S2E23 – Business and Design

Im not a businessman, I dont sell out, I am a designer!

I believe that this is a pretty common mindset, and also a really healthy one. But.. and yes, there is a but. If you do not make money, you are not free to create and share the good in this world. Further more, since everyone else in the world is also using the same concept of money, then when you are designing, this have a huge impact on the things that you do.

But, how can I use this as a designer you might ask? Well, I have some good news for you!

In this episode of Hidden By Desing we talk about the ways that business influence design, and how it is impacting the decisions you make as a designer. Amongst other things, we talk about the difference between “I make money so that I can create value to the user” and “I create value to the user, so that I can make money” and how the difference in this mindset can influence the way that you think and design.

You will learn

  • How business influence design
  • What should you think about when designing
  • Why it’s necessary to understand the business when designing
  • How to apply business when designing

S2E22 – Goal-Gradient Effect

Damn, I really need the toilet, but I am far away from home!

We have all been there, out for a walk, and in need of a toilet! And it appears that the close we get to home, the more we need to go! At a point when we are there, its almost unbearable!

What I tell my kids when in this situation, and what helps me, is to imagine that the toilet is not at home, but somwhere else.. setting the goal further away, because somehow this helps!

This is a bad example, but it shows the idea perfectly. The closer you are to a goal, the more motivated you are to comlete it. And this appears to be true, also when you need a toilet.

In this episode of Hidden By Design, we are discovering the goal gradient effect, and how you can motivate people by setting a goal and being clear about their progress. A bit of its daily uses, and where you can find it in your daily life.

You will learn

What the Goal Gradient effect is.

How to use the Goal Gradient effect.

Some example of the Goal Gradient effect.

S2E21 – Identifying Bad Designs

What is bad design, and how do you identify it?

Sometimes you will look at something, and think.. bah, that is a really bad design, the experience is totally off. And often you know this instinctively, but what if it is just a matter of your not being the one this was designed for, or you simply being in a bad mood.

Fear not, Hidden by Design is here to help you. We have questions you can ask about the design, and then you can use this as a parmeter for finding out if the design is good or not.

It is not nessecary for all designs to live up to all of these, but if a design fail most of these

The questions:

  1. Predictable (past and future)
    Is the design predictable, can the user predict what is going to happen, and does to user understand why things happened?
  2. Consistency (Both in experience and Aestetics)
    Is the experience consisten and does it work as you would expect something like this to work, and does it have a consistent look.
  3. Instant Feedback
    When using the object, does it tell you want is happening and is it given at all time what is happening? When you click a button, you have to be told that the button is clicked.
  4. Easy but Deep
    Is it easy to understand how to use the design, and does it offer different ways to combine and solve issues? This is mostly applicable with games, but to be honest, in my opinion, this is something all designs should have.
  5. Autonomy
    This is very much about the user being in control. I often ask myself, does the user controls the situation, or does the situation controls the user. In most cases we want the user to be free to control the situation. A good design should enable the user to do thing and set them free.
  6. Does it solve my problem
    Often, a design or tool “almost” solves the problem, or is not really doing the thing that it is supposed to do.. its the “You had one job” situations, where the design does not do what you need it to do. You would be surprised how many designs does not live up to this one.

Bonus: In this Episode, both Martin and me falls prey to a very famous Bias, which bias is this?

S2E20 – UI is not design

UI is not design!

And with that out of the way, lets get to the meat of this episode.

This is an episode about understanding what User Interfaces (UI) is and isnt.

Now that you read this far, then I feel I need to make sure that I mention that design cannot exist without an interface, and so, in that way, they are connected at a very fundamental level. Its like paint in a painting, a painting cannot exist without paint.. but paint is not the painting, it shows the paiting.

This episodes starts with us talking about what users interfaces are, and this in the end, we do a lightning round of the laws of Gestalt.

In this episode you will learn

What UI is and isent
The difference between GUI and HUD
Cognitive load


Season 1 Episode 4 – Constraints and Conventions

Season 1 Episode 12 – Gestalt

S2E19 – How emotions makes you do

This episode is about the relationship between emotions and decisions. We discuss how emotions are the brains way of making decisions, where as an example “hot state” decisions are made at high emotional influence.

Think about your emotions like a cup with a tiny hole in the bottom, everytime something fules that emotion, you put a bit of “emotional water” in the cup, if the water fills into the cup faster than it empties, then at some point, the cup overflows. These hot state feelings anger, love, or happiness, which leads to unreflective actions. So, if its happiness, you will start laughing uncontrolably, and what you will see is all the funny things happening, that will keep filling the happy/funny cup.

Understanding emotions is crucial for designers that wants to create designs that resonate at a deeper level with users.

You will learn

  • The brain is a predictability machine
  • Hot State – Cold state
  • What is a body budget
  • How we make decisions


How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain – Lisa Feldman Barrett

S2E18 – Storytelling in Design

Why do we need to be great storytellers? And where does Storytelling fit into Design and user experience.

This is what we are talking about in this episode. By listning to this you will learn:

  • The difference between a layout and a Composition
  • Aristoteles story formula
  • How to use storytelling in your designs


Simon Sinek – Start With Why

Anthony Jeselnik

Studying aristotles poetics

Aristotles 7 Elements of Good Storytelling

Interaction Design – Storytelling

Screencast – Aristoteles six golden rules of storytelling

S2E17 – Design Ops

Design Ops is there to help Designers “Doing the job that matters”  

NNGroup defines the Design Ops as “The orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.”

As soon as more people works together, and groups start to form in companies, then the overhead and bureaucracy becomes a factor in the way that everyone works together. This slows things down and becomes a burden to everyone.

This is where the Ops role comes into play.

In this episiode of Hidden By Design, we are talking about what Design Ops is, and what it can do for your organization.

You will learn:

  • What Design Ops is
  • Why and When you need Design Ops
  • The 3 fundamentals of Design Ops

Thank you for listening to our podcast


Nielsen Norman Group – Design Ops


S2E16 – Who’s afraid of Whitespace?

Nothing is also something! And that is exactly what we are talking about in this episode of Hidden By Design. Most people are afraid of Whitespace, and in many cases that is a problem if you are a designer. This conversation will let you know the basics about whitespace, and some practical advice on how to use whitespace.

You will learn

  • What Whitespace is
  • That nothing is also something.
  • Elements vs Global whitespace
  • Functional and Emotional whitespace


Hidden By Design – The Laws of Gestalt

A Book of Lenses

5 Best Tips on How Using White Space in Design to Improve Better UX

The Power of Whitespace

The notes

S2E15 – Tesslers Law

Understanding the difference between simple and simplistic, is fundamental to being able to do great design. The second thing you should learn is that users dont care about your design! Once you have these two things in place, then it becomes easier to focus on the right things when designing.

Anyways, I think you should just listen to this episode, which I believe is one of the best we made so far.

In this episode you will learn

The difference between complex and complicated. 

The difference between the amount of clicks and the value of clicks

Why people do not care about your product or your features.


Start with why – Simon Sinek

Living with Complexity – Don Norman

Deceptive Design

S2E13 – Time

Time and the use of time is massively underestimated as a tool for anyone who is creating experiences.

As a designer, and creator of creative content, there is two types of times. Physical time and Experienced time.

In this episode, you will learn how to relate to time as a designer, and how you use this knowledge to change the users experience of time in your creations and designs.

We are going to cover FOMO, Peak end Rule, Parkinsons Law and to Goal gradient effect amongst other things.

And then a little easer egg at the end… dad humor is the best.



S1E3 – The Brain

S1E1 – What is design

S1E5 – Flow

Peak end Rule


Parkinsons Law

Goal Gradient Effect

S2E12 – Nudging

Nudging is the art of “ever so gently” influencing someones behaviour. This could be as simple as a countdown counter to make someone make a choice faster, or in a more serious case, package pills in a way that lowers the suicide rate on a national scale.

The definition of a Nudge is, any aspect of the choice architecture that alters peoples behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentive. To count as a mere nudge the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates.

In this episode you will learn about

Choice architecture. 
Nudges, Sludges, Friction and Libertarian Paternalism
Suicide rates and Gym memberships


Nudge – The Book

Nudge Theory

Expand to get the transcript

Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
hidden by design. Nailed it. Oh yeah. And my main thing was to

Martin Whiskin 0:16
know, the podcast starts and we should start recording. Now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
you’re not recording. Today we’re going to talk about nudging, and the free choice and doing that in quotation. So all humans have a free choice in a lot of things. And notching is about I would say a little bit about the free choice. So what we’re going to talk about what you will learn today, Martin is what a choice architecture is. You will learn a little bit about nudges sludges, friction and something called Live Live Barry Terry and paternalism easy

Martin Whiskin 0:56
for you to say, no,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:59
absolutely not. And then in the end, we’re going to talk a little bit about suicide rates and gym memberships. A bit of a cliffhanger for you. They’re interesting.

Martin Whiskin 1:08
Also, sludges. I’m intrigued by sludge is horrendous. Not just since lunches, I think

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:15
maybe maybe it’s my poor English. And he just said sludge, but

Martin Whiskin 1:20
it works well with with nudges, nudges and sludges. Okay, the the quote of the day, then, if you want to encourage some activity, make it easy. That is from friend of the show, Richard Thaler.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:33
Yeah, well, he at least he wrote a book. And he is one of the guys that coined the term nudging. So whenever you hear, nudging, it’s Taylor and Sunstein. So how does that making it easy and encouraging an activity tie into choice architecture? I

Martin Whiskin 2:01
was going to ask that actually.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:05
In order to understand what noxious is, and in order to understand what a free choices, then you have to understand what a choice architecture and Thaler and Sunstein can use the choice, texture as a way of explaining how choices are made, and how you can influence. It’s like, I wouldn’t say control, but you can you can influence the the people that you’re, you’re doing. And we talked a little bit about it in, you know, deceptive design, but I’ll get back to that. So a choice architecture, if you look at any design, or any activity that you do in your everyday life, it’s when you make a choice that affects your next choice. So you will have these path, it’s it’s like the built your a Do you remember the built your own adventure books, I

Martin Whiskin 3:01
was just gonna say Choose Your Own Adventure,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:03
they will coach you on adventure. So in Danish, it was called sweat, I told them choose your own adventure. These books were a very specific choice. It has a very specific choice architecture where you read a paragraph, and then you choose your next section, what page you want to go to. And real life is in many ways like that. And the difference between choose your own adventure and real life is that as human beings, we tend to choose the road of least resistance. So in your choice architecture, whenever you are choosing making choices, if as a designer, we want to control what road and path you go down, we make the way that we want you to take EC and of least resistance. And that’s what nudging is. It’s where you make it easy to take the choice that you as a designer or a choice architect want to do

Martin Whiskin 4:10
just so like nudging guiding into a certain course of action. Yes,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 4:15
exactly. And so that’s where libertarian paternalism. I don’t know, it’s very difficult to say that was that that was better. Yeah. Once you have choice architecture in place, then we can talk about the nudge itself. And so Thaler and Sunstein defined that pretty clearly they have this book, I’ll reference it called nudge. And then I think they have like two versions of it. And one of them it’s called the final version or the last version or something. But they describe a nudge as any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior. havior in a predictable way, without forbidding any options, or significantly changing their economic incentive. So, for it to count as a nudge, the intervention or the Yeah, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Right? So if you want to choose something, you can’t, you can’t just say, well, this option is way more expensive than this one, it has to be a free choice. Because if there’s an economic incentive, you, you tend to say, well, I can’t afford it. So it’s not an option for me. In the end, is like nudges are not mandates, you can’t force people to do it with for example, money. So I like that’s, that’s a form a description from from there. Just

Martin Whiskin 5:56
quickly, on the the money side of things I remember, I remember what episode it was number we were talking about a pair of jeans that didn’t sell didn’t sell very well, because they were cheap. And then they put them up, made them really expensive. And everyone thought, Oh, well, look, those jeans are incredible and started buying them. Is that nudging to a certain demographic?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 6:15
That’s a? That’s a really good question. So my immediate answer was no that nudging, however, you can say that it is nudging to some degree. Think about it as I’m carrying playing on your social status and your relationship with others. That’s why you want that’s why you would choose to more expensive pair of jeans. So they thinking ahead of time and thinking, if I buy these expensive ones, and I’ll be more popular, you can call that and not share it where the Yeah, the money is not the incentive, the incentive is social status. Does that make sense? Yes, but you have to look at it. Like if you look at that, create your own, choose your own adventure, choose your adventure, then just look at the path, like look at it as a grid. And it has to be easy to choose one or the other. It cannot be it can be prevented by any economic or other to choose one or the other. The way that I usually try to explain it, it’s like really, really fast as you would have. If you have a room, like a concert hall or something like that. And then you have two doors, the doors lead to the same room. If you then make a sign that says welcome and put that on top of one of the doors and then put to uniform people greeting people at one door, then you will see that 99% of all people will go to the door where people agreed it and most people are going right so you have this, you’re notching them, it’s not because they can’t choose to the door. But you’re kind of nudging them towards the door with the with the greeting committee and the welcome sign. So you’re not removing their free choice. And that’s what liberal libertarian paternalism is all about. It’s like the pet parental thing is that you nudge and here we are going into deceptive design again. So you nudge people for, for making choices, that is of in their own best interest. So as you know, with parents, they always try to do what’s best for you. Libertarian paternalism is about making sure that you have your free choice. But still we are nudging you in a direction where that’s best for you. So, so as a parent, you want what’s best for your child. So you have this you have this situation or this this construction where as a society or as a designer or as a politician. You want to do things in a way so that that your your users do what’s best for them as seen from their own perspective. So that’s the notching. And so, so that’s a good notion I think from from from generally you you always want to do what’s best. But there’s a different right so when we talked in the episode about deceptive design, we had the conversation about you know, it’s the intent. There kind of does it whereas, so you want what’s best sight from your perspective. So when you’re doing this deceptive design, your intent is to benefit yourself and when You’re not doing deceptive design, you’re trying to benefit the user with notching, and, like libertarian paternalism, I’m getting better for each time. I said it a lot of times before the podcast. So you want to empathize with the user and think about what do they think is best for myself? And what is actually so you, you know, I think there’s a, there’s a, there’s a common use of a, an experiment where there was a party, and at that party, someone had a lot of knots placed around on tables, right, and people were mingling and small talking, and then they were eating at the knots. And then at some point, the host of the party notice it, noticed that people were snacking on these nuts. And he thought they’re gonna lose their appetite before we’re going to eat right? Because these are hungry people, they keep eating the nuts. So he got away to he got out, and then he removed all the nuts. And then the guest thanked him. And then you think why? Well, because all of them knew that they wanted to eat dinner, they all did not really want to eat the nuts. But by removing it, they knew what was best for them. Like they knew they were not supposed to eat the nuts, but still that do it. And there’s a lot of situation in your daily life where you know that you’re not supposed to do something, but you do it anyways. Right? It’s specifically when you’re tired or exhausted after a long day you you can attend to do stuff that you’re not supposed to you knew that yeah,

Martin Whiskin 11:55
or as a man leaving a dirty plate on the side, instead of putting it in the dishwasher.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 12:03
That would never happen.

Martin Whiskin 12:07
The thing is, what happens with me there is I put it on the side. And then my girlfriend will say that belongs in the dishwasher. And then I will code and I go to put it in the dishwasher. And she says not like that. Yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 12:21
She’s nudging you

don’t know if that’s a good segue into opt in or opt out. So I chose to, to talk about opting out, up, opt out, because these are kind of nudging, right? You, you can nudge in like you can opt into something meaning that you want to in order for someone to do something, you create some friction, right? So so so if you look at their choice architecture, there’s two ways that you can make a path of least resistance. And one is to lower the difficulty, or the resistance on one path from one node to another, right? If each choice is a node, and then they’re all connected in this grid, then for each choice you make, you can say, well, the connection between the notes is that the difficulty, then you can either heighten all of the difficulties of all of the notes you don’t want people to choose, which will then make it easier for the one that you will do want them or you can lower the difficulty on the Note that you want them to go to. So an example of this is for example, donating organs. And obviously, I don’t have any numbers from this. I don’t know why I don’t. But in some countries, they made an opt out instead of opt in. Yes, they did that here they are. Yeah. So I don’t I guess you don’t remember the statistics on it. But it was significant, right? So if you opt in, it’s really, really difficult because people will forget it. It doesn’t have any immediate impact on the life, but actually it does not because it’s something that will take effect when you die. And so instead in some countries like the UK, they inverted it. So now you have to opt out. So by default, you’re signed out to donate your organs if you die in an accident so that someone else can get it and it’s absolutely amazing. The difference there is because now you made the you made it the resistance or the The difficulty lies in opting out instead of opting in. You have these mechanisms that you can work with. So when you’re trying to nudge when you Trying to understand how do I nudge people? Then you have to understand all of the choices they have. And they have to figure out, what’s the best like do we opt in? Or do we opt out, because both can be nudging. And it doesn’t have to be sludging.

So slouching is when you do the opposite. Right? So now you don’t have the person’s best interest you again, it’s very, very connected to deceptive design. sludging is when, when you, you make the right choice really, really difficult. Right. So again, either opt in or opt out. But your intent is no longer to do what’s best for the user, your intent is to do what’s best for you. So you can say, in many ways, slouching is deceptive design, or it’s a tool to make deceptive design. Here’s an example of of sludging, right? You when someone wants to cancel a subscription to internet subscription to, I can’t think of anything that does really, really bad right now. But but if you want to cancel, it will ask you Do you really want to cancel, and then they will try to come up with some offers or some counter stuff for you to, you know, keep being there. They will try to alter you so that you stay on the subscription, because they know

Martin Whiskin 16:42
that you’ll be missing out on these benefits. Yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:46
So so they’re really, really trying to alter your decision of canceling the subscription by nudging you ever so slightly for each step you have to take. And then they will make it a multi step, you know, options like a choice maze that you have to go through in order to do it, and they would just really slow you down. And like that’s, you can call that deceptive design, but it’s definitely sludging

Martin Whiskin 17:13
does the part. So even after you’ve gone through that process and cancelled it? Do the subsequent sort of emails that say, Oh, look at what you’re missing out on, do you want to renew? does that become part of the like, almost like post sludging? Yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 17:29
yeah, you could say that. Yeah, some would call it nudging. Because now you know, from a company side, there’s like we’re giving the we what’s best for the user. But it’s not it’s lodging, it’s definitely this is this is what’s important to understand about libertarian paternalism, it’s that, you know, you really believe that people should have a free choice, and it’s up to them what they do. And then what you do is you then try to manipulate or guide people in taking the right or the wrong option. So in many ways, you just like, it’s very tied up to deceptive design and the understanding of that.

So I have a story about canceling my gym membership. So because I sit down all day, just as you probably do a lot. Because we work with computers, I have to, I have to do my back exercise, I have to do my exercises to keep my body healthy. And then we have this gym not far from where I live. And that’s where I have my membership. And it’s really, really, really expensive. And they just increased their price. And I’m like, that’s too much, I’m not going to pay that amount of money to go to a gym two to three times a week when I when I don’t feel like running. So I’m gonna cancel. And they made it hard for me to cancel. I could not cancel via email, I could not call them up and cancel, I had to go to the gym in person to cancel that subscription, which is in my eyes illegal, it should not be legal. So that’s a that’s a that’s an example of sludging where you really, really make it difficult and a big hassle for people to cancel the subscription. And they, they they do that on purpose.

