite some people over who are not from our bubble. Who have experienced using empathy in the fields.’. So one of our speakers is a lady who is totally amazing. Her job is to negotiate in armed conflicts. And she had never heard of Design Thinking, by the way. She goes to Iran and Iraq and she talks to people who we call terrorists or rebels and she tries to kind of negotiate with them to give up their guns. That's basically her end goal; to take the guns away from them. So she said ‘You can go up to these people and say: You're bad people, you’re terrorists,. Now give me your guns? Please?’. No, of course you can’t. This process takes years.

Arne: She says that she has to start really by understanding how it for them happened to be in that situation. How did they end up there? So, she says, you start talking about their lives. It's about really understanding them. And then you start understanding all the micro decisions they made in the situations they were in, through their lives. And then you start realizing that we're not that different. And asking yourself if you would have responded differently? Because, maybe you wouldn’t have. And then you achieve something, because then you can connect to them and they feel it and then you have really good conversations. And every now and then she walks away from a meeting with her arms full of guns and can bring them to a place where they will be destroyed and they will never kill anyone again.

Arne: Talk about amazing jobs! Like ‘What am I doing? This is amazing!’. So that lady teaches you something about empathy and the power of it. Because she's not from our design bubble, but she just needs to do this. Otherwise it doesn't work. I love that. It helps you because it tells you something you maybe really know. But it makes it, like… It confronts you.

Arne: We also work with this neuroscientist, who works with magicians. And he says that why he works with magicians all the time is because they know how your brain works, because your brain fools you. It fools you all the time. It's terrible. We need it because it's part of our… Part of how we communicate with each other and how we can live together. But sometimes you have to know that your brain is screwing with you. And neuroscientists and magicians know.

Steve: And they are all going to be in the same room in October. Amazing.

Arne: So, I mean, magicians know that if I show you this and do this, your brain is totally going to not notice that I'm actually doing something different. You just want to be clear, but you’re basically blind, really. Like when you are in a room that you know really, you don’t actually see it. You’re not paying attention because you know it so well. And this, actually, makes you blind. You don't see the room. 

Steve: Your machine takes over.

Arne: Yeah. It does. It's a really weird idea right?

Steve: I think it was Steven Peters ‘The chimp paradox’. That's a good book. In terms of this stuff. 

Arne: If you're interested in creativity and understanding people and empathy, you should read those books. Read about behavioural science. Read ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’. Don't read books about Design Thinking and service design please. They will just tell you what you already know and what you want to hear.  Read books that challenge you, instead. Read books that are seriously in the behavioural Sciences. It’s amazing! And read the book ‘Shame’ by Brené Brown. It's about shame and it's called "I thought it was just me". Although about halfway through the book because you she talks about shame. It's really good, because it goes really deep. It's about all the stuff you don't want to talk about. But how do you do research about something that nobody really wants to talk about? The book is powerful. It's  amazing. It's  also an audiobook. So you can listen to it instead. About half way through, I thought it was just about women, she talks about all the examples all the research that she did. I was like is there like a male example or man being shamed or something. So I understand everything about women and shame now.

Steve: Well, I think that's a nice end to the podcast. 

Steve: It's perfect. Thank you so much.

Steve: That was really good and quite deep and… Yeah. Amazing and that’s exactly the way I wanted it to be. That was amazing. So, thank you so much..

Arne: [00:41:26] You're welcome, Good luck with this.

Steve: [00:41:27] Thank you!

Steve: [00:41:31] And there you have it. My very first podcast. Thank you so much for listening and please follow me at the experience designers and be part of the movement by sharing and rating this podcast and, until the next time, bye for now.

Steve Usher
October, 2018