Tenny Pinheiro – Designeer
Nope, it is not a typo. I have just coined the term Designeer to name Tenny Pinheiro, designer and engineer, a very rare combination, who is author of The Service Startup book and founder of the Design Sprint School, among many other enterprises.
He is a creator and maker since childhood, and has created the Design Sprint School, as a way to democratize Design Sprints, a specific form of Design Thinking oriented to get results very quick. In the School, students learn both his Service oriented model, and the google Ventures model proposed in the book Sprint (J. Knapp), since the approach is to pick and mix whatever suits your project best. He is now very involved in developing the app Kind, using AI to foster deeper personal insights and connections.
As I am interested in getting to know the minds of creative people, and also the experience of helping others to became more creative, I threw a bunch of questions to Tenny in a very cheeky way, and he has been kind enough to respond. It may be a long read, but it is worth it.
Tenny started his first business at age 13, taking the competition out of business (and himself), and he is on a mission to democratize Design, taking it to regular people who can understand and use its principles in their businesses. He believes creativity starts way beyond creative talent or process, with the freedom you give yourself to take risks.
” It’s a hard thing to do, because everybody’s judging. So the world is out there trying to make sure that you are uncomfortable in giving yourself any type of freedom. When I say freedom, I’m talking about this detachment from what other people will think, or even what other people should expect from it.”
So Tenny talks about giving yourself permission to connect with your talent, akcnowledging that everyone has a talent for something, then developing the talent through a creative process. So his definition of creativity starts with freedom, then talent, then process.
Then we talked about “practice”, and in the Design world that involves a lot of compromises with constraints, that many times make the final design better.
Tenny started as engineer but learned to be a designer on the job, so he is quite good at both, however, he thinks “designers need to understand a little bit better but I don’t think they need to become engineers: we need designers. And I think we need engineers and you have to be good at your craft.” But, for people like him, with this dual skillset, he can see a bright future in AR and VR.
His definition of design is a quote from someone else: “Design is this ability that we have to just transform situations”. In this regard, he had the opportunity to work in Africa years ago, and he had to change the framework they used. The initial challenges were of a complex web, but they realised people were living with scartcity and they needed to change focus, do field research and try to add value to users in their context. Having an experience similar to that can be very enriching.
He is committed to making design accessible to everyone, by going to the core of the tools and explaining them in a simple, clear way, with zero jargon. It is natural if you are a professional, pushing the field forward, that sometimes things get a little more complicated, and you need a deeper understanding, but Pinheiro believes that some other professionals are trying to make it look more complicated in order to justify their work, in situations when it is not so.
In his quest to democratize design he created a very affordable online program, at Design Sprint School, and also made his Minimum Viable Service model open source. He created the MVS as a plugin for the Lean Startup framework, which he found very scientific but lacking on user focus.
As for the Design Sprint School, the aim is to train people both in Service Design Sprints and Google Venture Sprints. But they train them also in UX tools, and specially the roots of Design. The goal is that students don´t just execute a Sprint Agenda but understand it, can discuss it and change it, mixing techniques from both frameworks and more when the project requires it. When you need to get to know the people you want to serve better, or define the challenges better, then MVS model is more appropriate, since it is research intensive. When you know your problem and your customers, but need to tests ideas, then GVS is more appropriates, since it is prototype intensive.
The course is composed of videos, some audios and readings that complement the videos, and slow down the pace to allow for reflection. There are lots of practices you have to submit in order to certificate and actually learn the methods. But Tenny emphasizes that being a sprint facilitator is not about being an extrovert bubbly type. It is a skill open to everyone, and the practical exercises will give you the grounds to facilitate.
To finish off, Tenny’s advice for anyone entering the job market now would be “keep an eye on tech, because we are heading to a future where companies are valuing design so much that designers are part of the team and they are working side by side with engineers.”
Disclaimer: this is a lighty edited transcript, what means that the structure may be a little raw and there may be some typos.
CHILDHOOD – I would like to know how you got here, and will start at the beginning: What type of child were you?
This goes back to my entrepreneurial roots because I was a child that was very active. I had a very active mind in the sense that I was always challenging myself trying to find new ways to do things.