Martin Whiskin 19:28
This. There’s an organization in the UK, for I’m not going to name the organization, but I think I’ll strongly hint towards it. It’s for it’s for small businesses to help small businesses and to sign up to that. You get hassled extensively by sales reps. Who can be very aggressive so it’s made out to be that this organization is good for your business which is is, but the method in which they get you to sign up is negative that it makes you feel bad. That makes sense. So the, the outcome is positive, should be positive. But the process of getting there is the example I’m thinking of was when I was going to sign up anyway. But I didn’t know how to do it. So I spoke to one of their sales reps. And he was so he was just a salesman. So he was thinking of his his commission. Yeah. So he wanted me to sign up to make money. So is that sludging or nudging? Because the outcome was still would have been positive, despite that initial aggression?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 20:36
Yeah, so he’s definitely trying to, not you. Also, because he knows that it’s in your own best interest, right? What, what I’m thinking here is, if we go back to the episode about emotional design, is this is where typically organizations and sales organizations, and provision based salary is just really, really bad. Because provision, the game design, or the design of provision based salary, ends up being you thinking about your own permissions and not the company and the experience that you have. So the end result of that kind of behavior is you want it to be a member, you know, you have to be a member. And then when you sign up, you don’t feel that you’re a member. So, so what you end up being, I don’t know how to explain this the easiest, but just think about you know, it when you think about yourself, do you think about I have a membership in this union, or I am a member of this union,

Martin Whiskin 21:45
there was nothing after that I never use the services and and I’m not a member now, because it left such a sour taste in my mouth. But

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 21:53
and that’s, that’s what you want, right? As a company, you really want you want that. I think that’s more in the emotional design toolbox. When it comes to, but definitely there’s some nudging and some, he’s trying to alter your decisions in your choice architecture, right? So so he’s trying to make a choice architecture. And he’s really being aggressive of just pushing you down one of those roads. A place where so we’re talking about that I have a different one. And I promised that I wanted to talk about gym memberships and suicide rates. So So he, I think I just really think that suicide rates is a really, really good example of where you can put in some, some resistance in some of the choice path. So in the past, the EU, the UK, government made some suggestions, so they want it to change the way that that they just saw that there was a lot of suicides in, in young girls, specifically, that would take too many pills and then commit suicide that way. So one of the things they realized was that often this is done in affection. And often it’s done, it’s like suicides are typically done in affection. So what they did was that instead of having big pill glasses, they made blister packs, and they restricted the amount that you could buy. And the reason why they did that was that they were notching, or, you know, they were the mechanic, they were, they were increasing the resistance in some of the past, right. So that if you want it to eat pills and commit suicide, that way, you had to buy, you had to go twice or three times to the store to buy all of the blister packs needed in order to do the deed. And then the blister packs have, you know, the functionality that you have to click them out one at a time. And so you really have time to think about what you’re doing. And so that was introduced, I can’t remember, but I think in 2010, or something, I believe. And it reduced the suicides in the UK, with pills by 43% After 12 years. And that’s just just by doing that, like you know, doing. And so Denmark was seeing this, and they kind of thought, well, you know, you you we want to do something we also want to do something, but that seems to be and that’s where, you know, the liberators like the liberal mindset. It’s like you are free to choose. It’s like it’s not for us to kind of make that decision. And so instead that tried to do campaigns and all sorts of different things in In order to change it, and obviously it didn’t work at all. And then they put this system in inspired by the UK. And two years after it was introduced in Denmark, the suicide rates for for pills was dropped by 59%. So it had like, it’s like an enormous impact on on suicide rates with pills. And so you know, that kind of that, I think I really liked that. And like, even though it’s a very dark topic, it just really puts things in perspective in that you can give people their free choice. And notching is kind of because everyone knows that it’s best for you not to eat all of those pills.

I don’t have, I have one more topic, which is the default options. When you’re designing interfaces and stuff like that. A way of really just nudging is to make default options, the best options, always just make sure that your default system one that you want, or if you want them to choose, like don’t set a default option. Like if you can’t make the best default option, then don’t set a default option. I think that’s my end advice of nudging. And like Do you have any questions or anecdotes?

Martin Whiskin 26:27
Well, I just keep trying to think of going back to I’m gonna skip back some slides here. The Libertarian paternalism parenting Well, while controlling the situations, I’m just thinking about parenting now and how every day, we will be saying things to our children to try and help them on their journey. And as a child, you will have so much of that nudging happening from all different places. So from school, from parents, from grandparents, from older siblings, and all that sort of thing is, I just found it really interesting to make that link with, I’m probably going to be aware now every time I’m saying something to my children. Oh, that’s her nudging.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:11
Yes, yes. You absolutely yeah. And like, I think I really liked that as well, because you want your children to be free and make their own choices. But you also want them to make the choices that’s best for themselves, right? So so you want them to be free to make the right choice that you think. So like going to school and learning to read. They don’t really want to do that. And so you have to kind of constantly, you know, help them understand that it’s, it’s, and the moment they realize how cool it is to read. You see, they start reading every sign and everything. They slightly they get it. I love that moment when they get it. Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 27:52
I’m thinking about how sometimes when I offer different choices for breakfast, where’s your breakfast, don’t know. So then I go into the options, but I tend to sometimes alter the way I say, the different options. So it’ll be D one, you know, this is a terrible exam, because I’d never offer this but chocolate, or Shreddies or something like that. So try to make the best, the better option for them sound better? Yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:21
And so in many ways, mentally you’re making so you’re a choice architect at that moment. And you’re trying to line up the different the different choices and then you’re trying to alter the shortest like the resistance on each of the path between the choices right? By by socially you’re like basically you’re You’re blackmailing your son, or making you feel happy. But you know, he you are indicating what choice would make you happy and so to make you happy, he have to make that choice. Because definitely he knows that chocolate is what there’s

Martin Whiskin 29:00
a whole episode in parenting and nudging. I think there’s so many samples are going through my head.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:09
How to how to use design as a parent, but I use it a lot actually. I have to admit in order to make my my my children’s life the best life that they can

Martin Whiskin 29:19
have beautiful place to end. I think unless you’ve got anything else to say

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:22
I have I have nothing.

Martin Whiskin 29:25
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hidden by design dotnet or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on lingo. Sorenson net, yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:51
Can I say something? No, we love you. I said something anyways,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:55
I’m a bad boy.

S2E11 – Psychological Safety

Respect a whole person, before you expect a whole person! Let me start by killing a misconspetion about Psychological safety.

There is no “Kumbaya” over it, and it does not mean that there will be no conflicts. In fact, Psychologica Safety is about handling conflicts in a constructive way. Its about fostering intelectual disagreements and using them, and its about avoiding personal attacks which are unconstructive.

By fostering Psychological Safety, you can increase productivity, innovation, good designs and so much more. You will be able to have great days at work, and you will end up bringing.. not only your hands and brains to work, but also your heart.


The Fearless organization

The 4 stages of Psychological Safety

The Creative Collective

You should listen to these episodes as well

S2E10 – Creativity

S1E5 – Flow


The whole conversation transcribed if you would like to read it all

Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden By Design

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn now the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
And we should start recording now you’re

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
Not recording you’re ready with the new episodes. And this episode is going to be about psychological safety. It’s is one of my favorites, like as a leader. And so, in my day to day job, I’m leading a design team. And psychological safety is one of my biggest tools that I’ve tried to use. It’s also one of the most important things that’s happening in modern leadership, I would say. So the headline or the sub title of this episode is respecting the whole person before expecting the whole person. And and I think a lot of companies kind of expect people to be engaged fully and wholly engaged in work. But at the same time, they don’t respect that whole person. And I think that’s, that’s kind of the topic of today. What we’re going to learn today, Martin, yes. Do you have something to say?

Martin Whiskin 0:20
I was gonna let the listeners know that this is a true hidden by design episode that, to be honest, the teacher and the student who knows absolute or sick? I think I know nothing about this topic.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:32
Yeah? we’ll see about that.

Martin Whiskin 1:34
It might be something that I realize is a thing, without having ever had a name put to it. At the moment, yeah, I’m in the dark,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:43
when we reach the four stages of psychological safety, I will guarantee that you can at least recognize because that’s why I have it there is because it’s it’s something that is recognizable. And that that is easy to relate to, for most people. So today, Martin, you will learn what psychological safety is as a concept. And and through that, I’m going to tell a story about hospitals about Google, and how that relates to that concept, we’re going to talk a little bit about how it’s going to affect your ability to being creative, and innovative. So we talked about creativity, I think it was last time, right? And and then you’ll teach, I’ll teach you about silence. And how being silent is being safe.

Martin Whiskin 2:33

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:34
and why that is wrong at a workplace. So with those words, one of the one who is the person who, who, I would say popular pop popularized, popularized, made psychological safety, a popular popular thing or really brought attention to it. She wrote a book called The fearless organization and she’s called Amy Edmondson

Martin Whiskin 3:04
that was a seamless link seamless, on to the quote of the day and wonder who it’s by. So the quote of the day today is psychological safety is the shared belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. And that was Amy Edmondson.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:04
And and that in a nutshell, well, that’s a wrap of this episode. Thank you for listening. So that is that’s that’s the definition of I would say the definition of psychological safety

Martin Whiskin 3:41
is the is this linked with the giving feedback episode,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:46
It’s also linked with the giving feedback. So So and I guess, it’s linked to creativity, it’s linked to giving and receiving feedback, it’s linked to all of these different ways of being a creative person doing design. In general, if you’re working in a team, together with other people, psychological safety is fundamental for how you perform. And if you think back to school, for example, and you were in a team of other people, you would always say it’s like, there’s a slacker there’s, you know, initiated this. So so that that’s, there’s always a dynamic in these groups. And psychological safety is about explain any, it’s about explaining this dynamic and how to improve it or make it so that everyone is engaged in that group. So it already starts, you know, making it popular starts with the hospital. So, Amy, I’m pretty sure it was Amy No All those of us who get a doubt, but she did some, she did some research on hospitals, she was investigating error and mistakes and hospitals. The beginning of that is that she’s looking at some numbers, she’s looking at mistakes on hospitals, and she’s looking at people coming back to the hospitals or dying after operations or So taking a look at the hospital, and all of them mistakes that’s reported, and all of the errors that actually comes in. And she have a very interesting finding, which is, at one hospital, the errors and mistakes are sky high. So they just make a lot of mistakes to look at a lot of errors, the they have a lot of, of reported incidents of things that’s happening. If you then look at it, though, the amount of people who die or come back after operations or have missed treatments, or, you know, complaints, it’s absolutely low, there’s almost nothing, then you go to the other hospital, and it has no errors and no mistakes, nothing is being done wrong. Everything is just perfect. However, the rate of people dying, coming back complaining, all of that after operations is sky high. And then she looks at these numbers. And she’s that looks weird, right? How can the hospital that makes most mistakes, have the best service and vice versa. And so what you found was that on the hospitals that have high rates of mistakes, it was not because they made more mistakes in the hospital, you could even speculate that they make less mistakes. What they did was that they had a culture where it was allowed to speak about mistakes, which meant that they wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. So they had a culture where everyone was enabled and encouraged to speak up when they saw something wrong. And that meant that the service as a whole kind of went down. Whereas the other one which was driven by fear, and Hiroki. You know when a nurse would tell a doctor, are you sure that’s the right medication, then she would be silenced. And, and that kind of was the end of that story. Right? Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 7:45
this this makes me think of when I was at school. So I was at a grammar school for the last years of my education. And that wasn’t I wasn’t being big headed them. But I wasn’t very good at grammar school, I shouldn’t have been there. But but they for people that they thought would file their final exams, they made them pay to be in those exams, in the hope that some people wouldn’t pay to be in those exams. Therefore, the marks would appear to be higher across the board. So if they were silencing the people who perhaps couldn’t afford it or didn’t want to pay, so yeah, that there was a I can feel a similarity. Yes, there. They wasn’t talking to that when talking about the bad results. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:33
And they create fake numbers. And there’s a lot of there’s a lot of deceptive design in that as well. Yeah. That That sounds really bad. Actually. They’re the research from these hospitals, which is similar to, you know, a little bit similar to the school example here is just jump to Google. Not connected yet. Google is making some research and they’re doing some investigation, because what they’re seeing is a pattern of high performing teams, not necessarily being the best people. So you’ll hire someone who is supposed to have many years of experience really talented, you’ve seen that work, they’re really, really good. And you put them in a team with other people of similar trait, right? So a lot of rock stars, you put them in the same room, and then you expect them to do be high performing and doing great assault. And then they just have a lot of these teams and that they look at it and they see well, it’s there’s no correlation. We don’t understand it. But some of the junior teams are performing better than the senior teams. Some of their unlikely teams are performing better than the ones who should be performing right. So they have this thing and they put down a research team and they try to really understand what’s going on. So they’re looking at, you know, social background and looking at necessity, they’re looking at seniority, they’re looking at all of these different things to try to figure out why they can’t figure out why some teams are performing, and some are not. And they really can’t figure it out until one of them reads her research, which concludes that a high psychological safety where the, the collaboration in the team is good. That’s where you get high performance and everything clicks for these people. And so they made a report afterwards, Google made a report about how the construction of team and is psychological safe environment in those teams. Like the main indicates, like, that’s the main thing that will make a team perform is if that internal psychological safety in that team is there. And that is, as the quote indicates, right? That is daring to speak up.

So if you look at the human mind, or the human, as a psychic in an Indian, as an individual, the subtitle was the whole human. So what’s the whole human that you bring to work? That’s your hands, it’s your brains, and it’s your heart, right? So you have these three components. And, and I can go to work with only my hands everyday, I can go in, I can sit down, I can meet on time, and I can do the practical work that needs to get done. If I don’t need to think I don’t need to believe in it or like it, I can do it still. Right, then you have the brains is that you start thinking about reflecting about it. And you do what’s right. And you think ahead and you make plans for the work that you do. And then this heart is, I think that the end of it is are you proud of what you do? When you’re at a party? Do you talk about your work, and you feel proud of it. It’s like that’s when your heart is there. And you know that you’re kind of engaged in a different way. Now, if you have a fear driven environment, where you have like a very dominant person on the team, or very dominant leader, who knows everything, and will scold you, if you say something wrong, from a psychological point of view, it’s easier to be silent, even if you know that it’s going to impact a lot of people. But if you see something wrong, that’s just, you know, a very aggressive leader is scolding something, and you know that it’s not that person’s fault, or you know that it’s not in that environment, you’re not going to speak up, you’re just going to watch because you’re protecting yourself. And so that’s why when you start having these environment where someone has taken charge, in a unfortunate way, you will start having, you know, unfortunate, like Silent teams, teams where they’re waiting for someone, specifically the leader, to come up and set a direction so that they can use their hand and maybe their brains, but not their hearts in the work that they do. And so if you want to have innovation, and creativity that’s like that lies in the hearts, hearts and brains, right? So if you don’t engage that, it’s like, I don’t know, is it starting to make sense?

Martin Whiskin 13:55
Yeah. So I was trying to compare it to what I do now to when I was employed. And that was very much hands and brains. There wasn’t I wasn’t passionate about it or anything like that. There was no I think I’ve said on a previous episode, I was the only person who knew how to do that.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:13

Martin Whiskin 14:14
So no one could really get get involved. But yeah, it was I was dealing with, with data, and there’s only so much passion that I could have for data.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:27
I’m telling you once in a while,

Martin Whiskin 14:30
but like but now because it’s my thing, you know, what I’m doing is very creative. And I’m my own boss. It’s, you know, there’s so much more excitement and and love for it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:40
And that shines through right? That shines through that you’re proud of what you do, and you really like it. And I think in the end, it’s instead of going from being compliant, like you do what the job tells you to do, to being committed meaning you’ll think of and that’s really what cycle logical safety is about is like going from compliance to commitment to, to being proud of what you do, and to just have the whole human, the whole person is there. And so in the end, that’s, that’s it right, you want to respect the whole, you want to respect the whole person, before you expect the whole person. And as a company, that’s, that’s really, really important to understand.

So that brings us to the four stages of psychological safety, I really, really like this, there’s a book called the four stages of psychological safety, if it’s like a practical guide, and how you do this. I like it a lot, because it’s, it’s short, and it’s concrete. So the four stages of psychological safety is inclusions safety, learners safety, contribution safety and challengers safety. So he split up the, the way that the group dynamic works into these four stages. You know, you could say that there’s a fifth state, which is exclusion, which is before inclusion. So it’s kind of it’s like a staircase, right? So you can’t have learner safety before you have inclusion, safety, and you can’t have contributor safety before you have learner safety. And you can’t have challenger safety, before you have contribution safety. When you look at when you’re looking at them, inclusion, safety, that’s the first part of it. So that’s the most fundamental, if you don’t feel included in a group, if you don’t feel like a member of it, you’re you’re unable to contribute or do anything in that group, right. So if you don’t feel as part of a company, or part of a group, or part of a community, or a group, it’s like there’s no ground for you to to participate, really, then you will be truly just hands, right, you’re just waiting for everyone else to do their thing. And if you think back to school, that’s typically what happened to the person who was not contributing, being late for everything and just not wanting, they were also not part of the group, and why that person was not there being late, everyone else will be back talking that person, right. And, and that made that person excluded, which meant that they didn’t have any motivation, or any respect from the group, as an individual. And obviously, it goes two ways, right? There’s nothing worse than being in the group with, with a person that don’t contribute, right. So. So it’s a two way thing. It’s not just one, the group doesn’t have to be inclusive. On at all, you know, at the cost of the group is like it’s a two way thing. But talking about it and just, you know, speaking about it is. So inclusion, safety is the foundation, that’s a fundamental that just needs to be in place for you to be in a being in a place where people actually starts. So the next step in the four stages, or the next stage is to learn a safety. Learner safety is it’s that moment where you dare to ask the stupid question.

Martin Whiskin 18:30
I’ve written that down. There are no stupid questions.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:32
Exactly. And that’s so so and that’s, that’s it. That’s learners safety. It’s every one of the team, everyone in the group should be able to ask the stupid question. And, and not be afraid of it, because this is what happens inside of you. Right? DOJ asked a question and risk being humiliated and made fun off, because it’s a stupid question, or do I just stay silent?

Martin Whiskin 19:04
I think there’s still people that that don’t ask the questions, even when that is put to them. There are no stupid question, they’ll still be sort of concerned about their own embarrassment. Yes, and saying something.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:17
And that’s because they don’t feel safe in that group. Right. They’re not think about it, right? The people who don’t if you’re at a conference, and or a big audience, right, and it’s being asked, Do you have questions? How many people in there do you think have questions and how many of those questions are being asked? Sometimes you will hear, you know, questions that are obviously there because they just want to break that awkward silence and so one was, but it’s it’s really, really fearful. It’s it’s a, it’s a it’s a brave act to ask a question in a in a, in a gathering of a lot of People, but it’s also a brave task to ask in a smaller group where you’re not really part of the group yet, right? So you’re asking these questions, and is to fear. It’s the fear of being stupid and humiliated, and being left outside and just thinking that everyone else thinks that I’m an idiot now. So that’s the second stage of psychological safety. And, and this is where you can it’s like, there’s this thing as a leadership, right? If, if you if you start punishing people from asking these questions, I usually say it’s like punishing people, for making mistakes. Is, is not teaching them to not make mistakes, it teaches them to hide the mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes, right? And so we go back to the hospitals, it’s like, if you punish people from making mistakes, you will teach them to hide it. And you won’t solve anything. And I think that that comes in here. And as a leader, you have to just really, really make sure that, that you catch people, and that you let them know that you’re going to catch them if they fall. Like if they ask that, that question is, no one will, will will do you any harm, right? Because you want those questions, specifically, if you want to be creative, and specifically, if you want high performing teams, and have a good culture, you need that safety. So now we’re in in, you know, the learners safety, which is you’re safe to learn, you’re safe to ask questions, you’re safe to, to be stupid for a moment, you’re ready for all of that. Then you go to the next stage, which is contribution safety, or contributor, safety. And it’s, it’s like one step further is do your dare sharing ideas. So one thing is asking a question, and feeling safe to learn. Another one is to ask the stupid questions. And and, and so we’re at a point where not only asking the question, but coming with a contribution to the team. You know, that moment where someone says, What if we did something different? What if we, what if we could do it? Could we solve the problem this way? Or what if we did things? Yeah. And that, that requires either a very strong team, with a lot of psychological, psychological safety is basically you daring to do that. And the last stage, at the very, very top of the pyramid here, or this stairwell, is to challenger safety. And I think the challenge of safety step is really where things fall in place. As a leader, this is where I am, I’m, I’m looking at my team, and I’m just waiting for them to do this. And the challenge of safety is that they challenge the status quo, the challenge, what we did, and always have done the challenge how things are done? And say, I don’t understand this, maybe we should do it differently, or are you sure this is the right way? And they do this to the authority of the group, which is the leader. So whenever someone on my team says, to me, Thorbjørn, you sure? This seems like not the best idea? Then Then I get really, really happy, not because they’re trying to shoot down my ideas. But because I know that they are now reflecting upon the visions or the strategy or whatever it is that I’m putting up. And they say, We don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense to us. And for me, that’s important information, because maybe I’m just sitting in my ivory tower making strategies that no one that’s not in this, like, that’s not in line with, with with this like reality. And EPA, it’s really difficult. And so if you think about all of this, is that that each situation, when you’re in your family, you’re probably at the very top of the stage, right? You can talk to your wife about anything you can, you can really so in that group, you’re safe. At The Creative Collective, maybe the things are different for some people, right? And then when you’re in a big crowd, it’s again different. So each group have a different dynamic. It and it takes work to kind of get. I don’t know, like, I hope this all makes sense, right?

Martin Whiskin 25:06
Yeah. And you can really see that I was making notes all through that. And you can really see that when you start talking about the Challenger safety, yes, how that can’t exist with the other things. And it’s almost like a growing of confidence as you get through the stages because of the environment that you’re in. But you can’t chat, you wouldn’t challenge the status quo. If you were scared to say something.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:30
Yes, exactly.

