Sherry Turkle: The Dangers of Social Media TED Talk

We were recently listening to Sherry Turkle’s TED talk about the dangers of social media/social networking. Turkle spoke often that we are becoming increasingly “connected, but alone”. The statement resonates and is a frightening reminder that social media participation doesn’t necessarily equate to true connectivity to other people. There’s a comfort in these internet personas: you can be who you want, you can ignore who you want, you can lash out at or praise anyone you want… without ever coming into contact with them. It struck us how this issue is affecting careers today not only in the design industry but in all industries.

When we at Yeh IDeology reflect on all of the clients and searches we've worked on, one of the most crucial characteristics that most all of our clients ask for, regardless if they are a major global corporation, manufacturer, design consultancy or start up, is the ability to communicate with others. Whether it’s being able to communicate across departments, with clients, or within one’s design team, effective communication skills are an essential quality that these employees and future employees must have.

Moreover, Turkle states that the “little devices” that we carry with us during the day, sleep with at night, and use as a form of comfort and companionship, are so “psychologically powerful that they no longer simply affect what we do, they change who we are.” Now that the Internet can be accessed anywhere and everywhere using a simple touch of a button or phone screen, there is no “down time” from our Online Lives. She gives the examples of phones being used underneath the table at a business meeting, under a desk during school, and even while spending time with friends and family. We no longer give our attention towards subjects that are supposed to be meaningful to us, and allow ourselves to be distracted by the “rest of the online world”.

The fear is that we may be losing our most valuable skills: relating to others by empathizing or negotiating, representing and positioning ourselves, building real-life relationships, questioning, collaborating, mentoring, leading, etc. When it comes to communicating with one another, we have trained ourselves to retreat into our Internet personas, instead of reaching out with face-to-face conversation. We tend to see in any industry, that those that have a higher social intelligence tend to rise in the ranks faster because social interpersonal skills becomes one of the key attributes needed to succeed in management.

We pose the following questions to you: Are you noticing that social media is affecting business relationships at work? Is it changing the amount of communication, or lack of communication, with other departments? Is progress within your department suffering because of this? More importantly how is this affecting you directly? How is this affecting your job and your advancement?

The growth of digital spaces is inevitable but physical spaces will never be rendered completely irrelevant. As the two spaces fight for room in our lives the norms in one clash with norms in the other, affecting our ability to thrive in either.

Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing

In Last week’s Sunday Review the New York Times published an opinion piece by design polymath Michael Graves, making public a discussion that has been ongoing in design circles for some years now: The Death of drawing and what it means to the design profession. With the pervasiveness of digital technology is drawing by hand becoming a marginalized skill and a dying art? Graves speaks mostly from an architectural perspective and references his own growth as a practitioner as well as noting the need for digital and computation but lamenting a perceived lack of emotion in those designs.

“ … I find this quite different from today’s “parametric design,” which allows the computer to generate form from a set of instructions, sometimes resulting in so-called blob architecture. The designs are complex and interesting in their own way, but they lack the emotional content of a design derived from hand. “

At Yeh IDeology, this question is a daily conversation that we have with our clients. The visual nature of design makes hand drawing still an attractive piece of a portfolio and one that very quickly and easily shows process and how a designer, young or old, thinks. Yet without the ability to translate those drawings into 3D some of that value is lost and extends the design process unnecessarily. The ideal designer combines a solid foundation of hand drawing skills with the ability to translate and iterate quickly in 3D.

Where do you stand on this debate? Is Hand Sketching that important to your practice? Are tablets the right kind of in between system? And what does the future hold as technologies get faster and cheaper in this domain?

Read Graves' opinion piece here and tell us how you feel.