There is this fun story:
When I was 13, my soccer ball ended up at a lady’s house. We were not even supposed to be playing at that field and she ended up puncturing my ball. It was kind of like all hell broke loose because we were playing soccer, and we didn’t have any way to do this anymore. So me and my friends were trying to come up with a plan to just get some revenge. She had this small ice cream parlor in the neighborhood and my idea was:
.- “What if we sell ice cream, but half of the price, and we just run her out of business?”.
And everybody liked it. It was better than throw fireworks at her house or the other options that we had on the table. So we went for it. So, long story short, two months later she went out of business and we were selling a lot of ice creams because we are doing prime quality at half price. And she couldn’t keep up with that. But the truth of the matter is neither could I. Because the way we were doing it was that I was borrowing money from my grandma. I was putting a lot of money into ingredients and selling it for that price tag. The money was not able to go back so we were not making any money. We were actually losing money every month. It was a lot of fun because we were not quite interested in the money. But then after a while, it became clear that we would have to shut down. And also, she asked my grandma that we shut down the business. I was reluctant at the beginning to do that. But then my grandma told me that she wouldn’t lend me money anymore to buy ingredients and that business was over.
That goes to explain a little bit of my nature as as a person that is always searching for something that will give me a new occupation. Like it will occupy my mind with something else and challenge me to do something that I never tried before, this type of thing.
So that was my first business and I was amazed with the fact that I could get money from people for something that I was building and that feeling carried forward to my next initiative.
CREATIVE CONFIDENCE – What does creativity mean for you?
That’s interesting because to me it’s not about talent or about process. It’s more about how you allow yourself to feel free enough to take a risk but invoicing what you’re really thinking about a situation. So it starts not with talent or even process. To me it starts before that, it starts with freedom, the freedom that you give yourself before talent or process.
—- Like when you are studying music and you believe deep in your heart that you suck at creating something. You never give yourself the freedom to try and to fail, then it doesn’t matter if you have talent. So it doesn’t matter if you if you have a process. You’re too afraid to even try to run the process and you don’t believe you have a talent. So it doesn’t matter if you really have if you don’t believe you have or you don’t have.
So that’s the thing about creativity. To me, it’s very strongly related to freedom, the freedom that you are able to give yourself. It’s a hard thing to do, because everybody’s judging. So the world is out there trying to make sure that you are uncomfortable in giving yourself any type of freedom. And that sucks, because it makes people actually believe that they are not talented, believe that they can’t learn a process or believe that they should move on to other things. But that’s the role of the world. This is how it’s very oppressive out there.
Like artists. They are not known for having lived a fulfilling life, for the most part, right? If we see history, how many suffering can you find when you read artists’ biographies and stuff. That is because those people rarely had their work recognized or awarded in a way that was fulfilling enough for them during their lifetime.
CONNECTING WITH THE TALENT (THE CREATIVITY)
So when I say freedom, I’m talking about this dettachment from what other people will think, or even what other people should expect from it. And how can you keep moving forward? Even if you’re just operating inside your own bubble? Because it’s very easy thing to burst that bubble. Even if you know that you’re the only one believing in yourself. Those are the people that can first recognize the talent that they have. Everyone has a talent for something. Most people are not able to connect with their talent because they don’t give themselves the freedom to make that connection.
People that can give themselves some space, some kind of detachtment from what other people, society, Mom and Dad, peers, are thinking.. they are the ones that are able to suddenly find inside themselves that they actually have a talent and then develop that talent with process.
So I would add that word over there: freedom, talent, process. So that’s what creativity is to me.
PRACTICE – Can you talk to me about “Practice” in whatever way you interpret the words regarding creativity or design or skill acquisition.
So, just to follow up with this thing about freedom and creativity, the practice or the design practice. It takes creativity, of course, but I think designers have the worst in this situation. And I’ll tell you why. Artists sometimes they just say you can say “fuck it” and just dettached from reality, “this is my art if you don’t like it, whatever, you know, I don’t need you to like it, somebody’s going to like it”. So I will just exercise my creativity and blind myself to things that are supposed to haunt me or to fight against my work or this type of stuff. Because I will just live inside my own bubble. And I will always find people that are able to give me praise or able to like my work, there will always be people that will like my line of work. So it’s not easy to become that, to be able to dettach from the system and live in the bubble, mainly because it’s hard to find revenue streams or ways to sustain yourself and their design.