Martin Whiskin 25:31
That Yeah. So like the step and not having it like a set of stairs? The analogy was really good, really helpful, I think.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:39
Because that because then you start thinking about, right how, like, where are we on these stages? And what can we do to get to the next stage, right? Is everyone included? Because if you want to innovate, any want to be creative, as a team, you need everyone to ask questions, you need everyone to contribute. And specifically, if you want to, to create something new and progressive, you typically will put innovation into defensive innovation and aggressive innovate innovation, right? So defensive, is everyone else is doing this. And we have to come up with a solution fast to solve this, right. So we have to be innovative of because, you know, otherwise, we will the company will die, right? Or I’ll lose my job. And so you become in this defensive innovation mode. And you can get to that point in the contribution, safety space, right? Everyone chipped in with ideas. But to be aggressively innovative, meaning changing things on the market change making new things, you need to go to the challenge of safety, because there will always be someone on the team that will say, Well, this is the way that we did it all all the time, right. And if that person is the one in power, who knows how things are supposed to be done, you have the problem, you will have the problem of not being able to do that, because not everyone can contribute. And then you will have the, you know, freak accident of luck, where, or where, you know, the leader will get a good idea, and everyone will get behind it. But it’s yeah.

Martin Whiskin 27:33
Is sometimes it’s easier for an outside party to challenge the status quo. So the example that I’m thinking of, I’ve got a colleague who makes videos, yeah. And she, she was trying to work with some estate agents. And quite a lot of them are quite receptive. But also, we’ve already got videos, you know, especially she met this one guy who, you know, is an old school estate agent. So it’s very sort of traditional, didn’t believe in videos. And then she tried to, he was very, very adamant. They didn’t want videos, we’ve never had videos before. We’ve done fine, you know, for 40 years, why would we need them now sort of thing? And then she sort of started talking about his competitors or using videos and what how it could further the business? So is it easier for someone who is who doesn’t provide that safe environment to hear it from someone who’s not connected to the business? Do you think?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:35
That’s a really good question, Martin. So first, I was thinking about like, someone coming from the outside with authority, right? I’m being paid to be here and come with suggestions. So the relationship is already different in that, that, if we go back to the episode about creativity, we know that connecting different domains and fields and knowledge about other things is where creativity comes from. And I would say it’s like in when I was in design school, we had a session with something called Visual Communication, which is basically marketing. Right? It’s like all graphical design and marketing, I would say. He, the teacher there said something really, really clever. And it says when you do a good job, as a, as a person who is doing a logo or doing a poster or doing something for a client. You are not as a designer, the one who comes up with the ideas. You’re not the one who should tell the client how to do things. You have to get the client to understand things. And so if you walk away from a client and the client thinking I could have done that without the designer, this was too easy. Then as a designer, you did a good job, right? So taking your example of, of the person who’s coming in and saying you need to do videos, and if the person saying, well, we didn’t never did videos before, then you’re, you’re saying, Yeah, it’s a good. I’m talking my way through this, Martin, I’m sorry.

Martin Whiskin 30:22
No excuse is good,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:24
because it’s a difficult question. Because you’re, you’re, basically, you’re basically taking an outside person that’s not included. That’s not in a learner safety. They have some authority and some professionalism in the way that they handle themself. And they know they’re hired, because no one else know anything about this. And therefore, I’m here as an authority. And the right way of handling that is to ask a question, so that people understand why they need to change, not to tell them to change, if that makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 30:57
Yeah, which, which is what what she what she was doing is trying to make them see, you know, the value behind it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:03
And in that case, like psychological safety is then is needed. If you go in and someone is just screaming at us, like shut up, I don’t need you here, then you have some work to do in building confidence and building, building. And typically the way that you will see people doing this, like really professional people will first of all, they will be kind, right, they will, they will buy people to trust. And second, they will ask some questions, they will start asking questions to to show the other person that I’m here to learn. Right? Then once I started asking these, this, these questions, I’ll contribute. Right, I’ll start actually saying, Well, what if you What are you trying to achieve? And maybe you could do it differently? Right. And then in the end, you have challenge to safety, where you’re challenging the mindset that that person have, but you still have to go through the stages, although a little bit quicker. But the you know, you can’t change someone mind. Unless you have that trust, if that makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 32:11

Just before we move on to the I have another one more question before we move on to the next bit. And I’m going to try and form it as as, as I say, so how about when someone has like a self imposed safety, so they just feel comfortable wherever they are? In sort of any situation. So a new guy starts in the office and start giving his opinion on everything straightaway, before he’s even in everyone else’s mind, part of the community part of the group, how does that work? Like, does it end up just annoying everyone, if someone has feels that they’re able to challenge start challenging straightaway,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:02
you will see that that goes really, really fast, that person will be excluded. And so it takes two right so so you can you can speak your ideas. And that’s why the other steps are important, right? Because if you don’t, if the group is not listening, you can come with all of the ideas that you want to but you’re not part like you’re not included in the group. And so you will come with ideas, and the group will talk about you afterwards. And you’ll be excluded. And you will see these posts, like you see this all the time. Where, where someone is being excluded, and they go from being engaged and happy and and then all of a sudden, they kind of just keep to themselves and you don’t hear about like you don’t hear from them anymore. Right. And And typically, those people will be seen as annoying, but really what they’re just trying to do is being part of the group, right? And I think I think it’s, it’s, it’s a good example of, of how that works, right? So my my younger brother works as a, what I call it, he works with children. As a you know, I don’t know what’s called Cats pedagogue is the Danish word for it. I don’t know what the English is. Anyways, so he said something really clever, which is the best thing you can give a child is positive attention. The next best thing you can give a child is negative attention. And the worst thing you can give a child is no attention. Which is why you know, parents would phones just read read pet. Because basically you’re ignoring your children, right? So so you have these three steps and these three steps also work in a community. So in order to be included, if you get some response, you’re included, right? So if you can’t get the positive then you will see these people that are desperate for attension, they will start saying stuff that, that gives them negative attention because at least then someone is talking to them if they’re being ignored, that’s The sure way of really making people excluded really, really fast.

Martin Whiskin 35:19
Which moves us to part two? So I’ve just had it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:24
Yeah, we need to actually wrap it up, Martin. I think we’re there. Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 35:28
that was that’s that’s in part literally what you’ve what you’ve just spoken about the ignoring is worse than skull.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:34
Yes, absolutely.

Martin Whiskin 35:35
And that’s so true. So true. And

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:37
and you will see that in children like your worst the same with children as with with adults. You you see the kids, it was absolutely amazing. So I’m not saying I was doing a lot of bad stuff. As a child, I was a good kid,

Martin Whiskin 35:55
Really? Well, you I’ve heard the stories,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:03
you will see these these dynamics of, of children being really, really bad, right. And typically, it’s for lack of attention. If your parents don’t see you, you will, if they don’t see you and give you positive attention, you will start making a lot of trouble. And I remember like, I was never hit by my best friend was like, he got a beating. Whenever we did something bad, he will get a beating and I will be sent to my room. And I always wanted to get a beating like him. Because the the, the thing that I had to deal with was being isolated and think about what I’ve done. And you know, the whole ignoring thing is like you were ignoring you for a period of time. And just getting the beating was way, it’s like I could hear him playing on the street like minutes later, because he just got slapped, and then out to play again, right. And I was lying in my room just listening to him. A lot of the things we did, and a lot of the bad things you do is to get that attention. So my younger brother and me didn’t get along very well as like when we were kids. And he would try to get my attention by doing bad stuff. Because I was just ignoring him because he was annoying little brother, right? So you see these dynamics everywhere, people being ignored, they really want to be part of the group, that they do annoying stuff, because it’s better to be seen that not seen, right? And if I can get the positive attention, bullying starts, it’s like, all of these things comes from this, this dynamic. So can you think of any situations where? Wait a minute, like, Alright, so there’s one thing we didn’t talk about. And that’s like, let’s discuss the last one. So in the psychological safe environment, one of the things that we want to see is intellectual friction instead of social friction. We’re talking about all of these things, where an intellectual friction means that we disagree on something on a professional plane. And we try to get so psychological safety doesn’t mean that everyone is happy, easy, go play the guitar, it means that we’re safe to have a very aggressive argument about stuff. But the aggressive argument doesn’t, it doesn’t become a personal argument. It becomes an argument about what should we do? And where are we going? Right. I hope that makes sense. Because we didn’t actually talk about that.

Martin Whiskin 38:45
Yeah, I think that’s that, for me, that’s pretty straightforward.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:49
So yeah, so intellectual friction, that is that we can have an argument that we say is like, these are uncomfortable topics to talk about, but I feel safe enough to talk about it. And I think what we’re doing right now is really, really stupid. And here’s why. Anyone have anything to say to that. Right. And so now you’re going into the territory of having candidates and constructive very, at times, aggressive conversations. That does not mean that the individuals are being scolded or personally attacked. Right. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s part of that’s part of the, the the place where you will see that psychological safety is in places when you can have good constructive conversations that will be heated, but without anyone feeling left out or hurt personally, I don’t know. Like, if, if, if there’s anything more to say that I can’t right now, I can’t actually think of any examples of where that happens. Except like it return. In small as a leader, it’s it’s kind of difficult to know when it happens. I burned myself many times in this, because in my head, I felt that everyone was safe. And then I realized afterwards that my authority as a person dictates otherwise. Right? So, so I did so many, as a leader, you will constantly do this. Because you think you’re feel safe, then you have the feeling that everyone else feels safe. I don’t know if that makes sense. And so as an authority, it’s like as an authority in a team, you have to be really, really careful. This is why leaders should talk last, it’s why you have all of these things where we’re as an authority, if you set the tone in the room, you can you kill the psychological safety immediately, by just saying, This is what we’re going to do. And then no one actually gets to, to say anything, because you already dictated it. And because you’re the most authoritative person in the room, your work goes right. And then it becomes easier for everyone to just follow along and be silent. If that makes sense. I don’t know. Like, have you been in situation where you had some really good intellectual friction?

Martin Whiskin 41:23
I was trying to think back when I guess my time in bands would be learned and songwriting would be that, but I have a strong feeling that there wasn’t challenges safe. Because again, I think I’ve mentioned it in a previous episode when I when I had written a song and brought it to Banbridge. So I was very sort of possessive and passionate about that being the right version of that song, because I spent so long forming it. Yeah. So yeah. So looking back now I was a bad leader. Not not having like the so there was inclusion safety, I think, yeah, because we were part of part of that group. But I think the other the other stages were probably a bit a bit blurry. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:12
Yeah. And it’s kind of it is blurry. Most of the time, just like any, you can go up and down those stairs, it’s like you can say something as a leader that it will immediately put everyone down the staircase. The moment you scold someone, you just teach everyone to cover up their mistakes. Because they don’t want to risk that humiliation being scolded in front of others, man, that will just, you know, silence you. And when you bring something, it’s like your songs, I guess that’s a good example. What you’re really looking for is feedback. That’s what you’re asking for. When you get that feedback you feel personally attacked. And I think that’s, that is in the feedback episode. We talk a little bit about being personally attacked. We talk about episode 10 episode, episode. That’s, that’s that’s the that’s less this episode. Yeah. But I guess that’s a wrap. Martin, I think I hope that you learned all of the things that we set out to learn today is what psychological safety is in a nutshell, and how it affects your ability to be creative and innovative. And then use like spotting when people start becoming silent. That’s, that’s kind of bad. And then the four stages of psychological safety. In the shownotes, I’ll put some links to the books and, and things that you can read about, which is really good. Do you have some ending questions?

Martin Whiskin 43:45
Just a statement, I guess, like, I’m trying to relate a lot of this to, like, you mentioned the Creative Collective earlier and the group that I’m sort of CO run. And I think we, we think that we’re a safe environment. And I know that, you know, there are definitely people in there that they say that place feels like home to them. And it’s a you know, a proper, proper community. But I’m sure that there’s others in there who are quieter than others, maybe they just just not as as confident as some other people in those situations. But this has certainly given me food for thought. To make sure everything is as it should be in that group.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 44:26
I’ll put in the show notes, actually some some, some concrete, there’s some concrete tools where you can where you can measure psychological safety in a group, I’ll try to see if we can find some of those questionnaires and I’ll put it in the show notes and then then you can then you can try that out to just get a feel for it because sometimes you you feel that you have it should say but then you don’t actually have it up in at work. For example. I always use the word fight. Let’s fight about This and and I think maybe that’s, that’s that’s been a bad strategy when you’re in a psychological safe environment. Everyone understands the joke. I’ll just say I’ll fight you to the death on this topic. And then sometimes that will silence people. And I don’t notice it until someone else tells me you know, you just killed the wife with challenging some someone to a duel to to the death about a topic. They thought you were going to kill them. I’m not I’m a pacifist. I don’t believe in violence. Anyways, that’s it for this episode. Thank you.

Martin Whiskin 45:45
See you next time.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 45:46
See you next time.

Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us hidden by design. dotnet. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on Lingard Sorenson net. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please, as well. Thank you.

Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 46:16

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:17
We love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

S2E10 – Creativity

Creativity is not just something someone is. Creativity is something that you can be, and train yourself to be.

How can I do this, you might ask yourself! Well, you can start by listening to this episode of Hidden By Design, were we will describe what creativity is, and secondly.. and maybe for some more importantly. The Hidden By Designs three step guide to being creative. (Poorly performed by Martin and Mr. T)

Step 1. Be curious. Find ways to be inspired, and map this out, so you have dots to connect.
Step 2. Connect the dots. Focus on the problem, while trying to find ways to connect the dots. This can take time.
Step 3. Express your thoughts. In writing, drawing, dancing, get feedback or any other way you prefere to express yourself. And then you repeat, you go back to step one.

But, you should really just listen to the episode instead of reading this!


Hidden By Design – Affordances

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention – Summary of the Book

Hidden By Design – Gestalt


Read the entire conversation here

Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to Hidden By Design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden By Design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:11
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjorn. Now, the podcast starts and we should start recording now you’re not recording.

So today we’re going to talk about creativity. And I, I put a little bit of an Easter egg in for you. I didn’t …

Martin Whiskin 0:33

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:34
But there’s two Quotes Of The Day and you have to pick. It’s kind of like a Sophie’s Choice.

Martin Whiskin 0:40
Okay, can I am I allowed to assess them? Or do I have to just pick without looking

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:45
that’s up to you, that’s up to you. But But today, today, Martin, you will learn what creativity is, you will also learn what the differences between innovation and creativity. Because these words are being used everywhere, right? It’s like ya have to be creative, and you have to be innovative. And what’s the difference really.

So you will learn also how to be creative and get creative thoughts. And then you, then I’m going to give you the hidden by design three Step Guide to Becoming creative, or being creative, I guess, not becoming being amazing. Yeah. And then, in the end, I hope that we can end up with talking about what clouds can teach us about creativity. And, and so many, so many good things. Is is coming your way.

Martin Whiskin 1:41
I can tell you’re excited.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:44
I’m very, very, is. It’s a It’s, um, it’s like, it’s an amazing topic. And it’s like in the end it kinda

I guess, without stealing too much of the show. It one of the

one of the things that’s deep inside of most of us, I believe, at least in me, like whatever you struggle with, in life, the joy of creating something, like for the sake of creating something, I tend to be, you know,

sometimes the inner Thorbjørn, wants to sit in a basement by himself and just create stuff that he doesn’t show to anyone. Because the fear of showing it this is not nice. And so if you could do this podcast as an example, just the two of us never share it with

Martin Whiskin 2:43
Should have said that in the beginning.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:45
So so but you know, in the word creative lies creates. And I think that’s why it’s so amazing, right? And all we do is as designers, and as creative people, this is create stuff. And I think that’s, that’s it. So now, I think I opened the lid a little bit, but not too much.

Martin Whiskin 3:13
Let’s do the quote of the day, I’m gonna pick the first one, because it’s longer and it gives me more airtime

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:25
is that because it showed you your air time, the less like when I do the transcripts?

Martin Whiskin 3:32
I forgot about that. So creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun. And that is Mary Lou Cook,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:47
Which is an actress from the 20s I think not 2000 and 20s.

I have to get used to that the 1920s. So be hearing that and thinking about that I have like I have a question for you. What do you when I say creativity? What? What does it mean to you?

Martin Whiskin 4:10
This is really interesting for me because I didn’t realize or ever really think about being a creative. And it wasn’t until maybe a year or 18 months ago, I was having a chat with someone. They said do you realize that you’ve always been a creative person or someone who creates stuff. I’ve never analyzed it or thought about it because up until a few years ago, I was employed in a full time position in an office and my hobbies were hobbies yet one was making music. One was photography. And I would do posters and websites and all that sort of stuff for the the bands that I was in mainly. And I see realize that you’ve always done creative things. But because I was employed, I thought that was me. Yeah, that was my thing. I was a worker in the rat race with everyone else. And that’s what I did. But looking back, I’ve thought like you as touching on at the beginning, I’ve always had, or felt the need to be making something

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:27

Martin Whiskin 5:28
whether it’s a song, a photo, and then the editing stage. And now I’m in the great position to be getting paid for doing something creative. And I’m making voices, editing those voices, putting them with music sometimes. And I’m scratching that itch every day. And because it’s my profession, the switch has flipped now, for me,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:55
That’s very nice. That’s very, that’s a very, very nice explanation. what creativity is to you. And so what if I told you that creativity doesn’t exist?

Martin Whiskin 6:07
I’ve also thought this as well. I think, I think it’s, it’s a label to explain, like I said, I think the word make for me is better because creativity has I that’s really creative personnel that’s really creative. That has connotations associated with it of, and this isn’t my opinion, but something that that looks or performs excellently. But creativity can be of any standard, I think, yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 6:42
So and this is interesting. So when I think of, or at least in the past, when I’ve been thinking about creativity, for me, it was creating something new and novel. Right? So you think of a creative person, and you think about a person who is capable of just, you know, create something you didn’t think of right? And I guess that’s, that’s, that’s the second quote, we didn’t. We didn’t touch upon. And so so if you look at creativity from a, from a scientific point of view, it’s, it’s, it’s really it is creating something and it is creating something new. It’s like something you came up with. Right? It just that goes into your definition of well, that when you create something, it’s something you came up with, you’re not just copying what someone else is doing directly.

Martin Whiskin 7:43

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:44
Then the question from a scientific view would be how do you come up with these new things that no one thought about before. And then the second quote was Albert Einstein, which was “Creativity is, seeing what others see and thinking what no one else thought.” And that really also frames it. So So I think the two quotes together kind of really, really encapsulates everything right? Is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, having fun, and then seeing what everyone else is seeing, and then thinking different thoughts. So if you hold on to that kind of idea, then I think we I can’t remember there was like one episode where we’re talking about the cave. I can’t remember his name.

Martin Whiskin 8:38
That was season one, episode nine.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:41
Remember his name? The cave? It wasn’t that episode.

Martin Whiskin 8:44
I just wanted to sound clever.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:48
You really had me impressed there for a moment. But we’re talking about this is like, if you sit in a cave and don’t experience like don’t have any experiences, then, you know, the world that you see, and you create stuff from and your understanding of your surroundings. I think it was affordances actually, is is limited. So that was season one, episode two.

I’m not sure. I’m not sure

Martin Whiskin 9:16
I wasn’t even close.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:18
Anyways, so the idea that you can come up with something from nothing. And I think that’s what people tend to have this idea. It’s like he’s creative. He’s like, how did he came up with that idea? But actually, if you can I cut it down, is like creativity is bringing something new into existence. That that has value. Because if someone sits in a basement and don’t share it with anyone, they’re not creative. They’re just, you know, doing stuff. But the idea that you can create something new out of nothing is is kind of. It’s kind of interesting, because you can’t. And so what typically happens when you see creative people is that they were inspired by stuff, right? So you see this, you see this slide, you see people being able to connect things in different ways that creates something new. The set, does that make sense?

Martin Whiskin 10:22
Yeah, I always go back to the using writing music as an example.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 10:28

Martin Whiskin 10:29
Like, learn. You can learn guitar you can be you could be shown how to play guitar without ever hearing any songs ever. Yeah, it would be weird that you’ve never heard any music. But I think all all musicians are a product of their environment. And this is this probably the same for all, all things that you’ve just been saying. So any music that I’ve ever listened to? is in me somewhere in my memories, and that comes out in the music that I create or use to create? You would never say, Yeah, I’m, I copy such and such a band. I think that because, well, first of all, you’re not allowed to. But I think you can take styles and things. But as I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I’ve always used that the example of music. If you’ve been in a cave, never heard music, and were given a guitar or shown how to play guitar, would you be able to write a song?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 11:34
I know where you’re going with this? Because I can answer that question as well. And, and so you’re in luck.