Remembering Bill Moggridge

With all the incredible people we've met in the design world, especially in our own community in New York City, there were very few that matched the intellect, drive, and downright pleasantness of Bill Moggridge. We were lucky enough to have him in the fold at many design events in New York, not to mention our great chats with him at so many symposiums and IDSA conferences, where we were so impressed by a man who added so much to the design world and really had an impact on human culture that far too many do not know. He is perhaps best known as the father of the laptop computer, the key mind in creating its design and ergonomic standards, and the man who created the basis for a tool that millions cannot live without today. He was a pioneer of what would become interaction design, and was a key architect in the forming and naming of the discipline. He went on to form one of if not the most influential design firms ever created, IDEO, which has continued to create new and incredible products and experiences. He left us while heading the Cooper-Hewitt, busy putting the final touches on a great fundraising campaign that will grow the design museum by 60%, and create a new National Design Library in New York. But the thing we'll miss most is our wonderful discussions with the man, so intelligent and down-to-earth, who lived and breathed design. You will be missed.

DesignBoost’s “Design Beyond Design” Event at Cooper Hewitt: Part Two

Our second day at Designboost was comprised of lectures by leaders pushing the boundaries of the design world. Of all of the lectures I was able to attend, I enjoyed the playful energy Philip Tiongson’s company Potion has been bringing to the interaction design & technology space.

My absolute favorite was Aaron Dignan’s lecture entitled “The Future of Work is Play.” He talks about the formula for creativity and play and how business has to understand the fine line and balance between boredom to creativity to anxiety. It’s exciting to hear because this is one of the main aspects that Yeh IDeology analyses when we match talent with our client’s opportunities. We look for that fine balance of variety and challenge so that the right candidate will be as ideally enthralled by the opportunity and the company energized by a committed new member with initiatives that are aligned to their creative team’s mission.

See Aaron's lecture below:

See part one of our coverage of the Designboost event here!

Dr. Woody Blog- Career Resolution

I just came across Dr. Woody's blog giving some great advice on "New Year, New Attitude: 10 Career Resolutions YOU Need to Make in 2011". He offers us some excellent suggestions on new proactive ways to look at your future. I actually do practice many of these points in my life in some manner but I love how he's put these points together in a pithy and organized manner and there are new ones I've not considered before. Tips I do 1: Look in the Mirror- I always reflect on what I bring to the world and how to keep improving, 3: Face Three Negatives- I always try to reflect on my mistakes to try to understand my habits better and hope to never repeat them, 4: ah the books and there are so many great books out there. One fun book I'm reading is "Maotai, Mooncakes and Monks" about an expat American in China. 5: Join One Group- Just joined Service Design Network for the first time last year and I'm going to be attending IxDA's conference in Boulder CO this Feb. The most passionate and self driven individuals in any industry often are found at industry groups. 7: Make 12 New Friends- I love finding like minded people who are just as passionate about life and learning. The best friendships are the ones where you teach each other. 8: Take One Risk- last year was a doozy with lots of risk taking, but it was all good for growth and progression of YehID and myself. Change is good. 9: 9: Set Lofty Goals- We’re doing what we can to field all of the needs of our clients but we could be even better at it and one day we’ll find a way to be able to help match more talent to culture 10 times more nimbly while never losing the attention to detail and the quality of our services & matches. 10: Make a YOU Plan: Got it. And reading this blog I'll now revise and enhance mine.

New Tips I'm Going to Try 2: Reminisce on Five Positives. I love this one and I've never tried this. To up my game I'll reflect on the things I've achieved and think about how much they mean to me and how I might even better my approach next time.

6: There are so many things to keep track of. Will definitely look at all of mine and YehID's social profiles and see if anything needs to be revised to reflect me and YehID in 2011.

Dr Woody's blog really does such a great job of defining the topic of Career Resolution that I just ordered his book "The YOU Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy" and will recommend it for my students I'll be teaching in Careers Strategy next semester at Parsons New School.

If you catch this in time Dr. Woody's going to appear on LIVE! w/ Regis & Kelly tomorrow morning to talk about Career Do's and Don't's for 2011!!! Check local listing.

Like Dr. Woody says "Career success starts with YOU! Take charge! Get out of the hot seat! Make it happen!"