COMPROMISE AND CONSTRAINTS – DESIGNERS
So designers are those artists that they are willing to compromise a little bit. So they are willing to expand a little bit that bubble. And so in a way that the boundaries of the bubble dig, it gets pretty close to the system. And that, space or sometimes even intersects with the system in a way that you are not only creating inside your own bubble if they don’t think the things that you believe are right or wrong, but you are creating based on a specification based on some constraints. And that’s a hard thing to do sometimes, because you have to realize that you’re not in total control of the creative process.
It’s a different type of creative process that you have to deal with. When you are designing, it’s so much more collective creative process with much less ownership, much less signature. Not many people think about that. But like design can also be read as “the sign” where you’re not signing anything you’re actually designing. So it’s very different from the path of the artist. So that’s, that’s how I think design practice can be for some people very interesting. Because they are the ones that are really willing to compromise because they don’t want to follow the path of the artist and live inside the bubble and protect the bubble of at all costs. And they are willing to work with constraints. They even like the constraints there. So those people the right people choose go down this path.
If you don’t like to compromise, if you don’t believe in your hearts that constraints can make your design better, then you shouldn’t go there. Because I think I believe that every designer has already had this experience of a constraint, changing the first propositions that this designer created into a better form or into a better solution. So you saw your first idea, you received a lot of constraints to work around it, because you prototyped it and it didn’t work. And then you saw your last idea like the one that was actually implemented. And when you compare them both usually you think “Thanks God for those constraints, because I like this one much better”.
I don’t think you’ll find a designer that hadn’t experienced this transition. Enough to be confident that those constraints, they may suck right now, and they may create some friction, but they will ultimately make the design better. So that’s how I differentiate between artists -god bless them, because we definitely need them- from designers, which are people that are using creativity in a different way, or a different type of creativity.
MISSION – What are your aspirations or mission like?
During the last decade, one of my main aspirations or mission was to democratize services and create a way for people like my niece (14 years old), to make sure that she could use UX tools and services in whatever business she’s thinking of creating.
I created my first business when I was 13. And I was clever enough to use any of the design tools that are used today. I don’t see any reason why kids can’t use a design tool. Kids can code, they can use it as a design tool. They are coding, they are creating apps, they are creating games, they are creating services. So why not make it available to those people cannot really grasp it.
And instead of having to grow and opt in for a design college program, study for four years, graduate, then opt in for a master degree in desing for two years, graduate, and then find a job at IDEO. Its fine if that’s what they need, they want to be very specialized, they want they want to rethink the field, they want to contribute with research, there’s going to evolve the field. That’s what they should do.
But there are some people that just need the tools. Not everybody is inventing a toolbox, but actually, everyone can use a hammer right or everyone can use like a screwdriver. And that was my vision for services. I get it that my niece is not contributing to finding the next way we use to depict a user journey. But she doesn’t want to. She just wants to create her startup and she’s passionate about creating change in her neighborhood.
How can I help her to do that with the tools that I know?. And turns out, she uses a bunch of those tools very successfully, with very creative ways of depicting the information that she was gathering in conversations, which is very good at having as well. So ended up in another prequel. So that was my vision that I pursued for the last 10 years.
DESIGN SPRINT SCHOOL – How do you create a successful online school?
I came to Silicon Valley five years ago, and I decided to go back to my roots as a as an entrepreneur. I felt that with the publication of the Design Sprint School I had my “contribution share” checked? I wrote six books about it, my books are everywhere, and then, also published an online school which is a five star rated online school at a very accessible price. I have zero complaints and people just love the content. They love the way I explain things, the way I make it easy to understand as if I’m not presupposing that you have to go to college to understand what I’m talking about. And I make it easy I give examples that are not full of technicalities. I In other words, I took all the design-ish bullshit out of the equation and then I created something that can help explain design to everybody.
I have a cousin who is a hairstylist but is trying to change career path. He’s going through through the Design Sprint School, and his work is amazing. He’s posting his work and it’s really good. But there is a barrier or bullshit that runs around design.