So So that’s, that’s kind of interesting, right? So if you talk about music, I saw a program, a documentary about music a few years ago, where they were kind of, they were interviewing people who had brain damage, and then all of a sudden lost their sense of rhythm. Right. And these were musicians, so it was kind of a hard blow. And but what it kind of showed is that all humans is this is part of the reasons why we enjoy music so much is that we are born and live, we are lying in the womb, we have this womb womb. And this is why when you like when you hear calming music, it typically is close to on heartbeats, right? That will calm you down the rates. And so we all have this sense of rhythm. And one of the theories or ideas at least was that sense of rhythm come from that point. And so they interest they were very interested in seeing is like, when is the first child born by a woman who have a mechanical heart that doesn’t go, womb womb And will they also have this joy and sense of rhythm? Or will that not be there, right? So there was a very, very interesting things. So when you talk about music, would that person be able to? Well, if it was, the child was born by a lady, they would probably have some sort of theoretically at least sense of because they that’s the input, that’s the only input they would have. But nothing else, right. And so but that that is really so when you’re talking about music, if you think about looking at the music industry, and looking at all the music that comes out, then you will, you will hear about all of these are these artists copy this one, and this start and intro is the exact same as this one. And there’s some slight amazing stories about different bands making almost identical songs, but in different places where they actually didn’t see each other. And you see this thing also when parents gets children. And I think they’re always so creative, by giving their child a unique name. And then 20 years later, you find out that all of the parents of that area had the same unique idea, right? So you’re kind of starting to see that pattern. And also, when you think of like, if you look at music and naming and all of that being creative, is the key word that that I kind of mentioned before, but its value. So you create something. So creativity is you create something, it’s new, or a new constellation of old ideas or things that you pick up from the world. And it has value. So you have these three things, and it has to have value, right? So if you invent a boot but instead of putting it on your feet, you put it on your hands, right? creative idea, or is it because it doesn’t have value to anyone you just have boots on your hands? Right? Some would call them gloves and maybe that is a good idea. I just absolutely could not come up with an idea that just doesn’t have value. Right so but but but yeah.

I just invented gloves Martin, without really realizing

Martin Whiskin 15:02
nice, well done.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 15:05
And the cool thing about boots on your hands is that also they will keep you as well. Like, and you can do dishes, you know, in hot water without burning yourself. If it’s like if they’re made of rubber, man,

Martin Whiskin 15:19
if you were climbing a mountain and you fell down the mountain, you just end up walking down tumbling, but walking with your hands and feet at the same time. i

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 15:29
Yeah, exactly. So I guess, I guess I’m ruining my point here.

My girlfriend, my wife, my first wife, my ex girlfriend.

We went to a classical concert. And it was, let’s just say modern, and it was two hours of disharmonies it was progressive, I have to say, but it was absolutely horrific. And my, my girlfriend got physically ill, like she felt bad from listening to it. And we were kinda like, it’s like, It can’t go on like this, that harmonies must come at a moment, right. And to me, that is like, and that’s the second part of it. It’s it was new, it was progressive. It was not creative in my mind, because it had no value. It was just noises and sounds disharmonies. And it felt horrible to listen to. So it was not. But you had a lot of people sitting and clapping in their hands as they should. But I was not clapping because it was kind of a poor, like it felt. It was an experience. I don’t know if that’s a good idea. But you are, it’s like you’d see this all the time, like people come up with great ideas that are not really great. They have no value, and no one can use them. And it’s just ugly music, or it’s like that doesn’t sound good. Or paintings that doesn’t work or designs. That doesn’t work. Right? It’s like, if it doesn’t have value is not creative. So so how do we it’s like so, you know, if you go to the area of novelty, right? Just something being novel doesn’t mean that it’s creative. Just just like just means that it’s new or different. But to be truly creative. It has to be valuable, it has to carry some sort of value. And then maybe it doesn’t carry value to everyone. The classical concert. Apparently someone liked it. I did not. So you could put that in if you really wanted to. I doubt that anyone liked it. But you know, that’s just me. But but you have like, these are the things and the idea that something is novel doesn’t mean that it’s creative, but it can’t be this. Does it make sense? I’m a kind of out on attention.

Martin Whiskin 18:03
Yes. And for some reason, I was trying to think of something that you would say, oh, that’s novel, isn’t it? And the only thing the only sort of stuff I could come up with was like, you know, you can buy like practical jokes. And like, for example, a fake poo.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:21
Oh, yeah.

Martin Whiskin 18:22
On the floor. And some go, oh, that’s quite novel. And it doesn’t really have any value. Unless, you know, unless you take the value from that being tricking someone or perhaps making someone laugh. But in terms of it being able to provide a service, I guess, is where I’m where I’m thinking. It doesn’t do anything. It’s just and Poo exists and jokes exist is just a

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:51
Yeah, but you put poo together and a joke together, and you give it to a five year old or three year old. And to them it has value,

Martin Whiskin 19:00
True, a bad example.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:02
But it’s no it’s a good example, because it kind of shows that, that creativity is not just like when you create something, it doesn’t have to be for everyone. It has to be for someone, right? It’s just that’s when you design or you do your voiceover. It’s like it’s it you need to know who is it for because it needs to create value for those specific and then you want to create something new and you base that on things that you already know. And then you create these connections

so in kinda, the scientific world about creativity, you we split things up into something called domains and fields, right. And so to domain is an area like music is an area, my area is games an area like a domain, right? So you have all of these physics is a domain mathematics is a domain, chemistry is a domain. So you have these domains of knowledge, different domains of knowledge. And inside of each of these domains, you have fields.

Right. So, you know, in physics you have quantum physics in actually, you could say entertainment is a domain, and then music is a field and inside of that you have jazz, metal, pop, punk, you have all of these, you know, categories. So, so when you look at it from a big picture, you know, people tend to have the idea that what you create, and being creative about have to be something you can see and feel and smell, right. But it doesn’t. So a programmer can be very creative about the, how they do their code. If you invent Slyke,

Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity is very creative, but you can’t see it. Right. And so one of the things that you see throughout, when people are very creative or create something that has to carry the value for the many, that is seen as new and inventive, right? Then, then typically, it comes from cross domain knowledge and cross field knowledge is, you see something from a different area, or you understand something new or, and and, and you pull something from a place that no one saw you pulling it from, and you use it as inspiration in your own domain and field to create something new. And if that new novel thing had value, it’s Creative.

Martin Whiskin 22:07
So there’s something in there, the cross, almost like the crossbreeding of things, yes, I used to write a lot of jokes. And that’s exactly what you do. There you have your idea or, or even just a word that you want to get into a joke. And you split it off into a diagram with lots of different ideas around it. And you look for things that are related to that original idea. But different, yes. On the outsides. And that’s how you you create a new joke.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 22:37
Yeah, exactly. And there’s observational jokes. And there’s like the punch line. And I think it’s like what you will see in a lot of people that you consider creative, you will see a curiosity as well, right? Because, because that’s kind of like the essence of if you put yourself in your domain, and never get outside a door, you’re creativity will kinda narrow in. So what you will see in, in creativity and creative people is they typically have a curiosity about the world and everything, right? So you put anything in front of a creative person, and they go like, Oh, that’s interesting. Tell me more. And you get the sense of right. So when you were talking before, and you said, it’s like, you were explaining how other people is telling you that you are creative, because you never considered yourself a creative person, that the story you told was all of these different things from different domains and fields within like a specific areas. It just like that, to me was what showed that Martin is a creative person. Not that you wrote music alone, but you dislike doing joke and photography, as you’re kind of mixing websites, you’re doing all of these different things, learning how things work.

And then you combine that into being able to create something new. Right.


Martin Whiskin 24:11
Just Just quickly on, on that, creating something new. Something that I have realized, since being self employed and having meeting lots of different people through different businesses, is you could be talking to, you might think that you haven’t got anything in common or you could never work with someone who is really far removed from what you do. And that’s really not true, because I’ve got a client who I edit her podcast, and we’ve been working together for a couple of nearly nearly two years now. And she works in end of life care. So when people are dying, that’s what she knows about.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:51
That’s an aggressive trade.

Martin Whiskin 24:53
Wow, is that it’s a heavy podcast to edit. Let’s put it that way.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:57
What’s the podcast called?

Martin Whiskin 24:58
It’s called conversations about advanced care planning, and it’s just about preparing for the end of life basically, you know, that’s a transaction there is I, I had her podcast and the other day, we actually came up with an idea for a voice over artist, and an end of life care planner to produce something together. And I think that’s exactly what you’ve been talking about domains and fields crossing over. And until you have conversations with people, sometimes you might, you might never think about those and never shut off a conversation with someone you think, might not be worth chatting to.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:30
Exactly. And, and, and even, it’s like, even one step deeper is the curiosity about it. Right? So your curiosity about what she’s doing. And, and a genuine, I can’t say that, well, how do you say genuine,

Martin Whiskin 25:45

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:46

Martin Whiskin 25:47

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:47
genuine, like, I learned something about English today, genuine, ginger ale interest in, in that other field and in that other domain with the purpose and intent of learning something new, right? And so, there’s, there’s an old, there’s an old saying, that often gets cut off, right? It’s what is it now? No, master of none,

Martin Whiskin 26:17
Jack of all trades, master of none,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 26:19
exactly, jack of all trades, master of none. And then the rest of the saying has always been cut off. But the whole thing is, it’s better to be Jack of all trades and master of none than being the master of one. And so it’s kind of funny, because that that wording is like, it tells you something about how if you’re in a big corporation, and and you have to work with a very small area of expertise, right? You become an artist or you become you know, someone who does one thing and you get specialized in it, then in that job, I believe that that you have a responsibility of as a human being of being curious about everything else. Because if you specialize, yes, you become very, very good at it. But you lose your creativity. I don’t know if that makes sense.


Martin Whiskin 27:14
Yes. And I’m, I really liked that. Because there’s always talk about niching. In business, yeah, and whether you should do that or not, or be open to other stuff. And I’ve always liked the idea of being open

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:30

Martin Whiskin 27:31
to other things.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:32
And that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a niche product, and kind of really go into that you’re just like, if you want it to be, if you want it to be creative, you have to kind of think and look outside for inspiration. In order to go there.

I’ll just I’ll explain the difference between because now we didn’t talk about innovation yet. And so because that kind of gets mixed up with, with creativity. And I guess that like, just to explain the word is when when you are creative, and you do it with a purpose of making money off it. In many ways, that’s innovation, right? So you have a business side to creativity. So the intent of of being creative and creative, something new, is to make money. And so that’s why you typically see a company as innovative. But you are not.

Right. But if you have the intent, you know, and the company if your company creates something new, that’s an innovation, right? Does it make sense?

Martin Whiskin 28:44

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:46
So So, and that means that innovation also comes from teams of people. Because it’s a team is like it’s a team effort. It’s a company who does something. And so so but in the essence and the core of it, it’s the same thing. It’s just one have a business side, and the other one doesn’t really typically.

Martin Whiskin 29:05
So does that mean when a band writes a song, so there’s rather than just one song, right? Or there’s like three or four people doing it? Does that make that innovative?


Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:17
If they create, like if they so if, let’s just let’s play with that idea. So So here’s my opinion about it at least. So you have a band, it’s three members, they’re working on a piece of music together. So here’s different routes that they can go, they can make a track or a song. That’s like all of the other songs that they made slightly different rhythms, slightly different, you know, beat different lyrics, obviously. And then you have a new song. In some sense. There’s nothing new to that, right. It’s not really being creative. You’re just writing a song and With the intent of, of making money, right, and you can say that there’s levels of creativity, like the lyrics, you’re picking that out from somewhere. Again, if you’re singing a love song in a country, it’s like, if you’re a country western singer, and you’re saving a long song, Love Song, about your pickup truck. And you know, your girl, you know,

Martin Whiskin 30:26
I’m glad you added girl on the end there because the love story between a guy in a pickup truck and actually, I’ve seen photos. I thought that’s where he was going with it. Don’t Don’t Google that, by the way,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:46
no, don’t google it, it will scar you.

Martin Whiskin 30:50
Very odd.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:52
So the thing is, right. So if the band have to be creative, they have to look, they have to look outside, the they have to look outside their sphere or their know, their domain or their field of music, to come up with something creative, in you know, in that music that they’re making, right? Doing something new and creative.

Right, then their innovation is like they create a new audience with a new style, something new, right?

Martin Whiskin 32:31
A new way of making the new sound?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 32:33
Yeah. So an example would be the introduction of techno right before that, you’d only have acoustic instruments, like instruments, you didn’t have electronic. And so all of a sudden, someone creates electronics. And, and and you have the, what is it called the one that that can measure wavelengths and it makes sounds, and someone who makes music things I’d make sounds, can I use that for something? And they take it and they put it into their music, right? And then the whole shangre of electronic music was created. But there was something someone who did it first, because they took something new that no one thought about before. Everyone knew it was there. It’s been there for you know, I can’t remember 50 years or something. And they just realized, wow, this makes sounds, let’s put it in right

Martin Whiskin 33:31
on this path. I actually saw a clip just before we started recording about the, I guess you would call them an electronic metal prodigy.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:41
Oh, yeah.

Martin Whiskin 33:41
And those breaking down one of their songs. And I guess they felt kind of fresh and new at the time when they were coming out because they were like a band, almost. But they had lots of members doing stuff. Not all of them did stuff. They just moved around on stage and whatever. But he was saying in this song, there’s like, I think it was seven, seven or eight different samples from previous songs to make this new sound. So how does that work? If if the band is using bits of pre old songs, to create something seemingly new,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 34:18
so if they are kind of, you know, some of the first that do that they came up with that idea, and it creates value for some, right? So I could imagine that you pick something from an old song that everyone knows and you put it in your new song. And so it creates some sort of recognizability. And since you’re doing it with electronics, it’s like it’s it’s creative. I think what I’m trying to say is creativity is subjective, right? So you can feel that you’re creative, but it doesn’t if no one thinks that it adds value. It’s not. So so there’s this this idea that creativity is not in a person, it’s between the person and society. It’s like the people around you, that dictates if it is right, because then otherwise we’re back to the boots on the hands. Or, you know, copying someone and presenting it in a new was like it’s, it’s you have to. It’s like it’s a it’s a creative dance like it’s a collaboration between people and and the creator.

Martin Whiskin 35:30
Do we need to move to Chapter Two?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:32
Oh, we absolutely do. But you need to read line three.

Martin Whiskin 35:37

You are so smart T, tell me the difference between divergent and convergent.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:55
Oh, I’m so happy you asked.

So so. So to anyone’s listening, if anyone is listening, we have typically a script and a document of notes that we share. And I put this line in for Martin to read to me.


Martin Whiskin 36:19
Well, I think script makes it sound too rigid.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:22
We are Yeah, no, that’s notes it’s

Martin Whiskin 36:26
the bit about the the guy in his pickup truck was definitely not scripted.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:31
Divergent means thinking outwards, it means opening up and collecting inspiration. Inspiration, right. So this is what we’re talking about, when we’re talking about looking at being broad and curious. It’s being divergent. And that’s part of the creative process.

Now convergent means you kind of close down and you start the creative process, you create something. So So and these two, and I think they’re very important. And in a moment, when we get to the three step guide to being creative. These two are very, very important to understand. Because it means that you sometimes have to open up and sometimes you have to narrow down, right? And just think about it like a wave that just goes open up, narrow down, open up narrowed down, right?

So if we go to chapter two, which is about how to be creative, then we have that three step guide. So step number one, oh, wait,

Martin Whiskin 37:41
I was just gonna say step one.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 37:44
All right, let’s do this. So Hidden By Designs, three step guide to being creative.

Step one,

Be curious. Find ways to be inspired, and map this out so that you have dots to connect some things. That’s it, sorry, you have to

Martin Whiskin 38:05
Step two,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:06
Connect the dots, honing in on the probe problem, and look at the dots process. And understand, sometimes doing nothing, like walking or something can’t be the thing to do in the second step. Taking a walk, not just walking, but just like go for a walk without disturbances and stuff.

Martin Whiskin 38:27
Step three,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:28
Express your thoughts in writing and drawing, dance, get feedback, and then you repeat, you go back to step one.

So we’re, like getting that little bit of a mess out of the way is the first step is being curious. That’s the divergent thinking in, in how you and so. So I think I did explain the dots. Clearly, the, the Being creative is connecting the dots between the different domains and fields, right. So you understand something and then the creative process is connecting these things. And you can say each of these knowledges will be a.so. If you look at this as a canvas of different dots and everything, every time you learn something new every time you get inspired everything, like every time you collect some information, you put it on that Canvas as dots in the different domains and feels i’ll upload an image for the episode so you kind of get that where I have a drawing. Now, the first one is to be curious and create as many dots on that Canvas as possible. Anything you know anything like even if you connect two dots from two domains, you put that on that board. It’s like one method that’s popular is brainstorm. Right? You can do that in a group or by yourself a mind mapping or whatever. But it’s kind of a good way of mapping up and remembering all of the things that you know, and is inspired by. So that’s a physical way of doing it. But you can also just do it in your head and go around and just being inspired like picking up and learning things, watching movies, go to museums, is like watch videos about tractors and engineering, like anything goes right, as long as you’re in that mode that you’re collecting and being curious and understanding new domains, right.

The second is, be convergent, like and narrow down and connect the dots actually connect the dots, see if you can find connections between these things. Is Like, is there a connection between playing the flute with your nose, and tractor engines? Right, maybe you can find that connection. Maybe there’s some talents in there that you can use, right? And so classically, you know, you need to sleep you need to be well rested. And part of that being convergent is maybe just going for a walk, reflecting upon it, or thinking about or not thinking about it. And sometimes you will get that moment of realization is like, Ah, very, if I did this, right. And so the the being converting can be also kind of it’s being silent and being reflective and connecting the dots. And then the third one, and this is why, for example, I’m not good at drawing, because my purpose of just like, let me just rephrase that. I don’t draw beautiful pictures, because that’s not my intent of drawing, my intent of drawing is to be able to explain myself, and to explain ideas and concepts. So I draw every day to keep that skill up so that I quickly can sketch out ideas. So part of my creative process is drawing. So I draw, I express my thoughts a draw, like a write down my ideas, or the connections are made in in that convergence. So I don’t forget it. I draw it make drawings, that explains it. And then once that drawing is, is is there, I show it to someone. I say, alright, this idea. This is new, you know, how do you see it? Do you see value in it? Do you understand it? And then people go, Ooh, I don’t understand it. Or maybe they go like, Oh, wow, that’s great, right? And then you go back to the first step again.

And you go, all right, let me just draw a lot of new dots. And at some point, you get to that moment with people say, Wow, man, and so if you go back to the music thing, right. So you collect information, you go around, you listen to sounds, you do cool, you investigate you listen to poems, you, you observe yourself, because you want to write a personal song, you do all of that stuff, it’s part of the the divergent step one. And then the second one, you actually sit down and you try to connect these things, and you, you walk around and your, your thoughts get and then in the end, you write your first piece, right, you were right, the first version of that song and go like, there’s something missing, you go back to step one, and you kind of express yourself. And so that’s a three step guide. And you probably recognize this from you know, design thinking or other people trying to express or explain what creative creativity is, like, how to be how to invent and be innovative and all of that stuff. Right. So, so I guess that was three step guide, clumsily presented by Martin and Mr. T.

Martin Whiskin 43:52
Who put my name first make me sound like a bad one.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 44:02
Skill, luck, talent, being naive, all of this kind of, you know, so the question comes up, do I need to be smart or talent? It’s like what’s, what’s talent and creativity? Can you have a talent for music as an example? Or do I have to be a how do we approach it? And so that’s where naivety is like naivety comes in right? is, when you’re curious? In my mind, being naive is a good approach. Thinking that just like just believing everything you see understanding it because it doesn’t need to be true for you to be creative. So entering a field or domain that you don’t know and talking to people. It’s like having that naive, blue eyed kind of approach to is like, Ah, it’s like new curious word world. And then obviously be

I hope that makes sense. Because it’s it’s not a bad thing. It’s just not a necessity for being creative. Obviously, you have to have some sort of intellect that enables you to understand different fields and understand what people and typically having a broad interest will bring you kind of that knowledge and make you knowledgeable and enable you to create these dots. I hope this kind of makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 46:37
Yeah, for the talented parsing, there’s sort of two ways I’m thinking about that. Yeah. Because you could be a really, really talented guitarist, for example, but unable to write your own stuff.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:49
Yeah. And that’s about specialization, I believe. Right. So you can be talented because you really, really practiced and practiced and practiced as you have the technique. But you never bothered to kind of explore that other area. If that makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 47:04

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:05
So So you have that, you know, being talented. And I think that’s why the, you know, the music, the music part we talked about earlier, right? If I was born by a woman with a mechanical heart, would I be able to understand a beat? Like, would that calm me down? I would that slight would that? Would I associate with that? If if I wasn’t born by a real woman, if I was born in a, in a laboratory, would that Miss? Would I miss that? Talent? Right? And so because you you just like you meet people in your life, do you think oh, that person is tone deaf? They simply don’t have the talent, right? And we’re back to nature and nurture, right? Where does it come from?