Tell us your thoughts on Dr. Woody's 10 Tips, and take a look at our previous blog entry on 2011 New Year's Career Resolutions while you're at it!

Productive Procrastination

I think I've perfected Productive Procrastination, or am certainly crafting my methodology for it. Everyone's pushing to learn and grow and we all have our own Achilles heels, those tasks that we most hate to do, that hold us back and signify our next level of personal growth and development. Call it personal mental block, plain old disdain for the task, or it's in our Myers and Briggs that our unique set of genes are just not programmed for it. There are some tasks that are best given to someone else to do, whether you pay or barter with others to do them. But then there are some tasks I know I just have to do myself. Perhaps I know that only I can deliver the quality that I expect or maybe I just need to know that I can master the assignment. Blog writing is my my current biggest mental block. What will you think of what I write, and how well will I express myself? Will I be eloquent and insightful enough or too pedestrian and redundant? I know I have so many ideas and concepts that would be valuable to share with you, but I have such a mental block with it. Is it because I want it so much? I've heard before if you fear something, it's because you want it so dearly. If anyone can find that quote for me, I'd love it.

So I've been torturing Mel Lim, my amazing website designer, and I hand in task after task, but not the blog. I have too many thoughts and topics in my head. Really, there are bazillions of them. I know that once I master this, I'll be so relieved and will probably relish blogging. For the moment, I wish to surpass this mental block, learn to blog, and to love it.

Yes I know I can pay someone to write the blogs for me, just as we do with other types of content. But this is something I care about dearly and I want to share things with you directly. That said, I will admit that there is an angel sitting on my shoulder overlooking this project I've set for myself, and I thank her dearly.

So I "Productively Procrastinate". Being (and I consider myself still) a young entrepreneur, there are numerous tasks and projects that need my attention. Most of these tasks are relatively important and impact all different aspects of building a budding young company. But there are a few key top tasks I'm avoiding, possibly because I can't wrap my head around them just yet (or at least in one sitting), or I’m not mentally ready to tackle them., or I’m not into doing them right now. Maybe I’m a bit of a perfectionist, because there are things I feel utterly compelled to do myself.

I also believe in doing things right. No matter how inundated I am, most tasks I feel are not worth doing unless they are worth doing right. I say this because too many times I've found myself spending exponentially more time to rework something done wrong.

And so I fill my days with all of the tasks I need to do. Where I avoid one task, I work on another that I have to do and may also dread doing. But I at least address the task I dread less than the task I dread the most. And I get a lot of work done. I make progress and feel better about myself and my day. The mountains of "to do"s diminish.

Early on I found that if I avoided a task I dreaded by doing absolutely nothing, I would end up feeling sorry for myself. As I found random tasks I needed to do and could be productive while avoiding the one task that plagued me most, I felt better about my day. Heck, I was accomplishing something.

Sometimes if I had a complicated project to avoid, I would focus on a menial task and get it done in record time while mulling over my approach to the complicated project. The opposite was also true.

You know the adage that if you have one thing to do all day, you get nothing done. But if you have 50 things to do, you get 25 things done. I completely understand it now, and it's true. I keep a list of various tasks I have to do, and I plow through one after another while avoiding something else. Some tasks demand heavy thinking, some require creative insight, and some involve number crunching. Then there are menial tasks that just simply take time.

Don't get me wrong. I also believe in those moments when it's healthy to do nothing and you need to take a break and unplug. I can't wait for that moment to come. But for now, I just don't have that luxury. There are times when everything converges at once and nothing can wait. Like right now at the end of the year. These overwhelming moments call for Productive Procrastination.

As mountains of tasks pile up, I feel like a samurai, wielding my attention, slaying task upon task. And the list of "to do"'s gradually dwindles. As I take a breather and look back, I'm impressed that I've accomplished so much in what feels like such a short amount of time. I take a moment to relish the zen moment, to breath and relax and do nothing but reflect. I may even start planning a reward moment to look forward to. And then I place my fingers on my keyboard and slay some more tasks, like this one – my first blog entry, where I’m writing to you.