Those people involved in pushing the field forward and create new tools, etc, like my book, “The service startup” that I created the MVs model (which is a facilitated design sprint model), -two years before Google actually-, are eager to defend the bubble. That community, (I’m including myself in this group), are eager to say that things are harder than you think. So “you need to hire us” because those people they live by providing consultants services. I don’t think it’s deliberate. So anything that I write about it after dedicating four days to double click on consumer journeys are going to be obviously more difficult or harder or deeper than what a person needs to learn to design a journey. We are getting into the to evolvement field, the research within design field, and of course, it’s going to sound more complicated.
I think it’s a feedback loop like they think about the net next article, “how can I write about user research in a way that nobody has written about it before?”, instead of thinking of writing in a way that my niece can understand. Do you see the difference? Of course, the article is going to come out as harder to read. And with the first option, writing something that nobody has ever written before, writing about an angle, that I’m the only one seeing right now, that’s super exciting, and people should do that. But those are different purposes.
I was that guy before writing “The service startup” and being concerned that more people should get it. So I wrote this book, “The service startup” and connected back to my entrepreneurial roots because I was doing a lot of advising for founders and I was liking it. I was thinking that there was a better representation of who I am than anything else I did in the consultant realm. So wrapped up my consultant career and started trying to make the knowledge that I had available in a way that everybody could understand.
That was my mission: to make sure that knowledge is available. It’s cool and people like it and and they can understand what’s going on with the designschool.com program. Over 1000 people have been certified. The program is everywhere, I have students from everywhere. Every day have 200 people going through the platform and the community is super cool. So it’s tangible to me that I’ve just put a lid on this stage of my life.
Now I want to go back to learning. That’s the next step to me, because that is the path of the teacher, the mentor. And the best way to go back to learning was to go back to my roots as an entrepreneur. Go back to my roots as an engineer.
DESIGNEER – What was first the engineer or the designer?
I was working with top tier agencies, so our games ended up winning cyber games like New York festivals, MTV awards. when I was doing a website of artists. It was super fun because there was a lot of creative people and also the awards… what else would a 20 year old like me want?
But it all came like crashing with the NASDAQ crash. So all those projects they were funded went to zero. Then I went into enterprise development, taking my coding skills elsewhere, to build ecommerces or this type of services that the internet was adopting. The money was still flowing because those other things were defended. I worked for a couple of years with C# and with Microsoft Enterprise software and technologies for development.
And then I started to connect back with my roots with design mainly because I went to live in Napa, working for a company that I was doing proofs of concept, which are prototypes. I was doing prototypes so I was being a designer as well. I was building user interface for their product so the customer could see it: “Oh, that’s cool, it looks cool”.
But then I went to Africa I was supposed to go there to help. I was working for a company working with the government. The span of the projects were from telecom to oil to many different things. I was doing this internal Portal but I realized that there was a lot of usability issues with that thing because people from inside the company thought they would just mimic a portal from a company like Telefonica or Virgin Mobile or something like that.
But the users, the people actually using the phones in Luanda in Angola, were not used to those services they were not even expecting. They had this different needs, different expectations. That’s when I just put a brake on everything and had a conversation with the leadership that we needed to go back to research because we were building a lot of shit that no one would ever be able to use. We were spending a lot of money doing that. It may be that it was looking good at the contracts, but it was not going to be good in the end when they pull up the usage stats, and they see that it’s worth nothing, nobody’s using it.
So having this conversation just catapulted me to the position of being the principal services designer over there, because then I had to go back into the field. It’s funny because I was the principal, but I was also the only one. So I had to go into the fields, talk to the people in the villages, interview them, see how they leave, see how they experience things and do all the work that designers should do before even sketching something. So that was when I connected back with my roots as a designer.
How a designer could have that experience these days?