So then to end this up, so because I promised that in the beginning is like what do clouds have? Right? What can clouds teach us about creativity? And, and I think I think that’s, that, to me, kind of sums it all up, right? Because when you’re lying there, it’s like, just imagine you’re laying on a field, grass flowers, and it’s a blue sky with fluffy clouds on it. And you’re looking at these clouds, and you see if you can see patterns in it. It goes a little bit back to you know, Gestalt and all of these rules for how we perceive the world. But what happens is that if you look at a cloud and it looks like a dragon, you go, look, it looks like a dragon. And the people around you will be able to see that dragon because they can draw the same reference. But you saw it and they didn’t, right, because you connected the dots, you kind of looked at the shape and you go that looks like that. And another person might see a rabbit. And when they say that’s a rabbit, they’re connecting the dots from you know, an abstract form and, and putting it into something real. So, so you have this thing if someone then says look a submarine and everyone that goes like, you know, there’s no submarine. No one can See it right? Then you’re kind of in the abyss like the area of bizar that doesn’t have value no one can see and connect the dots. And so you can use that like looking at clouds looking at shapes, looking at different things to train your creative mind as well.

I don’t know. It’s like this played out differently in my head Martin.

Martin Whiskin 50:20
Did it sound better in your head? I liked that because it made me think about how clouds are always changing, as well. So you can see new things. Connect connecting different dots all the time.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 50:35
Exactly. Exactly.

And I guess that’s it. Martin

Martin Whiskin 50:41
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 50:44
Today, you learn the difference between innovation and creativity. You learn to how to be creative through and get through to thoughts. And you know, the three step guide to becoming creative, absolutely amazing. Three step guide, right. And then, in the end, what clouds could teach us about creativity? I don’t know the clouds thing didn’t come out as I expected it to. I’m sorry.

Martin Whiskin 51:14
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hiddenbydesign.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on Ling God Sorenson net. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review, please, as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 51:41
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 51:42

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 51:42
we love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

S2E9 – Design and AI

There is a lot of talk about AI these days. And when it comes to Design and Creatives, there is a lot of fear that AI will come to take our jobs. At Hidden By Design we believe that AI wont take your job. But if you dont start working with AI then Designers who work with AI will take your job.

In this episode we talk about the Turning test. You will also learn what Large Language Models and Generative AI is, and how it is used. And a bunch more.

So buckle in, and have fun in this Episode of Hidden by Design.

Fun little quizz here at the end. How many times does Martin and I say the phrase Chat GTP..PTG..GPT wrong?


The Turning Test

1984 George Orwell

Deceptive Design

Large Language Models


Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden by design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn, the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
you’re not recording? So will you take this slide? And I’ll take the next one.

Martin Whiskin 0:26
So yeah, well, you haven’t written this bit down, but I will I ad lib. Welcome to hidden by design, podcast about design for everyone. And today’s episode is season two, Episode Nine, artificial intelligence. Is it really smart?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:45
I don’t. I don’t know. I wrote smart. But maybe it should be. Is it really intelligent, I think just realized that that

Martin Whiskin 0:55
artificial intelligence, is it really intelligent. So?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:58
So we’re going to get an answer to that today? We’re also going to learn about the Turing test, Turing Turing test.

Martin Whiskin 1:08
I think it’s Turing

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:10
Turing test. Yeah. So so we’re gonna learn about the Turing test by a guy called Allan Turing. We’re going to learn a little bit about what neural networks is large language models, machine learning generative AI, I’m going to try to kind of cover what these things are. We’re gonna learn who Eliza was. That’s, that’s yeah. And then we’re going to just like go through things that AI is good at and bad at. And then in the end, or at some point, at least, in the conversation, we’re going to talk about losing our jobs as designers as voice actors, I’m pretty sure that you already now heard about, you know, Natural Readers. And

Martin Whiskin 1:58
Yes, yeah, there’s a huge thing at the minute in the voice overwhelmed, or the AI voice is going to kill everyone’s career. And no, is the answer. In shorts? Good. Yeah. There’s there’s a lot of people who are sort

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:15
of like, Are you sure Martin?

Martin Whiskin 2:18
I, at least, at least into I don’t need it anymore. Yeah, so so most of the people that I’ve spoken to people who make videos and that sort of thing, they’re still heavily on board with real voices. Because they understand the benefit of, you know, true human connection.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:36
So so I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to have an opinion about that later. Because I’m seeing stuff as well, in just like every places, but I also like so I think that would be an interesting discussion, actually.

Anyway, should we do the quote of the day?

Martin Whiskin 3:04
Yes, let’s do that. Okay, so the quote of the day for today, the question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim. And that is from Edgar W. Dijkstra. A Dutch computer scientist. That immediately makes you think that quote, does, can you hook that up for us to the to the topic of AI, because it’s feels like this is maybe a few decades old? This this quote.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:41
it is very old, but so is, you know, the whole idea of artificial intelligence, and I have colleagues, it’s like, really, really tell like, the smartest people I know, like, one of my big heroes is an engineer and my colleague, and and when you ask him about it, he goes, like, AI just a buzzword. It’s like tomorrow, it’s going to be because this is this is technology that haven’t really developed, from a technical point of view, for the last, you know, 50 years, or, you know, it’s like for a very, very long time. And I think it’s like in a 1950s. That’s where the Turing test was kind of constructed. And it ties into this intelligence, because the argument here is that it’s not really intelligent. And I think that’s one of the key points. So if you look at why it’s up these days, and why it’s bussing, like it is, and everyone is talking about it, is the big change isn’t in technology, and and how it does this, the big change is accessibility. So with chat, GTP it all of a sudden became available to everyone. And not only available, but available in a workflow in a way that everyone could actually use it and understand it. So so so these are things that just goes way, way back. And Allan turr, Turing was kind of just like, it’s the same time as Lysa, which is the first chat bots. That was that was like so the the first it was it was made, or created in 196..4 or 5 or something like that. And so it’s like, it was a chatbot that was made us a psych psychotherapist, I think therapist, a psychologist, I can’t remember the difference, but just you know, you decide which one it is. So it was kind of constructet so that it could give you answer, and it could give you answer that felt human like. And so what Alan Turing did was he said, you know, can, can a machine imitate a human to a degree, where you as the one who’s reading, it can’t tell the difference between a machine and a human. So, so you’re having this conversation with a chatbot. And if you’re unable to see who’s who. So the the, the Turing test is where you put a computer, and a human into different rooms. And then you have a second human who’s then chatting with both the computer and the human. And he has to guess who is who? And so that’s the Turing test. And it’s simply to say, right, can we get a computer to imitate a human and a way and connection? So I think some of them was, you know, it’s only with written text, but one of the first is, like, guessed the gender of the person you’re talking to. And so a computer doesn’t have a gender, but, you know, and so you would kind of make these tests and you would try to, to get it to, to do this things. And, and Eliza kind of was like back in the day, because you would just have a prompt, and you would ask a question, and it would answer you. And it felt eerie, it felt really, really strange that you were you were talking to, to a machine. But the technology, if you talk about that, it’s like all of these things, where, where, where you have this, which is my colleague, he’s talking about these large language model, and neural networks, machine learning, all of these things where you were basically it does is it looks at a lot of data. And then it tries to predict, like I’m trying to really simplify it, but just imagine that you have a lot of data, a lot of information, a lot of written text, and the machine reads this, analyze it and look at how generally do you construct information? How, how is how is like when you have a word, what word is most likely to be the next word. And so is small scale, easy to understand kind of version of this is your keyboard on your phone, right? So you have this word suggests the next words. So that’s a very small scale version of AI, because it will suggest you the next word like so when you’re sending a text message is going to suggest you the next word, based on the conversations you had in the past. And some of these will, you know, collect data from Facebook Messenger from WhatsApp from, you know, text messages, in order to be able to construct, you know, what’s most likely to be Martin’s next word,

Martin Whiskin 9:12
normally a swear word

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:13
Yes, I also had, where you kind of can’t tell the difference of me, texted with my girl texting with my friends. So it’s basically just looking at a lot of different texts. And then you have human beings like even with these new chat GTP. And you will see this as well. Right? So they’re trying to get information back if the if the if the prediction of what you wanted to know is good or not. Right. So I think in chat GTP in most of these platforms you have is like, does this work or not? Because it needs to know if the translation is good or bad so that it can learn and that’s what machine learning is all about. Right? Is that it’s learning so that the prediction becomes better and better. And I was thinking, it’s like, thinking about how, how this works. I was thinking about a game made many, many years ago, I actually, I made a game with some friends many, many years ago. But there is also another game, which kind of illustrates this principle of machine learning in a nice way, right? So the idea is that you have this shape that’s constructed of multiple shapes, right. And you have some animation, so some gears and the, the, the purpose of the shape is to get from one location to another. And so it can just be a box that rotates, right, and then if it rotates the right way, it will eventually get to the goal, because it’s just a straight line. Now, for every iteration, it’s going to generate a new or two or three variants of that box. And it’s going to attach stuff to it, and it’s going to just do random stuff. And then it’s going to see who crosses to the finish line and who does not cross the finish line. And then it’s going to just remove the ones that don’t cross the finish line and focus on the one that did cross the finish line, and then make small variations of that. And then, you know, out of those, it’s going to look at who crosses the finish line the first and who doesn’t, because some of them would rotate them the other way around. And they would just go away from the so you kind of have this, you know, the machine keeps learning what is the best result. And then with with artificial intelligence, you just scale that up. But just like to go back to the quote of the day, it is like, it’s just as interesting, as is a submarine can swim. Because in many ways, you can say, well, it is swimming, because it’s in water. But it’s a machine. And and in many ways you just it’s like it’s not really it’s not really intelligence is just trying to predict something.

Martin Whiskin 12:22
The way that I saw the quote, or felt the quote was a submarine is performed, or the the result of moving through water is the same. But it’s not swimming. So it’s yet it’s it’s the same, the same thing is happening just not how we know it, I guess ?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 12:44
I think maybe if I can change a word there, from know it to perceive it. Because perception is like that’s everything in this conversation, in my opinion, at least is that the perception of what’s happening? Is is so extremely important. That that what it gives us and that’s like to the answer is artificial, intelligent, intelligent. The answer is just flat out. No, it’s not. Not by a mile, like not by a longshot. But it feels intelligent, right? And you have these you see these conversations around on the internet where they’re posting pictures of, you know, I got it to say this and that feels eerie, right? And it’s not. It just a machine.

Martin Whiskin 13:38
So the eerie thing. There’s an advert that I keep seeing at the minute on tick tock and tick tock is flooded with AI voice so people are using it to read the captions that they put on. And yes, even big brands are using it for their for their adverts. So there’s a store over here called Asda it’s one of the biggest supermarkets here. And the advert. Their adverts have the AI voice. The first thing that it throws me out of the engagement of the advert immediately is the fact that is a very, to me a very wholesome British brand. And it’s an American voice is the first thing. So there’s a disconnect there. But the one that they’re showing at the minute, the text on screen has capitalized the word Asda as it is on the side of their stores. And the AI voice can’t handle it. It can’t it doesn’t read it as as though it sort of says ad or something like that. It doesn’t Asda. And again, that’s one of the first words it says and I’m thinking when I’m watching an advert for Asda, but it can’t even say the word Yeah, as does so I’m thinking about that rather than absorbing the info from the advert

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:51
and and obviously that’s going to be really disliked down the line. That’s going to be that’s going to be be improved upon And I think that’s where generative AI, like. So we have these large language models, we have normal text, and then we have where it generates pictures, and it generates sounds and all sorts of different things, right. And obviously, it’s going to get better. We, we we talked about, I think, like, for me, at least, I think the biggest, the biggest change, or the biggest thing that’s going to happen like so now we’re at this, and that’s part of the buzz. Now we’re in this where everyone is amazed about what it can do, except for the one who already knew that we’ve been able to do this for for more than 60 years, like the difference now is the accessibility and that I can actually use it also, that we have machines that can process more data, right? So it becomes we’re kind of scaling it in a different way, right? It’s no longer just your phone trying to predict the next word, it’s actually processing and giving you big comprehensible answers. But when you look at it, the construction and the sentences, and all of that is still pretty bad. And it will continue to be bad if you ask me, but it will be better, obviously, because it’s it’s learning and not learning in the way that a human being is learning. But it’s it’s being becoming better at predicting what you know, it should do, if that makes sense. And talking about AI in edge, right. So this to me if we talk about the dangers or what what’s happening right now, is there’s so many things I want to say.

Martin Whiskin 16:45
And your summer, if you’re allowed to podcast,

it’s our podcast,

take ownership and take ownership.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:56
So the use of AI in ads, right, this is what I see right now is ads, I’m seeing quantity over quality. I’m seeing ads, responding to ads. It’s like in a moment, you will see I think we’re already seeing it. It’s like it’s generating stuff, and then traffic and then leads. But these are not real leads. These are other people sitting in a marketing department liking your posts, not really realizing it and commenting on and you see this as like LinkedIn is also getting it slowly. Where it’s not, it’s like low quality, we just need to flood the market with low quality advertisement. I don’t see that as a danger, I see that, that I see as a buzz thing that’s going to go away in a moment because it’s not going to create real leads the

Martin Whiskin 17:53
way I guess you could twist it into a danger by being that it will dilute quality. Like you’d spoke about quality, it dilutes that element of people’s campaigns. And the more that you see these poor quality ads, because there’s so many of them, yeah, the more it might become acceptable because it just becomes the norm Yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:20
but so there’s an old term from I can’t remember way back but there’s this term called banner blindness. And, and banner blindness is basically I don’t know if you remember back in the good old warez days right where you were you were trying to download something from the internet and one thing you didn’t know for absolute sure was Do not click the banners and do not click the big red button that says Download Now when you wanted to download something and and the funny thing about this is that our brains and this is where we are actually intelligence is that we can learn things and avoid things like this. And so in the end, the big red button became invisible to us. And you see the same thing with the with the ads and for example Facebook is that they become invisible to us we don’t see them and I believe that the same thing will happen with poor quality AI generated ads.

Martin Whiskin 19:28
That’s really it. So that’s like that’s not machine learning. That’s human learning. We we become immune to them. Wow, that’s really interesting. Because that’s right I completely just flick past most adverts on Facebook for example. Waiting for my friends content that very rarely appears anymore because no one uses Facebook but

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:52
exact Yeah, but but also the amount of ads like so. So Twitter, Tik Tok all of these platforms really, really have to be careful. Because the moment, the moment that you have to flick through too much, right, it becomes a hassle to find your friends. And so machine learning, and artificial intelligence, obviously, we’ll end up in a place where this era, these ads are the ones that people react to. So they will become more and more aggressive, and more and more, you know, you just like click Baity, and I think things what some of these companies are losing sight of is. So we talked about that in deceptive design patterns. So one of the things that were wet, it’s like, because a computer don’t have moral, it doesn’t have ethics, and it doesn’t have you know, it doesn’t have the sense of, of what you know what’s right and wrong. And so if what it’s been set up to do is just to generate as many leads as possible. And there’s like, so the success criteria is people resting on that image, before it goes on, we’re going to see a lot of more clickbaity stuff that that that caters file curiosity, it is like it’s going to be really, really aggressive. I think the result of that is that people will then start leaving these platforms, finding places without ads

Martin Whiskin 21:23
on Tik Tok, what I’ve noticed is that there will be human accounts, who, who get really big, and their accounts grow, you know, incredibly, and then I will see a post of theirs or a video of theirs, and I will stop. And then I’ll realize it’s an ad because the marketing agency has seen this person is now popular and an influencer. So they’re getting them to mix their style of video to become an ad. And that, for me is a really positive thing, because they’re using a human to do it. You know, they’re picking that human because of their success, and they want to buy into that person’s skill of making videos and their brand and that sort of thing. To push their own brand. Yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 22:11
exactly. And so but that’s, that’s about that’s about liking. That’s about the deceptive design, right? Are we pushing this because we are selling and giving value to our customers? Or are we doing this because we want to make money. So we don’t care about how we actually presented we just want? Anyways, I think, I think for me, it’s, it’s interesting, at least, how, how this has been used these days.

Martin Whiskin 22:49
Someone told, and I didn’t research if this was a true fact or not, but that Tik Tok is becoming more popular among the younger generation as a search engine. So they’re looking for information from videos. And of course, if there’s going to be aI videos in there, not always with the correct information. People are going to be learning the wrong things.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:11
Exactly. But I think it’s like, at least I look at my own children. And I see that they are more aware, if you look at it, it’s like our parents generation. Born in, you know, the 40s and 50s. They had this idea that what you see in the news or read in the paper is truth. Right, so if you read it is the truth, then you have our generation who grew up with, you know, more aggressive advertisement, more aggressive, deceptive design, you know, being pushed, and a bigger accessibility to all of this information, where a lot of is bullshit, right? And you still see people from the older generation going on Facebook, and then reading that something that someone wrote and just taking Yes, truth because it’s a written media. Now, our kids generation, they know that when they reference Facebook or Tik Tok, or any of these medias, no one really is like, you have to have a proper source for you to actually use it for something in a conversation. Does it make sense what I’m saying?

Martin Whiskin 24:28
Yeah, there was a huge thing during there’s a DJ over here, who’s he’s also an author, and he’s written about stuff like this, where during the pandemic, there was a lot of people posting stuff on Facebook, like, Oh, my, my aunt, Mabel said that COVID isn’t real when it was just aliens implanting microchips in our fingernails, and because that was written down, people were believing it and there was this whole movement of people who were like it was conspiracy theories, basically. But I really, really believe that stuff.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:02
Yeah. And I think there’s a moment I hope I really truly hope there’s a movement of being critical of the sources and where you get it from. And with artificial intelligence, it’s more critical than ever. And I don’t want to go into that. But just is there anything else that you would like to know about? Artificial Intelligence, generally? And what is it? I think one term we didn’t talk about was garbage in garbage out.

Martin Whiskin 25:32
Oh, okay. What is garbage in garbage out?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:36
Well, well, I’m glad you asked. So So basically, it is, the whole idea is, and I think that’s what I was trying to get to with with the text messages and predicting the next word. And all of that stuff is that if you feed an AI garbage, it’s going to give you garbage. So because it’s learning based on text, like these large language models is just going to generate text based on the text that it reads. So if you feed it, really really, it’s like untrue stuff, if you feed it garbage, or stuff, like and so I guess this is going to be the date it’s like difficult thing with AI is, is it going to start generating based on what other AI is like, if it’s trawling the internet for information, right. And then you take a lot of blog posts, and the blog is no longer write their own blog posts. And then that information is going to then get fed into the machine. And that means that now you’re actually feeding it garbage that it made itself. And so you have this loop where, you know, and I think that’s, you know, AI talking to Ai, ai generating AI, so if you don’t have proper, written texts, that really, you know, have some, some some some solid content and some truth, what you will get what the machine will write and give back to you is going to be crap, it’s going to be untrue. If you feed it lies, it will tell you lies. Usually, it will tell you, you know, a construction and what it thinks, or what not thinks, but what it kind of predicts that you need to know. And that can be just like a true ally. And that’s why you know, search engines, I would guess that they are under pressure, because you can ask them, like ask chat GTP about something. And then, in the end, ask, Can you give me some real sources so that I can see opposing views and stuff remain

Martin Whiskin 27:47
critical? Exactly. saying Yeah. And it reminds me of, have you read 1984 George Orwell?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:54

Martin Whiskin 27:54
So there’s a bit in there, where they they are told to edit history. So they have to remove all references in books and papers and things about past events in history, that might damage the image of the government now, but the changing of history. So when you’re when AI is giving you stuff learn from AI, it gets fit, you know, the the factual content could potentially get thinner and thinner and thinner each time. And I’ve certainly had instances where I’ve asked a chat, chat GBT, about something. And it’s given me events and places and things that never even happened. Yeah. Because it’s found found it somewhere. Yes. And taken that as its gospel. And that’s the worry, I think that it will change into, you know, history will be forgotten will be changed will be edited. And people will start to believe the wrong thing. So yeah, just stay critical and check your findings.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:54
Yeah. I think there’s, there’s this, there’s this, I can’t remember who said it. But there’s this quote about who wins the war, like when two countries are in war with each other. The one who wins the war is not necessarily, you know, the ones who succeed on the battlefield, the one who wins the war is the one who decide what gets written into history books afterwards. Because that’s going to be the truth in the future. And I think that’s very much like to the point of what you’re talking about. And the reference to this book is the one who writes the one who writes history are the ones who actually decides how are we going to reflect on it? And that’s a real danger, I think, because you have one of the things that that AI is really really good at is is just generating an inspiring and so you can quickly generate posts and conspiracy theories. Like if I want to, if I want to generate 100 tweets about a political course, I can do that. I don’t have to, I don’t have to really do anything other than just generate. And you see that on these different platforms is that people didn’t come up with these things, they just copy paste from chat GPT, and put it in there. And that’s, that’s really, that’s really interesting.