That’s super interesting because it seems today, if you just take a glance we have too much, we have an abundance of things here in the US, so how can I design for scarcity in a way that I may I’m able to drop my framework and acquire a new one? Because I’m dealing with scarcity and that’s a different challenge to design. But when you look deeper, you see now the situation with the Black Lives Matter movement here in the US. Racism has been going on for a long time, but it ‘s not getting exposed and all those feelings are driven by scarcity in some part of their vector. If you look at this situation you will find a point where scarcity is the main force driving that situation. And that’s the percentage that you should deep dive into. Because those projects they will not get you the better revenue. Some of them will not get you any revenue at all, because you should do it as a volunteer, but they will teach you a lot about how people are living in scarcity. So just my advice would be just find those pain points where scarcity is the main driver of it, and then just volunteer for something.
What is Design for you?
Design to me is this ability that we have to just transform situations, I’m quoting someone here, but I forgot who am I quoting right now-
You can transform any situation from your generic situation into a preferred one. And that’s, to me is design, that’s the best definition I ever saw. It’s the ability to look at an ordinary situation, it may be totally bad, it may be just okay. But you are able to look at it through the eyes of the people using it. And then you’re able to generate ideas that can propagate solutions that are not in the eye of the regular beholder of the same situation, just because you are looking at that problem through the lens of the people that are actually suffering with it. You are able to come up with clever ideas that otherwise would make you look like a genius because who would ever thought about it? Right? But then you have a process to do that. It’s not because you’re a genius is just because you’re you’re taking a different perspective in order to come up with that idea.
Most people are looking at the situation as a business issue. You’re looking at the situation as a human issue first and then as a business issue. So that’s to me is design and that’s the results that come out of it are ROI worth it. Otherwise companies like Apple and everybody else wouldn’t be doing it. I don’t believe in the myth of the design genius. I just believe that people are really good at emphasizing with others. And when they do that, the brain is amazing. They can come up with solutions that the ordinary person just looking at the situation from their own perspective will never even think about.
Do you see in the future designers becoming engineers or engineers becoming designers?
No, I don’t believe that in the future designers will have to become engineers and engineer will have to become designers. I don’t believe in this word “become”. But I believe for sure that designers will have to make friends with engineering. They will have to have a little bit more of an understanding of how the cookie crumbles.
You know, because when you look at Dribble, and all those websites and people are tripping their ass off over there creating those crazy animations that I would say that they don’t have a purpose even within design. Some of them are brilliant, but they are just for the purpose of a portfolio. But to come into existence, that would be amazing boring for the user to see their credit card flipping hundred times every time it shows up in the screen or things like that.
Those animations that are not really adding value, they are cut off from the process because they are not easy to maintain and they are not fun to build and they are also not the core pieces of the company. So why would an engineer spend so much time to add to the project 15 days or something, just just set up an animation?
Those things sometimes are not things that designers actually understand because most of them are not working close to engineers. I think every designer would benefit from understanding a little bit of the technology. And I think companies like Apple are creating that interface. Because swift UI, for instance, the next stage of the of the iOS development framework, it’s fairly designer friendly. And it’s only going to get better. So there will always be things that engineers will have to build. As an engineer, I’m able to code things that are too on the other spectrum for a designer to get into that.
I think designers need to understand a little bit better but I don’t think they need to become engineers: we need designers. And I think we need engineers and you have to be good at your craft.
If you are a good designer that is also good engineer like I am then great. But they’re not many people like me. It’s hard for people to believe that. Sometimes people go they see what I did with design, and they were like “Oh, you must be a shitty engineer”. And then they go through my GitHub stuff and are like “you must be a shitty designer”. It’s not easy to find people that can do both. The only reason I can do both is because of the story about my career: I actually started as an engineer, I’m a dropout from computer science and math. My goal in the beginning was to become an engineer. So for the people like me, I think there will be a bright future over there with the AR and VR. And that’s my next stage as well. I’m actually building something with AI right now. But we still need designers and if you love what you do, you know, bless you. You just have to dip your feet a little bit into what engineers have to build whenever you pass that ball to them. That’s going to make you a better designer.
The Design Sprint School and Service Design Sprints
I created Service Design Sprints two years before Google launched their book. It doesn’t matter much because people know Google, and it’s such an amazing strong brand that it catapulted the thing to everybody. When I’ve created the thing two years ago, I was talking about it, going to universities everywhere. My book was launched in Japan, and I was doing my promoting work but there’s nothing like when Google lounched it. So it was pretty cool that they did. And it was pretty cool that I was able to take part and get some tailwind from this movement and create this School.
It’s not a competing approach. It may be that the guy that created it from Google got out of Google, and created an online school as well and that is a competing service to the Design Sprint School. But this has nothing to do with the method itself. So the method is very compatible, and , like most people, I am using Google’s framework for a lot of things. Mix it with mine, I take one of the tools that I’ve created, one of those tools that guru created, depending on the project, depending on the sprint, I’m using more of mine, more of theirs, and that’s what we teach at the Design Sprint School as well. We’re giving you options, just so you can mix and match. And maybe you will find the Jone’s method instead of Google’s method or Tenny’s method or Maria’s method is going to be the method that you want. To be honest with you, the right thing to do every time you tackle a project is to play around with the agenda and change it.
Before going out, we want to understand what is the challenge, then you want to go to your toolbox and just select the right tools for the job. And the right tools may come from my methods, from Google’s method or from anything else from UX, which is actually the biggest library you can have for methods ever. You can do whatever fits the challenge, and that’s the right mindset to have.
We teach both methods in the School. Actually, we go beyond those two methods. We teach some UX tools as well. We teach design thinking mindsets, and we equip students to not only think but discuss the design thinking mindset and culture and superstar routes. We also teach roots because it’s important. It’s important to understand what things are a fad. It is important to understand what is the Bauhaus movement. How it has to do with everything that we are discussing right now, because it has.
We try to give students much more perspective on what they are doing than just throw them on the fire like “just go there and just run this agenda and you’re gonna be fine”. Because we know for a fact that you probably will get on the other hand, like you’ll survive that thing. But when you are thinker, when you can actually add to the pile, when you can come up with your own tools on top of it. We know for a matter of fact that you are going to be better than the person just executing the agenda. And that’s what we aim for time spent in School.
You have made the Minimum Viable Service model open to everyone.
Yep. Because because my goal was not to create something that you cant mash up with different things. My goal since the beginning was not to create a methodology, and then do the consultants service on top of it, which is what everybody does.
My goal was to create a tool that my niece can can use, and that can be mixed with other things. I have a book breaking free from the Lean Startup religion where I’m doing a harsh critic on the lean startup, but not in the sense of “Don’t use this shit, it’s going to be detrimental to your project”. That’s not the critic. The critic is that the lean startup is basically a scientific process. Use it, please use it. But you can plug in this design, which is the MVS which is the method that I’ve created. I’ve created the MVS to be a plugin to the Lean Startup approach. Not to be used like a religion or something that’s the only thing you need to use. I created it to be like embedded into this startup development cycle and to add value using service design in the cycle.
So that’s why I opened it to Creative Commons, and the major criticism to it is that by creating the MVS I have created a user research heavy sprint method. Whereas the Google method is prototyping heavy. So the difference is that with the Google method, you fly through the early stage and you get to the prototyping stage, and then you have a lot of cool stuff that you can do over there. With my method, you are stuck for a while in the initial stage, because you are digging very deep into the human aspect of the problem. And then you fly through the next stages, and then you prototype and can enjoy each one. And so the intensity graph I would have a huge bump in the beginning. And then it becomes easier as you go. They (Google) would be easier in the beginning and be very intense as you finish.
So you have to think about what is the challenge that you’re facing. Is your challenge something that you know a lot about, you’ve been suffering with, you can emphasize a lot, have tons of ideas that you want to test already or that you feel that they are writing to the ballpark but you don’t have validation and you have to validate those those things? That’s definitely a challenge for the Google Ventures approach.
Or is your challenge a mystery to you? Is it something that you don’t quite understand yet or you think you have a solution for it, but you want to find other creative ways of finding new solutions. And also, your team has little research information or little empathetic material about the users that they want to serve with this challenge. So if you use the Google Ventures in this specific situation without changing the model, without complementing the model to make sure that you are like inserting those abilities to capture that empathetic link with the user, you’re going to get in the end fast with prototypes that are basically useless to everyone.
So what is the challenge that you have. Do you need to double down getting to know those people that you want to serve, or do you need to double down testing things with them? Or you need a little bit of both? So that’s how you should think mix and match and this type of stuff. That’s what we teach at Design Sprint School.