Martin Whiskin 30:32
I’ve used it for, like you say, generating ideas when I’m tight for time, but I don’t use it for, you know, if I’m writing a piece for a video or something, I need it to be me. So I never use it for copy and paste. It’s always heavily edited, or just used for inspiration. So I was like, give me five headers for this topic. And then I will write the, you know, the content. But yes, it’s something that I’m very aware that because I am my business, I am my brand, everything I create needs to be very, very me. I can’t rely on somebody doesn’t yet. give that impression of me. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:23
Yeah. And they won’t like in the end, like, I think we will get to a point where they will be really good at impersonating. And, and going back to, yeah, so going back to Eliza. So Eliza was like, the interesting thing that they found when they had this chatbot was that people would talk to it, they would chat with it. And it was, you know, pretending to be a therapist. And so what he found was that humans were chatting with it would tell Eliza set really, really deep, dark secrets, they will be just like they would they would perceive as like, they would communicate with a computer, and they would tell it stuff that you wouldn’t really normally tell other people. And I think that’s like, if we go back to that whole thing of, of, you know, it’s the perception is perception of the text that you get, is it good or not. And then other people being able to actually, you know, decipher see that this is a machine made it but the moment that you can’t like the Turing test, is the moment you can’t see the difference. It starts getting in sight, that’s when it starts getting interesting. From a from that point of view. But talking about creativity, and talking about emotion, and empathy, and all of that stuff. It cannot do this is that it absolutely cannot do any of this. And there’s, it’s not going to be able to do this. Wouldn’t say ever, but I don’t think that that’s going to happen for the next couple of 1000 years.

Martin Whiskin 33:11
So aren’t Can you answer the question for the listeners? I think they all need to hear the answer for because from what you’ve just said, Should? Should we? Or should creatives be afraid of losing their jobs?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:23
AI will not take your job. AI will not take anyone’s job, however, and I saw this somewhere I can’t remember, I think maybe it was LinkedIn. But AI won’t take your job. But people who uses AI will take your job. So people who uses AI will take people who don’t use this AI as jobs. And that’s going to happen, just as people who didn’t use computer lost the jobs to people could use a computer, right?

Martin Whiskin 33:51
Yeah. So there’s I met a photographer the other day, and she was saying how she’s a wedding photographer. And she was saying how on a wedding shoot, she can take seven or 8000 photos. And she’s got a piece of software now, that will filter out the bad ones. So it will look for things that are out of focus, or if someone’s eyes are sharp, that sort of thing and get rid of those. And that another piece of software that also knows her editing now so it can apply some of the editing before she goes in and does the finishing touches. And she said it saved her hours and hours and hours and hours. Because how could you go through 7000 photos? Oh my god, that would be a nightmare. And it’s the people that are embracing the technology that will keep going

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 34:42
Yes. Yeah. And so so losing your job, NO! Changing your job will change and be different. Yes, definitely. And I think that’s that’s one of the things that that scares people. Because I think deep down everyone kind of knows this right? Well by the weather AI will take over the world and destroy us. Here’s just an interesting, interesting thing is that I think there was like, done this survey and 10% of the people who creates AI and work with AI 10% of these people believe that the end of the world would be caused by AI. And, and so but and this is different than previously, right? So if you look at the dangerous with movies, the dangerous wood books, the dangers of dungeons, and dragons, all of these things were always claims made by people who don’t work with it, and who don’t understand it. Typically, these things come out of ignorance. Now, 10% isn’t really that much. But that’s what’s different. Is that 10% of people who actually knows what this is about, is saying, we have to be careful here. And I think that’s, that’s an interesting, new thing.

Martin Whiskin 36:18
And on that rather joyous note,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:21
oh, no, there’s so much. So But can I just, can I just gonna say what? I have so many notes. So no one would steal a job. Damn, here’s the thing, here’s the thing, what is being used for right now and what it can be useful. And I think this is where I tend to agree with the 10%. And that’s from an ethical, that is the perception of, and, and what I see and what I believe, and how I relate to, to AI and written text, right? Because all of a sudden, we can generate a lot of text. And what we’ve been seeing for the last, I would say 10-15 years is, is politicians using this, to divide populations and to create, to create, like, you know, this thing is you tell the same lie enough times it will become true. And then you see the danger of people believing what they read. You see, if enough people say something, other people will start listening and believing it. And so it’s like, the way that it’s being used by some people, is, in my opinion, very dangerous. Because you can create a lot of content, you can post a lot of stuff very, very fast, that has a very specific political target, and we’ll move things. And if we talk about the end of the world, by AI, then no AI will not, you know, do stuff to end the human race. I simply don’t believe it. But what it might do in the hands like it’s like a weapon, in some sense, in the hands of the wrong. And if we don’t kind of handle that part of it, then I believe that the 10% of people who work with it might be right.

Martin Whiskin 38:31
So what went from a really sour note to end on when went even even darker?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:36
No, no, you have to end on a positive. Because this is really great. Like this is absolutely and as you say, you can use it for inspiration. I can’t. It’s like it’s the AI is so good at, you know, analyzing. So it’s like some things that is really, really good app, you get a medical paper from the hospital. And it tells you all sorts of stuff. And you don’t know or your lawyer, right God, and you get these papers, and you can type into chat TPS, like take this piece of text and tell me what it means like I’m 12 years old. And so it will take these information. If you’re going traveling to a different country, you just because like, please be a travel guide and tell me what’s points of interest in this city. It can be used if you’re a student. And it’s like and I think this is where it’s very interesting as well. There’s there was many, many years ago, this tool called sci-gen was made as a joke in the scientific world to generate scientific paper and it was basically just mumble jumble. But, but people were actually then started using it to create fake papers that they could file because no one was really looking and so you could get a lot of paper and the way that the scientific world is constructed is quantity quality. So the more papers you have on your name, the better it is. So they turn it around, and now they can use it to detect fake papers. And you can use AI to defeat this, like detect fake news. And all of these things are coming and being generated. And so there’s so many great good things that you can use it for, like, inspiration is just absolutely, if you’re stuck in writing an essay, or at school, you can get it to generate interesting stuff that you can dig into so that your, your stuff can get better. And you can be inspired by it. What you don’t want to do is copy paste stuff, right? Because it’s absolutely will probably not be true or good. Or, you know, it’s that’s it’s, it’s bad. So I think it’s like, I really want to end up on a positive note, because I think this development is just absolutely amazing. And we shouldn’t be afraid. We should be aware, I think that that would be my ending note. I’m so sorry. There’s so many things Martin.

Let me just repeat what we learned in this episode, right. So we learned a little bit about the Turing test. We learn about neural networks, language, large language models, machine learning and generative. We didn’t learn about generative AI. But generative AI is, you know, what is used to make pictures and sounds right. Instead of text, we learned about Eliza. And the the chat bot that’s a therapist. We learned some things that AI is good at, and not so good at. And then we learned that we shouldn’t be afraid of losing our jobs to AI. But we should be afraid of losing our jobs to people who use AI. And I think that’s it.

Martin Whiskin 41:53
So use that use AI learn how to use Yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 41:56
learn how to use it. And I had a whole part about prompting, like getting results. But we’ll do that in a different episode in three years when when it’s developed

Martin Whiskin 42:10
when we’ve all lost our jobs.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:11
Do you have any closing words?

Martin Whiskin 42:16
Closing words? Let me think.. Bye!

Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hidden by design.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on lingo. Sorensen net. Yes, got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms as important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:46
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 42:47

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:48
We love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

S2E8 – Design thinking

Design thinking is not a new concept, in fact, some would claim that its more than 80 years old and in the making.

Design thinking is a method to address human needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable manner. But how does it connect with the famous three-step business plan of “1 collect underpants, 2 ….mumble mumble… 3 profit”? (Credits to South Park)

Design thinking takes business seriously, but shifts the focus from profits to people. It emphasizes divergent thinking—opening minds to new ideas—and convergent thinking—narrowing down possibilities.

We talk a bit about: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. The Empathize stage compels us to walk in the user’s shoes, truly understanding their needs. The Define stage crystallizes the problem at hand, determining what needs solving. The Ideation stage, generating a bunch of solution suggestions. Prototyping brings the ideas to life, ready for testing on users, so that we can either build or refine.

Lastly, we talk about the “One Two Four Many” method? and the idea of solutions having to be “Viable, Feasible, Desirable.” For a solution to succeed, it must meet these criteria.


1-2-4-All as talked about





Martin Whiskin 0:03
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden by design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn now, the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now you’re

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
not recording. I’m gonna let you start off the episode.

Martin Whiskin 0:27
Well, thank you very much. today. We are talking about design thinking. And it is a human centered philosophy. And we’re all about the humans, the human connection. So let’s go straight in to the quote of the day. Are you excited about the quote? I am? I like this one. People ignore designs that ignore people. Frank Kimera Camaro chimey. Eero?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:58
Yeah, I think

Martin Whiskin 0:59
Lets called him Frank.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:00
Yeah, I actually don’t know how to say some

Martin Whiskin 1:02
people ignore designs that ignore people. And he is the author of the shape of design are

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:08
how do we start this? How do we start this?

Martin Whiskin 1:13
I was trying to sort of summarize this in my mind, people ignore designs that ignore people. So let’s, let’s start by trying to break down that quote.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:23

Martin Whiskin 1:24
So is there a, is there a design that is out there? That that has to be used, but ignores? People

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:34
Ohhh, so many? It’s like, so so many? It’s absolutely, it’s like you would. Tax system, you have to file your taxes at

Martin Whiskin 1:48
the end, end of episode.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:51
Exactly. So someone had a heart attack. Here in Denmark, we have like, all of this, the school. So if you have children, you have to have get access to this very specific system called Aula. It’s just, and other kind of this, like, there’s some systems set, you have to also at work, right? You have to, if if company policy is you have to work with Microsoft, and teams and all of that stuff, then you have to do that. And so there’s so many applications that you have to use, right? And that that really, really go into if it’s like, if you go back to the quote, right. So when people are forced to use something that they cannot ignore, but they are still being ignored as people that becomes horrible. Like everyone else is like, you know, you know it when you sit in the situation, and, and you have to use something that was really not made for you, but may for a different a different perspective as

Martin Whiskin 3:04
you would we’ve spoken about stuff like that in, like the dark design patterns.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:10

Martin Whiskin 3:10
Like when we were talking about the Amazon homepage? Yes. I feel that that ignores me, because I don’t want to see anything that’s on that, when it’s when it loads up. I just want what I want sort of thing is, yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:21
that’s slightly different. But it just like I would say that it comes from it comes from this way of thinking, right? You think business first you think money first you think all of that before you think about the person that you’re designing for. And so it’s closely related to that, but it doesn’t have to be right, you can have the best of intention. But having this, you know, fundamental misunderstanding of what it is. So if we go back to the idea that it’s like so as I said, at the very beginning, is like this is a different episode, except for the design system episode. This is more about how, how we it’s like everything that we learned everything that we talked about in every episode so far, is how do we actually apply it? Design thinking is how do we actually get practical? And and make something of all of this knowledge? How do we use that knowledge to actually do something? And and this way of thinking just like the human first, the, the, I think it was called designerly thinking in the 50s. There was so many different names for it, but the idea or the understanding that said that this is a good way of actually thinking about things. And then, you know, schools and universities and all sorts of different had different goals at it. And what we thinking about today as design thinking isn’t the same thing as was started in the 50s. But it’s an evolution of that, right. So so it kind of, it kind of kind of evolved from that. What I’m trying to say is when I was I was, I was maybe a little bit later in my design career before I just like before I actually stumbled upon design thinking as a thing. And every time, it’s like before that every time someone was talking about it, it didn’t make sense to me, from the perspective of every strategy, every thought, everything that was people were talking about, in my mind, which is common sense. This is because that’s how, you know, at the design school, we were taught, that’s how we solve problems. That’s how you think about things. That’s how you kind of approach the world. And so I actually I don’t understand, it’s like, I can’t remember us talking about it in the School of Design. And it surprises me a little bit. And maybe I just didn’t, you know, catch on to it, because it felt like such in it as like a natural thing. And so, so but it is super, super important, specifically, or especially if you work in teams with other people. And I forgot your question again, Martin, who knows?

Martin Whiskin 6:26
Do you have another question over? Shall we move on to chapter one?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 6:31

Okay, I’m in chapter one. So design thinking, and just to to kill something that a lot of people think about design thinking they think, Alright, it’s workshops, and post it notes. That’s all it is. And although these can be things, so tools that you can, if the situation is like, invite you to that dance. But that’s not design thinking, you could do design thinking, without any workshop as like, is a human centered philosophy, like it’s a philosophy about humans, and how you create something like this guy, the CEO of a company, who won prizes for being innovative and all like, very, very Tim Brown is his name, he, he, he said this, that design thinking is a method of meeting human needs and desires in a technological feasible, and strategical, viable way. And so he’s, he’s kind of, you know, talking everything into a small sentence that I really liked this sentence, because it kind of sums it up. He talks about cog, cognition, he talks about strategy. And he talks about the whole, you know, method, which is like practical procedures used to design stuff. So design thinking is more method of implementing practical method of implementing or making designs with all of the different things that we talked about so far

Martin Whiskin 8:28
with with the end user in mind, at all. Stages, I’m guessing.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:33
Yeah, you can just like so. And I’ll get to that in a in a, you know, in a minute. Because it’s like, the old way of thinking of the business way of thinking about this is, you know, you have a business, you create a tech solution to a problem, and then profit. And as like, when you look at that it kind of, you know, you, you think about South Park, there’s this episode with the gnomes, right. I don’t know if you ever saw that.

Martin Whiskin 9:05
I have an admission. I have never watched South Park. Never.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:10

Martin Whiskin 9:11
And the reason is, the reason is, because I saw I probably saw a clip of it, you know, years ago, and I just thought those graphics are terrible.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:21

Martin Whiskin 9:21
And that’s the reason. But I suppose that’s part of that’s part of it, isn’t it part of the charm

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:26
that is that there’s really part of it, and it’s like, we can talk about that and creativity and how the story is more important than aesthetic. But the aesthetics of that Southpark really plays a different role, but that’s a different episode. But there’s just one episode where they meet with these garden gnomes, or I don’t know if they’ve just like gnomes in a slight underground cave, and the gnomes have this business plan. And it’s a three step business plan and step one is collect underpants. Step two is and And step three is profit. And it sounds like so many, you know, business plan, step one, collect underpants, step two, step three profit. And, and that’s kind of the normal way of thinking, right? You have you, you think about like how, you know, let’s, let’s find a problem. And then we create a tech solution. And, and when I say tech solution, I really means like, if we go back to the episode about emotional design, thinking, functional design kind of thing, right? It’s like your microwave is like, if you have a microwave or a oven, or a washing this, like anything, is probably created this way where you’re just like someone see, well, you can’t live without it. So we, we find out what are the problems you need to solve, then we have a simple, simple panel that have all of the buttons on it. And then we make it beautiful. And then we ship it, right. And so then as an end user, you stand there. And it’s obvious that all of the problems that you have, is based on that none of the buttons make sense. And in order for you to set the clock, I don’t know if you ever tried to set a clock on an oven, or microwave, it’s like we have, I can’t set the clock in our microwave oven. It’s never been done. And the manual is gone. So I don’t know how to do it. And it’s simply because you solve the problem, you make the design in the manual, the documentation kind of solves the problem, not the product itself. And so you get that kind of it’s not deceptive design, it’s just poor design. Well, it’s no design, right. And design is added as an afterthought of make it look beautiful, which is, you know, as we talked about previously, not design. So then we move on to design thinking. And, and and I wrote in my notes, like in parenthesis ask why. And and that’s because in many ways, right? You, instead of finding a problem, you find a need, right? The human. So the business way is business, create tech solution to a problem, and then profit for business. That’s a way of thinking. And although it’s not completely wrong, it just misses a lot of points, if you want a great create a great experience of good design. Because Design Thinking starts with the human who needs a product, it’s like, I need something that works. And it generates value for me as a human being. And that can generate revenue for the business. Right? So So design thinking is mostly it’s like it’s it doesn’t ignore the business. It actually takes the business very, very serious. But it moves the focus from the business and to the human. If that makes sense, right? So if we go back to the microwave oven, the microwave oven is made so that the business can make money. And we already have all of the factors everything set up. So now we just spit up a new microwave oven without redesigning or rethinking or doing anything, we just make a new model that looks different and have more functionality, higher power, how about like it can do new things? Technically, the solution is better. But from a design perspective, we completely ignored it. Does this make sense? Like

Martin Whiskin 13:38
yeah, I’m thinking that this is something that I can talk to, sort of my business peers about. Because people are always talking about agitate the problem, when you’re trying to sell something, I focus on the problem, but I really liked the idea of changing it to focus on the need. Because it takes it to that closer to the person that you want to buy them and their mindset. And I’ve, you know, over the years, I’ve thought of lots of different in inverted commas, product ideas, or, you know, service ideas without ever really thinking about do people actually need that or just think oh, wow, that’s a cool idea. I’m gonna do it without without thinking about the need of the human but coming into what I’m know what I’m doing now I’m involved with a lot of people who make videos and things like that they’re always talking about, you know, what do you intend for voiceover especially what do you want the human to feel in this situation? And that comes down to a need I guess as well, doesn’t it? What do you need need them to feel it?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:45
Absolutely. Right. And to actually so that ties into the my parentheses, my notes and my notes, right? It’s like asking why. So it doesn’t mean that the problem is bad, was like you you always have i I typically split it into three, right? There’s problems, there’s needs, and there’s desires, right? So, so that’s, that’s kind of things that we can solve for. And typically, if you talk to your client, they will express their problem. They will express the feature that they want, they will express the solution to their own problem. And so in order to get into that need, you ask why, why do you have that problem? Right, so I’m going to cook microwave popcorn. And so just like I have my bag of popcorn. So now I have a problem is that they’re not cooked. So I have a need is like, Why do I have Why do I need to pop these popcorn? Well, I’m gonna watch a movie. And, and I want that snack, right? It’s a desire I have. So but the problem is, how do I get them popped. And the solution to that problem is a microwave oven. Right? So but we’re talking about that need. And if you have to read a manual before, you can actually just pop your popcorn, you’re going to give up on the way it because it’s not the oven was not made for you. It’s like, and so the same thing with your clients, or anyone who have a good idea is you start typically someone will say something about a problem. And what you have to do is find the need. It’s like, why do they why do they have the problem? Why is it important to solve that problem? I don’t know if I’m repeating myself, but why does a problem exist in the first place? And is it really a problem? Sometimes people think that it’s a problem, but it really isn’t. And, and, and sometimes you can just remove stuff instead of adding new things. And, and then that solves a problem because they didn’t really have a problem. The problem was that they had an option that they didn’t need. And now we’re going off track, I guess,

Martin Whiskin 16:56
bring it back, bring it back.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:58
Yeah, bring it back. So design thinking is really about as you just brilliantly, you know, framed here is, is about finding the needs and the desires of, of, of your humans or the people that you design for. And think about revenue as part of that. But understanding that if you don’t bring value to the customer, the moment you bring that value to the user, or the person you’re designing for, that’s when you can really generate a lot of revenue. But you have to think about that in a different way than just saying I want to make revenue, find a problem, do a solution, profit.

So there’s some overall, right, so we talked about how in the 50s, you you already had those movements, and me at design school, it’s just an integrated, integrated way of, of, of of thinking about it, there’s it’s just a natural way of thinking when you come from a design background. So there’s different models, there’s something called the double diamond. And then there’s the something called it’s like just other things, but all of them in common have this idea of something called divergent and convergent thinking. And in reality is like divergent just means if ever, you read that, it’s very fancy words. And usually, I don’t use fancy words. I’m a simple person. So I’m using it now to seem smart, but I’m not. Divergent just means that you’re opening your mind. Like you’re, you’re kind of getting new ideas and you’re trying to understand and and expand, right. And convergent means that you’re closing down on things right. So but generally, you have these different phases emphasize define ideate prototype test, which you can use in any order you like, depending on what problem you’re solving. And so it’s more like design thinking is more of a toolbox more of a kind of way. It’s like it’s a philosophy on how do we actually get to understand the right problem. And so the Double Diamond there’s this, you know, where you have two diamonds and and the idea of the diamond if you just imagine this that the first time it kind of opens up is like Google, Double Diamond design thinking and you will just see a lot of these different ways of expressing it. And there’s no simple single way of doing it. So there’s a lot of different ways of thinking about it. But if you just get that emphasize, define, ideate, prototype test, then you will see all of the variations, but they all kind of go towards the same thing, which is, first we can try to discover what’s the real problem, we ask the why someone says, I have this problem, you ask, Why do you have that problem? What’s the real problem? What’s your need? What is your desire? In this situation? Right? And so, so there, you’re expanding, you’re, you’re, you’re doing divergent thinking. And, and, and then once you kind of map out all of these ideas and thoughts and, and problems, and you try to make sense of it, right? So first, you do quantitative collection of information, just to collect as much, and then you try to make sense of it, which is convergent. Right? And that that is explore all of the information you got. And then you define what is the real need? What’s the real problem? What’s the real desire that we’re solving for? And that part of the Double Diamond, which is the first diamond is designed the right thing? Right, we have to make sure that we’re working on the right thing, the right need. And then the next part of it is, again, we start exploring, on what, you know, what solutions could we have for this, right? So you develop something. And then at the end of that development, you show it to some users to kind of find out? Did we actually solve that? Like, did we do that need, right? And if it didn’t, you go back. And for every step of these, for everything, every method, you can jump to anything other in that, like, if all of a sudden you just like, you’re kinda zoming in on the problem, and you realize, well, we didn’t understand the problem, you just go back, right? So emphasize, the emphasize stage is all about emphasizing with the user, like that is trying to put yourself in, in that person’s shoe, trying to really understand what their need is. And then define is kind of the stage where you, you try to define what is what are we solving? What are we solving, what’s the what’s, what’s the job, we need to what’s the job the person needs to do, right. And then we ideate on different solutions, and ideas on how we could solve that. And then we prototype it, meaning we would test it off on some users, or we create something that can’t be tested, and then we test it on users. And then that feedback is used to then emphasize again, and define and so you kind of have this eternal circle that just goes forever. And the double diamond is one way of doing it. And those these other kind of different things. And you should just look up different methods and and, and ideas on how to do that,

Martin Whiskin 23:19
that for the for the first like the empathize, define ideate prototype and test as as you were breaking that down just a second ago. I was thinking that’s how that’s what I was always seeing a process of people creating something like a TV commercial. And you could, I could almost feel how those would slot into that process. So they think about how they’re, you know, who this TV commercial is going to get. And before that, then they you know, break it down and define it, then come up with different ideas of how to how to frame or how to, you know, what sort of scenarios to use in that TV commercial, what way will best get the message across or engage the people then the prototype stage might be storyboarding, storyboarding it. And then the testing is actually getting it out there to a small audience first, before they expand the regions that they’re going to show it in.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:12
Yes, exactly. And you can even take it further right now. I’m going to come with a horrible example. But you could actually just start with a prototype, you don’t need to technically emphasize to find an idea at first, you can just go straight into as you say, sometimes someone says I have a great idea and you just do it. But then the difference between old business thinking and design thinking is that you have once you have the prototype, you test it off on someone, and you see what generates and then you go back to emphasize. So I think what I’m trying to say is you can start from any of these points, as long as you kind of use all of them as tools in really understanding what it is because you can have something that just pops up in a dream or somewhere, just make it you don’t even know if anyone needs it. And that’s, that’s good enough reason to try to make it but the prototype means you make it fast, you don’t spend a lot of time on making the perfect solution you make just enough so that you can reach back and say, Alright, emphasize you based on this. Does that make sense?

Martin Whiskin 25:29
Oh, absolutely. Because I was going to come back with an example of what you’ve told us in video games before we’d like outside of the podcast? Am I allowed to say Polyspice on this podcast? Or is that classed as advertising? Or you can absolutely save? Yeah, whilst working together for Polspice games. Of course, there was a stage where you was saying. And I know that. For the most part video games don’t solve a problem. But there is a need that people to be entertained. So there’s a need there for video games, I think but the double the double diamond

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 26:08
And a desire.

Martin Whiskin 26:09
Yeah, the double diamond thing is designed the right thing designed the thing, right. So the two stages there. You said to us design the right thing, make crappy versions first, before spending too much time on things, you know, to make sure that it’s the right thing that we’re doing before then making it look nice. So that’s how I pulled those two segments. There was that example of, of how we sort of build the build the games? It’s

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 26:35
exactly and that’s that’s exactly like, that’s exactly why we do it. Right. So and many times we you know, because we have so little time and all of us working and stuff. So so so we have to kind of cut corners and just do things and then try it out. But we do a lot of of testing work.

Martin Whiskin 26:56
But it works. Because you can get rid of stuff quicker that way.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:01

Martin Whiskin 27:02
you just get it, get it down, get the idea out there. And you can quickly see whether it’s going to work on it. Whereas if you spend days and days and days working on, I don’t know the drawing and air, for example, to get the perfect looking here, then you just you still won’t know whether it’s going to work or because it’s just ear.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:23
And I think that’s exactly that, Oh, that’s beautiful, Martin, because that’s exactly it, right? You can have all of these ideas, like anyone who made games or design something, will know that stuff that works in your head doesn’t necessarily work in reality. It’s like you will build something. And if you spent half a year building that, then that’s just a waste of time. And I think the whole agile movement in software and also production. And we can we can have an episode about agile development, which ties very well into design thinking, in many ways, right, is an iterative, reflective kind of approach to developing stuff. So so it’s absolutely, absolutely right. I think we’re running out of time Martin.

Martin Whiskin 28:13
Let’s just finish now.

Chapter Two details about design thinking.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:27
So I thought, can we come up with something that that’s applicable that you can take home and use? Right now, after listening to this episode, if you’re doing something if you didn’t, if you hadn’t heard about design thinking or you know, something, a little bit about design thinking, but you know, how to actually try out or do some of these things, right? Either either as individual or as a group of people. So there’s this one method, right? There’s a lot of thinking about personas, a lot of different personas. And we could have a whole episode about that. Generally, I’m gonna say something that’s dead. If you are a designer, or a marketing person, or anyone who actually works somewhere, you might be angry and stop listening to them. I don’t know. But I’m generally against personas.

Martin Whiskin 29:31
How dare you? Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:35
So let me just rephrase that. I’m not against personas, but I’m against misuse of personas. And I see a lot of misuse of personas. And so typically, the way that I see it misused is you create a persona and then you based on that you generate some biases on what is that persona capable of doing As you’re already before you are designing anything you already decided, you know how smart and what capabilities this person have, in order for you to say, right, this doesn’t need to be usable, user friendly, because the person already knows this. And so that’s a misuse of personas. And then you can have like 10, different personas. And then you’re kind of designing for everyone, all at once, which generally is a very bad idea, just like the essence of this podcast, it’s like season one, we have this, it’s a podcast for everyone, which is a, you know, it’s a paradox. Because if you design something for everyone, you decide for no one. So it’s, it’s really, really bad. But like, and that’s what happened when you use persona. So generally, I’m for one persona, that doesn’t describe intelligence or capabilities, but just desires needs and, and problems set that person have. And so you tie that into jobs to be done, which is a very specific method of understanding the person or the, the individual that you’re designing for. So let’s just say you created this one persona, and you describe needs desires and problems his persona have. And then you can kind of investigate that you can map that person out, you can have interviews, and and try to really understand that. And then based on that, you can have a job to be done. Right. So I don’t know if it can I use you, Martin? Of

Martin Whiskin 31:53
course, you can use me in any which way. No one’s saying,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:58
wait a minute. But you’re in a different country. So a job could be done? would be you have a client who needs a phone message, right? And then you ask, you ask the so the job to be done, is what you really want to figure out what is the job? It’s like, Well, why do they need that message on their phone answering machines, right? It’s like, it can be a cue it can be we’re not here, or can be addressing closing times of the store, whatever it is, like, it can be a lot of things, right? So you ask these three questions, and you fill out the blanks. And the first question is when you know, and that could be customer’s call into her phone, I want to, that’s a second sentence, and then you fill in the blank of I want to, and that will be a want to make sure that they understand when they can come to the store. And when the phone is available. It’s like opening time so that they know when to call, right. And then I actually spoiled the last one. So I can, you know, make sure that they come to the store at the right time or call at the right time. Right. So the three sentences that were you fill out is when dot dot, dot, I want to.dot.so I can dot dot dot, right. And when you do that, you really can explore that, that need that the user have, and that desire. And, and you you it’s a very, very good practical way of, of doing that, right.

Martin Whiskin 33:43
So this is that will be quite a good exercise for businesses to go through and just define, like, loads and loads of these when I want and so I can and to work out, you know, what they’re really providing for their, for their customers.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:57
Exactly, exactly. And so that’s that, and that is like a concrete tool you can just use to get into there. You know, and as we talked about, like, all you want to really do is define a problem space. It’s like you have this place called, you know, design the right thing is the problem space. So clearly defining the state they are in like I am I trying to figure out what the need that I’m trying to solve this what was the problems? What is the desires of the client, or the customer, the user, the person I’m doing it for? And then once you kind of have defined that, then you go to solution space, which is like, can we test this out and can create something and that again, is like the divergent versus convergence. You have to think about that. So if you go into the divergence like the problem space, ways of doing it, we talked about in the very beginning isn’t Like brainstorming can be one way. Now brainstorming can be tricky. And if you follow along in the design community would see a lot of people saying brainstorming doesn’t work, you should be careful with brainstorming and, and there’s some, there’s some justify justified arguments in this, right. So if you sit in a room with some really big authorities, what generally tends to happen is the ones who don’t say a lot, their ideas don’t come up. So you have to really, and the ones who have a lot of authority will just come up with a lot of ideas, and, and then people will run with those ideas anyways, and then you didn’t need the brainstorm, you could just have taken their authority and said, What do you want us to build. And so a lot of pitfalls in brainstorming, however, it is a really, really good tool, when you use it in the right way. Or if you use it, I am a fan of a method called One Two Four many, which is, you know, your take everyone in a room, you can use that in great big gatherings, and you should look 124 Many up, I’m going to leave a link in the show notes on where you can find it. But it starts with everyone sit as one person for one minute. And think about generate ideas, think about problems, think about needs, think about something, right. And they write that down. Then once that one minute has passed, you go, you go in pair, and you talk about the ideas that you have for two minutes. And then once you’re done with that, you go into a group of four for four minutes, where you talk about all of the conclusions you made in that group. And then you go to the big area where everyone kind of, but because there’s typically always one in the group of four that is capable of, or is not shy, and is able to actually, you know, communicate those ideas out to the whole group right to everyone there. So the shy person, the one who sits with the great ideas, actually have an opportunity to, you know, come to the table with with great ideas. And, and it’s a very, very great way of actually, you know, making sure that that some of these imbalances that happens in group dynamics, which is what happens in brainstorming typically is is avoided it just to a wide extent

Now I’m just talking, that was a divergent right, then we have the convergent, which is back to your acceptance like you. You You already explained this, I guess

Martin Whiskin 37:50
I’m a genius.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 37:52
You’re a genius. We have prototypes, and wireframes and prototypes and wireframes, in my mind is a really, really great. It’s like a classical example of wireframes done wrong, is that you put so much effort into it that it doesn’t look like it looks like a final product. And so typically, you will work with something called low fidelity and high fidelity wireframes and low fidelity and high fidelity prototypes. Sometimes you want to build prototypes that looks like a final product. And they let users actually click around in it or use it for real, right, you 3d print something and then you give it to someone so that they can try it out physically or, you know, something like that. But you spend as little time on generating as high value as possible, so that you actually see if it works or not. Right? So it’s kind of like tuck you know, don’t use a lot of time on it. Just really try to really try to get to two seeing if you can fulfill that desire. And that’s it. I think these these were the tools you can use them now. We’re way over time, Martin, what do we do

Martin Whiskin 39:06
with fffh? We don’t need to do an outro anymore. We’ve got that

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 39:10
should we rerecord everything and make it shorter?

Martin Whiskin 39:16

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 39:18
Oh, there’s one thing I forgot a white white. Can I do that you?

Martin Whiskin 39:22
Can I just suggest that we that you mentioned, viable, feasible and desirable. Thank you. I know when that came, I was

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 39:34
looking at my notes. So when you’re building something generally right, we look at the if we go back to the thought, thank you very much, Martin for bringing that question up. I’m going to answer it now. So we so we think about, you know the business way and the design thinking way and then we we kind of like let’s just try to be zen. And, and, and don’t think that anything is bad and everything is there for a reason. And, and, and understand that there’s a reason for the business way, the old way of thinking and the design thinking way of thinking existing. And that, that is just different ways, if you want to create different products, right, but in all of them, we have to wear three hats. Like we have to wear the business hat, we have to wear the tech hat. And we have to or engineering hat and we have to wear the design hat. Right? So we have to we have to embrace all of them. And, and, and in the old school way of thinking you thought about each of them as a step in the process, right? So in the old way you think business first, you think how can we make money? And then you think tech second? How can we create a technical solution. And then you apply design as an afterthought. Whereas in Design Thinking you go, alright, equally is like all three of these different hats. And they can be titles, right? The business side would be product management, the tech side would be engineering and developers. And design would be designers, whatever, it’s like UX, product designers, interactions, it’s like any of these different types, right? And so you have these three, and you understand that they overlap each other, and that they have to collaborate. And so the business hat you put on and you think, is this viable? Meaning there’s like the amount of money and effort I put into it will actually get that back. Right? Is there? How long does it take to create this? I have to have a sense of, of cost of producing it versus what can I make on it? Right? So because if you use more money on making something than you, you gain from it, then this like it’s not worth doing? Like if production cost is too high? It isn’t. And then you asked tech, you have the the the technical hat on in this era, is it feasible? And And would that mean this, like, what are we going to do? What are we going to produce? But also how long is it going to take? Right? And it and that’s the overlap between business and tech is, if I know that this will take 20 years for me to to make that thing, then, you know, maybe the cost is so high that it won’t be worth it. But if that, you know if we can work for 20 years, and then maybe the profit would just, you know, immediately come back to us, then maybe it’s it’s good. And then the last hat is the design hat? Well, it’s not the last, the third hat is the design hat. And that is it desirable? And, and if that is added as an afterthought, it’s like how can we make it desirable? Then you’re kind of missing the point because it really is like it is if it’s not desirable, should we make it at all right? Can we can we make does it does it? Does it really solve? You know, does this solution solve the problem correctly? Is it something that that will, you know, really, you know, really create, because that’s part of the business side as well. If we make something that’s desirable, people will actually buy it. Because it really solves a, a, it fulfills a need that they have, right. And so all of these three things is, you know, Is it viable? Is it from a business point of view? Is it feasible from a technical point of view? And is it desirable from a design point of view, these three hats you should always wear, when you’re kind of producing something, anything making anything, you should have these three, except when it’s art, and you’re very rich, and you don’t need money.

Martin Whiskin 44:35
But this is something that again, that I can like sit down and talk to my business peers about because yes, it it might be feasible, you might actually be able to do it. But if it’s not viable, you can’t just plow into things without thinking about it. Is it going to be worse? Is it actually going to going to work out? I know I understand the importance also of trying stuff Have to see because sometimes, you know, you just never know whether whether stuff will work, but it’s yeah. So I’ve I’ve taken some stuff from this I’m going to pass on. I think that’s really good. All Thank you. Well, thank you for having me today.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 45:17
Thank you for being here. I love you very much. This is absolutely awesome. And yeah, so And the last thing about it is right is is is this thing where in order to get to the business viability or the feasibility or the desirability, you experiment, like you can use all of these design thinking to get to that maybe you don’t know to begin with, you need to investigate stuff before you know if if it’s if it’s a business viability, right. So and I think that’s the that’s the closing. That’s the outro

Martin Whiskin 45:58

Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hiddenbydesign.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on Ling God Sorenson net. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review, please, as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:26
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 46:27

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:28
we love you. I said something in which I’m a bad boy.

S2E7 – How to Feedback

Getting feedback can feel overwhelming and be a bad experience, if done wrong. It can feel personal and agressive, and can often leave you feeling bad about yourself.

Giving feedback is a super difficult, and is not, contrary to popular belief an exercie of guiding people by telling them what to do, its about making people understand what to do.

Giving feedback is not about finding and sharing solutions, its about finding problems.

In this episode, you will learn

  • What feedback really is.
  • How to recive feedback, and use these sessions contstuctively.
  • How to give feedback the right way.
  • How to avoid getting into a defensive mode, where you stop listening
  • How to help people open up to recieve feedback
  • How you can be candid and kind at the same time.


Pixars braintrust

Creative Inc. (The book where the braintrust is described)


Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden By Design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn, the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
You’re not recording?

I don’t know how to introduce this one, actually. Hi, and welcome to giving and receiving feedback.

Martin Whiskin 0:31
That was an excellent intro. That was that was me giving feedback.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:38
Thank you for that good feedback. So I guess today, just a little bit of a disclaimer, I had a surgery. And therefore every time I laugh, it hurts really badly. So. So every time I laugh in this episode, just know that it’s it includes pain. And that’s probably why I also sound a little bit. Not as slick as I usually do. But this is this is amazing. So we’re going to, we’re going to go through today about giving a receiving feedback, which is today’s episode, which I’m very excited about. And you haven’t shared the quote of the day with me, Martin, so I’m just really well really eager to hear

Martin Whiskin 1:24
what it is, I feel that I’ve built it up far too much. We’ve been chatting, but so yeah, the quote of the day, given that this is about giving and receiving feedback, the quote of the day is from Jimi Hendrix, and it goes. “Beeep (Feedback sound)”

I’m sorry, please keep listening. The actual quote of the day is from John clays. And I read a great book from John Cleese recently just about creativity and how he gets into the creative zone for writing and stuff. And it’s very small, a very small book, but it’s worth reading. So John, Cleese said “He who loves most learns best?”

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:09
Yes. And that is. That is, I like the feedback one better, though. So I think it’s like one of the subtitles I wrote was emotional management, and laughing and being open. Is, is part of, of, of, of receiving. And giving feedback is like having a good environment. So I might have made a little bit of a mistake, because I’ve prepared a lot for this episode. So but I think it’ll be fine. So in this first half, we’re going to talk a little bit about what feedback is, and what kind of roles and and what feedback is like in general. And I try to I try to write down one sentence that kind of encapsulate what feedback is, and and I got to this, and I don’t know if you will agree with me Martin. If you have other ones, like other other takes on this, but for me, at least feedback is a conversation with the purpose of improving something was like identifying problems. So but improving something, I had discussions with my girlfriend about this, because she said something is such a vague word. But I kind of stuck to it. Because it can be anything you can get feedback on anything, the way that you talk, the way that we do podcast, a product that you’re making a drawing that you made, there’s there’s no boundaries to where you can give feedback. However, common for everything, when it comes to feedback is that it’s the same rules that apply. So typically, I say, when you’re giving feedback, there’s three hats doesn’t mean three persons, but there’s three hats that you have to wear. And the first hat is to facilitator. And there’s the presenter or the want the receiver of feedback, and then the giver of feedback. And typically, the facilitator is something that’s mixed between the giver and the receiver of feedback. If that makes Do you have any questions? Or comments?

Martin Whiskin 4:32
I’m sort of the I was thinking about the feedback being a conversation, which I think it is, for me. Spot on. Yeah. But I also think there’s situations where, and I’m sure lots of lots of listeners have experiences where they’ve had feedback at work or something like that. And it’s not been a conversation. It’s just been, you know, that’s not how I wanted it done. Do it again. Yes, but better sort of attitude. And that obviously puts people in, that puts their backup, I think, yeah, it doesn’t put them in the right, the right place to do it better, they start to resent it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:12
And I guess that that’s what improving comes into the picture, right. And that’s where the conversation needs to be done. So I decided we’re not going to do a lot of talking about the facilitator, typically, when you have bigger circles of a feedback sessions, right, where there’s 10 people or so, and a group is presenting something for someone else, then it’s nice to have a facilitator. But usually, if it’s just one person giving feedback to another person, just, you know, sharing that responsibility of facilitating and making sure that you stay on topic is, is kind of, it’s kind of important. So it is an important role, or hat, in that. But typically, you can make it I wrote Pixars “Braintrust”. And I’ll link in the show notes to that, because it’s, it’s a, it’s an amazing feedback form, I’m not going to talk too much about it, but Pixar just generally develop this idea of a brain trust, where they invite the most talented people for all of their movies, but also the small ones, to give candid feedback on what has been done so far. And the way that they do it. Is is kind of amazing. I really, really like it. Because if we go down to the receiver, right, the one who gets the feedback, the, the difficult part about getting feedback is, is that sometimes you end up in a situation where you identify as a work you you’re doing, right? So in in pixels, braintrust. That’s the whole purpose of that. That conversation is that you release yourself from, from the work you do, and you open yourself up to feedback. And as as a receiver, that is one of the things that you really, really need to do. And detach yourself from your work. And one of the ways that you can sense or see yourself not being detached from your work is when you start to become defensive, and explain why things are the way they are. So when someone says, Well, this doesn’t seem right to me, or are you sure, this is what you want to do, and you start explaining and arguing for this is the right way of doing things. You’re kind of defending your ideas, you’re defending your, your design, or your presentation, or whatever it is that you’re getting feedback on. And you want to get rid of that. Because that also means that you stop listening. You’re you’re trying to not do the extra work, and you’re not in that, you know, finding what to improve, because you already think that what you did is perfect

Martin Whiskin 8:12
How do you not attach yourself so closely to your work? Because if you fall, and this would be the same, like when I was writing music in bands and things like that, if I took a song, I’d spent hours and hours, maybe weeks sometimes on creating what I would say is the perfect version of this song. And then you take it to rehearsal, and they say, well, we need to change that bit. I don’t like that bit. And I would get immediately defensive because it’s like, well, no, this is my thing. It’s part of me that I’m giving you. So how do you separate that out?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:44
But I don’t know much.