What is the most affordable, yet comprehensive online learning package?
The most affordable right now is 49 if I’m not mistaken, and it’s a month to month subscription, so you pay until you finish the program then you don’t have to pay anymore. If you want the certification and mentors feedback, then you pay $79 a month then you have access to take the test. So you and that’s the difference as well of the Design Sprint School.
I don’t believe in teaching design just by watching funny videos and this type of stuff. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. I think it actually helps propagate a mindset that it’s not that serious that it always has to be fun. That’s the main concern that I have with this mindset of balloons and people very energetic. It helps propagate the idea that designers have to have this extraversion factor to them. They have to be this person, fun and engaging, and everybody wants you to be around them. They are seeing you as a creative, they paint the hair green, and they use those acetate-like glasses. And that’s a stereotype that I want everybody that comes to my school steer away from, because this is really detrimental to the design practice. This is the one of the enemies of that idea that I mentioned, that I want my niece or anybody else that is not the design-ish type, to be able to access the power that this method has, the power that this mindset brings to the table in whatever they’re building. So this is important because we steer away from that and we focus on having people practicing it. In order to graduate on the Design Sprint School, you have to actually post practices, you’re going to receive mentors comments, and then you’re going to receive the graduation certificate.
If you want to become a spring master at sprinting, either, then you can take the test, which is based on the exercise and everything that you did. And then you can get the black certificate, which is the Sprint Master certificate.
That’s how I believe it’s the most most effective way to teach design. And without actually scaring people that are not like that type. And also it helps people get their creativity flowing, give them that space, that freedom, because when I see people that are so different than I am, I feel that I don’t belong to that group and I’m less willing to move forward. But when I practice things, that’s the opposite.
We have videos, of course, but then there are scribbles. They are videos where I’m telling the stories about the methods or I’m explaining the methods and they are followed up by reading, because it’s important that you also read and you take your time instead of just hearing from me with my voice, that you hear your voice in your own head and take your time to do the readings, because videos they have specific times. I have to make it short and then you end up leaving a lot of things out that have value. So there’s a lot of reading in this course as well. Then it’s features are simple to update.
There are some exercises. The exercise is super cool because I modeled it. -I’m a Game Master. I love D&D and I we play every Friday and I am the DM. – So I modeled the exercises like an RPG game like D&D. So you have the characters that you design for. Each character has a story and you see the images, you see everything. That’s the thing that you have to choose to have as a designer, like that empathetic link you can build, even if you’re sitting on a table inside your own office, because you are actually reading those stories and they are fun. They are also real, because those scenarios they are based in reality, but they are fun and they are also engaging. So you that enables you to design as if you’re dealing with real scenario situation.
Advice for someone who’s entering the job market.
I think it’s mainly “keep an eye on tech“. You know, don’t separate yourself from tech. Don’t buy into the stereotypes, the classic balloons and mustaches and acetate glasses stereotype. Those are not the designers of the future. We are heading to a future where companies are valuing design so much that designers are part of the team and they are working side by side with engineers. And, you know how empathy works. I think you should find your way. If you are an extrovert, great, be an X or be yourself, be you. It’s just if you’re not, don’t feel compelled to run this path, because I think that’s definitely not how you can contribute better as a designer today and moving forward.
What is the future for design sprint school
The School is growing every month, it grows month to month even during this crisis. So the future with Design Sprint School is to keep it alive. I update some contents, I talk to the students sometimes. There are mentors that are answering questions in the community. I try to keep it very low maintenance because I am free to do Kinds for instance, which is this project that I’m launching in the App Store the upcoming week.
Kinds is an app that I designed and developed from scratch where you can map your personality with the help of your friends. You can share kinds of personality traits that you can share with people and then you get upvoted with yours and then you can predict how similar you are to your friends. You will be able to predict the team chemistry within a group of friends or group of peers. Also, how is the team chemistry score, and how they score is going to go up or go down if you remove this person. And there is going to be an AR capability where you’ll be able to see the main “kind” of people floating above their heads if you use your cell phone or glasses, which I think it’s coming next year from Apple and other providers. Those are the exciting things that I’m releasing right now.