Martin Whiskin 8:48
It’s fine. You’re not well? Well,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:52
so there’s some tips and tricks, I guess it’s like, generally, because I suffer from this, like everyone who does creative work suffer from this, because, and it’s it’s kind of interesting, right? Because in order to do something well, you have, it’s like you are what you do, and you identify as the stuff. And so what you have to do is in the situation where you’re receiving feedback, or you’re getting feedback, you have to mentally detach yourself from what you’re doing, it doesn’t mean that, that you shouldn’t, in my opinion, at least, that you shouldn’t identify as you work. But in that feedback session, you have to understand that there’s a bigger purpose, than, is like you’re trying to find problems in what you made. And and that means that if you get into a defensive mode, which you do, if you identify as the work, it’s like really, really easily, then then you’re incapable of actually receiving feedback. And I think that’s, that’s kind of like the the giver of feedback can help you a little bit here if if they’re really good at giving feedback. But, but but I find that it helps me to, for example, sometimes I’ll just pretend that it’s someone else who made it. I’ll just tell myself that it’s not my stuff. I’m trying to get feedback for someone else. And I just pretend. And that works for me. So in general, just, you know, not not thinking it as you, but thinking of it as someone else.

Martin Whiskin 10:34
When I have, like my voice over coaching, they sent me homework for the next session. So I have to go off and record a piece in my interpretation, and then they sort of listened to it on the next session. And they can be critical of that piece of work, because obviously, they want me to get better so and I don’t get defensive in that instance, I think it’s because I know that I’m going to be learning from that feedback. Yeah. So that’s another stance to take, isn’t it, that you’re just, you’re just learning other ways and other ideas of of getting to the best final solution? Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 11:09
Yeah. And maybe also, sometimes, it’s like just saying, this is their opinion, and you’re going to make a note on it. And sometimes, just giving it time, as soon as you made the note, someone said something, and you’ll, you’ll be able to, to, to actually reflect on it later. So sometimes it doesn’t work immediately, you need time, especially if you’re you’re deeply involved.

The last part of being a receiver or the one who gets the feedback is to be prepared and understand what it is you want feedback on. So it’s like as your example Martin, where they send you some work on something you have to record, and then they will give you a critique on that piece. So then you’re aligned on what it is that you want to. And in many ways, this is where the facilitator sometime comes in is like, you have to be prepared, you have to understand what it is that you want to get feedback on. So I guess that that’s the receiver, the one who gets the feedback is, is an attempt to open up and distance yourself from the work and understand that you’re looking for problems in the work that you did the perfect work that you probably did. But you’re looking for places that it can be improved. And there you need a different set of eyes, or ears or something else. Let me just rephrase that. And if you have a really good give her a feedback, they will help you get into that mode. So there’s an equally is equally difficult to give feedback as it is to receive feedback. Is is my experience, like sometimes I really, really feel that, that giving feedback is more difficult than receiving it. I think from from what I’ve learned over the years, specifically, what I’m trying to make people open up to listen to what I say, I have this rule that even though like even if I’m a manager of a team, or it’s like, especially if, if my recall, authority weighs heavier than the person I’m giving feedback to, it’s very, very easy to go into the stance and say you need this like just as your example someone will take your piece. And they will say I don’t like that I don’t like that do that this, this. And this instead, it’s very, very easy, because it’s it’s quick. It’s to the point. And but it’s not feedback is just telling people what to do. So my my kind of mantra or my essay, giver a feedback is that my job is not to tell people what to do. My job is to help the receiver understand what needs to be done. And that understanding is just so typically, because what what happens, for me at least is that I see something great that someone made and it makes my brain go oh, man and then we could also do that as like I’m firing ideas like my my brain just go into solution mode. Just trying to see like how do we solve all of these things? And I’ll give you know advice and I’ll say you could do this and and this is also a way of doing it. And so I will tell people how to solve the problems, but in reality, that’s not my job. So give her a feedback. My job is to giver of feedback is to make them understand the problems because getting ideas on how to solve things is easy. It’s also really, really fun. But as a give her a feedback, that’s not your job, your job is to help them understand the problem and, and the challenge is set in this stuff that they did so far. And then if they want advice, you can kind of say, well, I would probably solve that. But that’s not your primary job, your primary job is to, to identify problems, not solutions. And so I find it that, that in order to make people really, really open up instead of, of, you know, going back to that, telling people what to do, and rather, you know, understanding what to do, what I what I tend to what I find works the best is when I asked questions. So I asked questions of why did you do that? And? And how do you think you could solve that problem? Or what are some of the problems you’re thinking of solving with this? Right for the end user?

Martin Whiskin 16:13
So my question was going to be here, and I think you might have just answered it. Your job is not to tell people what to do. But your job is to help them understand what needs to be, needs to be done. So what if that person? So you’re sort of guiding them to the solution without telling them what it is? But what if they what if they can’t grasp that? What if they can’t make that connection? To get to the solution? How do you not tell them in that instance? What needs to be done? And is it by by just keeping asking questions, like you were saying until they until they work it out?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:46
Yeah. So that is a good question. Because it’s like, I often I find it if you keep asking questions, at some point, they, you know, the receivable will kind of get it. And, and the magical thing happens is when you really get to, like get the receiver like you in a feedback session, where I get some, like, I definitely have an idea in my head of like, how would I solve this. And if I can, if I can, if I can get to a situation where we don’t talk about my idea of a solution. And then typically, what happens is that the solution that comes up is different from what I would suggest, and better than what I would suggest. Because understanding the problem and really getting to the core of things is, is typically, just just like, as I said, typically getting ideas is not that difficult, especially if you understand problems, sometimes the solution just gives himself and you don’t have to think about it too much. And, and by and by really, really having a conversation about the problems or challenges that you need to, to solve with your design or your PowerPoint or your voice reading. As soon as you understand it, the result will always be better. And sometimes due to time pressure, and stuff like that, you will just go like I would solve it like this, or here’s an idea of how you could solve it. In that case, typically, I will, I’ll try to emphasize that you can come up with something else, my solution is not the best. But this is how it would solve it just as an example.

Martin Whiskin 18:40
And I guess in that, when you’re in that far into the discussion, because it’s a conversation, they’re already more accepting to things anyway, rather than you just saying, you need to do it my way. Or you need to do it like this. But if when you’re in a conversation, and you’re exchanging ideas anyway, that’s when it becomes a more sort of accepting environment.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:03
Yes. Yeah. And, and put on top of that, if your authority, it’s like when I’m the manager, if I’m the boss man, in the conversation, what I find is that, that getting coming up with ideas as an example is more difficult, because there’s just like, the human mind just works in the way that authority weighs. Like even if I’m not as clever as just like, so my design team, all of my designers are more clever than I am. They’re better at design than I am, by far. And I still have to give them feedback. So but I guess that’s what I’m good at, in that constellation. The problem comes when I use my authority to to say I would do it this way, because it’s like the more authority I have in the conversation. It’s Like the power balance of that conversation is off. And you have to respect and understand that. It’s like you would like it not to be, and in most like, I used years, because in my mind, I was like, I don’t carry more authority. It’s very difficult for me to understand. And, and I use a lot of many years of that, too many, because I thought, Well, I never respected authority. So, so but the more the bigger the power difference, or the authority difference is between the giver and the receiver, the more careful you have to be as the giver of feedback. Because just like as a client, for example, right, I guess, when they like with your example from before, they would send you some, like you would send them something, they will give critique on it. And in many cases, you will just adjust and do what they tell you to.

Martin Whiskin 21:01
Yeah, in my with with work. So with voiceover work, it’s very, it’s very one sided feedback, because they have a very strong idea of how they want it to sound. Yeah, most of the time. Yes, I can interpret, you know, the script in my own ways. But if there’s something that isn’t to their liking, they will just say, No, can you do this bit like that? And that’s it. There’s no discussion, there’s, well, 99 times out of 100. There’s no discussion in why I think my way is better. It’s just do it this way. And I will go and do it. And during live sessions, we’re recording this instant feedback. So if I do a line in a certain way, they might then just say, well, actually, can you do this line? Like this? All right, yeah. And then and then I will just do it straight away. No questions asked. What’s the difference between feedback and instructions? Because that’s, is that feedback for me? Or is that an instruction that they’re giving?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 22:02
Yeah, I would say, and this is this is exactly is like, why I say my job is not to tell people what to do. So give her a feedback. My job is to help the receiver understand what needs to be done. Right. So So in your cases, I would say a piece of sound, what I would focus on is what is what’s the emotion that we want the listener to, to feel? And what is the problem we are trying to solve with it? So if it’s, if it’s for, you know, putting people in a wait, like, you know, let’s just imagine you’re doing a phone answering thing for a doctor, please hold Exactly. So the emotion did you want to say there’s too little focus on these automatic services? Were you in queue, right? And too often they put this annoying music on

Martin Whiskin 23:01
Oh, Yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:02
Or no, it’s just, I don’t know who came up with that idea. But far, no. We don’t want that music, because then I can’t put my phone anyways. The reason is probably then I can hear I’m still in queue. But it’s just really bad music. And it’s loud. And it’s annoying. And they could just put a tick sound every three seconds like little

Martin Whiskin 23:26
insight into that type of work. The reason so many telephone messages and hold systems and menu systems like that are terrible, is because the business whose phone system that is they never have to listen to it. It’s not their problem.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:43

Martin Whiskin 23:43
So it’s always the caller’s the cup, someone is phoning up to solve their own problem. So that the business doesn’t care about what that person has to go through on the phone because they have to find that business. They’ve got no choice. So they’re phoning their bank, they’ve got to phone the bank, they can’t find another bank, because they’re not with that bank. Yeah. So it’s just a captive audience that they can kind of just let sit there and not worry about

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:08
So and this is this is what kind of baffles me, makes me confused because this is this is really, really important for you know, if someone has been sitting in queue for 45 minutes listening to horrific music, and you’re still in line as number five, then you’re in a bad mood when you when you when you enter that or the tax system in Denmark is like they, they come with good advice. It’s like Did you know that you could log in and do all of these things yourself without calling a service help?

Martin Whiskin 24:49
I think they’re looking at it as the problem is on the caller side. They need to speak to us. We can treat them how we want but actually, what you know what you’ve mentioned there is the fact that when someone’s on, on hold, they’re already annoyed because they just want to speak to someone.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:05

Martin Whiskin 25:05
So when they get through, they give the person on the other end of the phone a hard time, because they’re just in a bad mood. So the problem, in fact is with bad staff morale, which needs to be dealt with, that’s the way they need to think about it, but they don’t. Because again, they don’t care about their staff either.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:24
Now we know now we’re getting close to is sticking it to the man Martin! 🙂

My last note on giving and being the giver of feedback, is something I also feel is, is really, really difficult. But it’s also sometimes misunderstood. And that’s the being candid without being aggressive. So being candid, is just extremely important. And not sugarcoating, or trying to put like, what you call it, when you when you don’t really tell the truth, because you’re afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. And that is just really, really, it’s like, so the aggressive, so So here’s the thing. And here’s some tricks on how to do that as a giver a feedback. And typically, you do that by is like being candid without being aggressive. So aggression is when you attack the piece, or the person who made the piece. So instead of saying, I think, or I see, or I don’t understand, and then you kind of give feedback on a piece, you say, you did this wrong, or I don’t like what you did there. So so it ate a tip or trick can be to kind of put the responsibility of, of understanding on your own shoulder instead of putting it on the other person’s shoulder, if that makes sense. So, so like this also works in relationships, by the way. If you can take it from your own perspective, instead of trying to tell other, it’s like, no, we’re back to telling people what to do, right? So being candid is is absolutely important. And, and you can be kind and candid at the same time. It doesn’t. And the trick is to make it not personal, towards the person listening.

I have to say, just like throughout my career, feedback, and giving and receiving feedback has always been really, really like something I’ve been focusing on because I understand how important it is to be able to actually let someone tell you something, and then use that to improve your stuff. Because I would say that any design you do ever won’t be good. If you if someone else didn’t actually look at it and give you feedback. And that can be customers that can be you know, users of the product you’re you’re making, or are another small tip I forgot about Martin is whenever you want feedback on something, the earlier you can get feedback, the better it is. And the more crappy it can look, the better it is. And the reason why is. So for example, if you can make some wireframes of a design or a a quick sketch of, you know, the tune that you wanted. So instead of sitting for three weeks and involving yourself deeply in a project, you can get the outline where you know, it’s not good enough, you know, it needs improvement. But instead of waiting until you think it’s perfect, you get someone to look at it before it’s done. Because at that moment, and that was all the way back to being the receiver and not attaching yourself to your work. I forgot about that. Then the earlier you can get someone to feedback. And there’s two positive effects of this. One is you don’t attach yourself as tightly to the work that you did. So you don’t identify as much because you know that it’s not done. And in your message you should never say or argue well, well, it’s not done. So I can’t use that but but so that’s sometimes the danger is that you kind of excuse your poor decision. With, with that it’s not done, but when it comes to, to giving feedback as well, it’s easier to give feedback on something where you can see it’s not done. Because it means that, that you know that it won’t hurt that person as much when you give candid feedback,

Martin Whiskin 30:18
Because it’s not like a finished piece, if you’re giving someone like a wireframe, they’re not clouded by the aesthetics of it, how it looks, or they’re actually focusing on the problem that it’s so or if it can solve the problem, as opposed to, you know, oh, no, doesn’t look very nice.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:33
Yes. Like that. That is one amazing side effect as well. And also, it you know, the, the the wireframe also signals that a lot of time wasn’t used on this. So for you, as a giver a feedback, you’re not as worried of hurting the receivers feelings when you give feedback. Because if you see something that’s completely done, and and really finished, and you don’t like it, you know, that it’s three weeks of work that needs to be redone. And so you’re, you’re more likely to subconsciously, not be honest about the feedback you give, because you understand the implications of of being honest, if that makes sense. And you really, truly have to be honest, every is like as a giver, a feedback candid. But there’s just some some things that will make you not be candidate by nature, because, because you care about like, and the more you care about the other person, the worse it is, it’s like the heavier, the heavier the, the more you would like to avoid making that other person sad.

Most of this has been practical, like how do you do this? But do you have some examples of good feedback?

Martin Whiskin 32:01
Well, I think we spoke about it with the voiceover thing. So I, you know, that was the, how I received feedback in my current role. And I’m just trying to think if I was ever given really given much feedback in my last actual job, because I was kind of the only person in the office who knew how to do what I did. So I just did it. And if I didn’t, if I, if we come up with a problem, I had to solve it myself, because there was no one to ask yet.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 32:29
Well, sometimes just like being prepared, even though and I guess that’s a really good point, Martin, is that even though the person sometimes people will say, Well, I don’t know anything about this. So how can I give feedback? Well, I would say, anyone can give feedback on anything. If you set them as like, as a receiver, and if you prepare well enough, you can get feedback on a lot of different things. And you can get people to ask questions about something. So I think, I think that is that’s actually a good example of, of, of where feedback would be really, really nice. But you couldn’t it’s like you wouldn’t get it, I guess.

Martin Whiskin 33:13
Can you also class feedback as my first thought was, like a comedian, geek, for example.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:21
Ohh Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 33:22
And whether whether people laugh or not, is feedback on his work, stand

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:28
up comedy is like great that way, but I guess they do. And you will see this, a lot of great comedians will also go into small clubs, to test new material. And, and see if they get laugh or responses that they would like or think that they should get on the different jokes. I think that’s, that’s a good example, as well. I practice with like when I went to design school many, many years ago, we would practice giving and receiving feedback on each other all the time. That really helped me and with the design team I have today where we’re eight designers. We also practice actually, every day, we have a design, mini review, we call it so 15 minutes, where someone present something and then everyone else in the group will just hammer at it. And it’s absolutely magnificent. I love it so much. So So I think it’s like practice is also a an advice and it doesn’t have to take long. It’s like we do 15 minutes of feedback session every day. And it it works brilliantly. And I would recommend anyone to do that. And you can take anything up. It’s more the practice of giving feedback and receiving feedback than it is. Actually, you know, what you’re getting feedback on. I don’t know like, in this episode, Martin, is it clear that I am not at 100%.

Martin Whiskin 35:05
Even if you were 10%, that’s more than I am. No is I think it’s been good. It’s yeah. And what you were just saying that about, like practicing with the giving and receiving feedback, same with everything, isn’t it? You need to practice at this stuff, you can’t just expect to be great at giving feedback if you’re a nice person.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:26
No, no, it’s like being a nice person is not a prerequisite of giving good feedback.

Martin Whiskin 35:32
Because it’s it, I think it’s human nature. Like when we’re watching films and stuff like that, at home, or listening to an album or something, it’s human nature to turn to the person that you might be with and say, That was shit, that film or something, if you if you didn’t like it, you don’t sort of, because there’s no one to listen to your feedback on the film. So so what I think I’m getting out there is is often human nature, to not give good feedback to just be immediately, immediately dismissive of things don’t like that song.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:04
And, and so as a as a giver, and receiver feedback. It’s like, and this is this is, this is why it’s so important to focus on, on understanding what needs to be done, and focusing on the problems instead of solutions. Because, and you’re absolutely right, when you look at a movie, or you’re watching a movie like that, and you say that was absolute shit, then, then in the end, you’re not constructive about it. And you you don’t, you can’t like, most of the time, you can’t say what it’s like, it was just the mood or the story was weak, or, but you don’t really have anything specific. You just didn’t like that movie. And, but, and that ties into, like, if you start analyzing it and asking questions to the person, why didn’t you like it? Typically, even though they’re not movie makers or professional in movies, they’ll be able to give you some great feedback if you’re just like the instructor listening. And I guess that’s a little bit my point is that anyone can give feedback, because everyone can have an opinion about something. If you if you use those people to try to come up with a solution, you’re doing it wrong, what you have to do is try to understand the problems that they see or experience, which is why everyone can give feedback, because they will experience some problems or challenges. And then obviously, the closer to the real customer or real end user or the better it is. But anyone can really you can get feedback from anyone

Martin Whiskin 37:45
on that note, we should ask feedback from everyone about our podcast. I remember to focus on the problems and not the solution. Yes. They’ve just tell us it’s shit.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 37:59
First, tell us that shit. And then tell us why. Yeah, and then and then we can have a conversation based on that.

Martin Whiskin 38:06
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hidden by design.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on Ling God Sorensen not Yes, got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms as important. Do follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:32
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 38:33

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:34
We love you. I said something in which I’m a bad boy.

S2E6 – Design Systems and Design Languages

Design Systems is the bridge between professions which most important role is to be the foundation of creating a culture. This is one of the new enlightenments I got out of listening to John Bevan talking about his Passion for Design Systems.

If you want to have a clear brand, but at the same time, want to build products fast, and with a consistent designs and experiences, then this episode is just for your. And even though we talk about this from the perspective of big companies, then most of this also works for small companies as well.

This talk was inspireing and educational like nothing else. Take a listen yourself.


In this episode you will learn:

  • What is a Design System, and what is a Design Language.
  • Design systems will help desingners think more systematic
  • Design systems help you create consistent experiences.
  • Why it the most important thing about Design Systems is to build a Design Culture.
  • And many more.


John Bevan on LinkedIn

The Design System Podcast (Its amazing and you should listen)


Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin and this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden by design?

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh yeah, and my main thing is to know the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
you’re not recording ?

Welcome to hidden by Design. Today we’re going to talk about design systems and design languages. And you know, before we introduce because today we have a guest, which we are going to interview. But before we introduce our secret guests, then I think Martin your, your moment to shine again with the quote. And

Martin Whiskin 0:46
this is really important because I might have zero other input for the rest of the episode.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:53
Make sure make it make it count.

Martin Whiskin 0:56
So the quote of the day for episode six of season two is styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style. And that is by Thorbjørn. Massimo Vignelli an Italian designer.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:15
Oh, you said that nice. All right. So so with us today in in the UK, where are you today? John?

John Bevan 1:26
I am just outside London country London.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:29
All right. So so

John Bevan 1:31
Which is in the UK, yes! And not Canada!

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:38
We have with us creative and strategic director, user experience expert user interface expert human machine interface, Argumented at reality virtual reality. So many things, John, I was I was looking at this. Who is this? This man, this expert, but I think on all of that.

John Bevan 2:03
Its been a journey!

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:04
Exactly. You have the end of that list is designed systems. And we worked together on design system in on other projects. You work with, you know, American Express, Grundfos, Volvo British Airways, the BBC is like so many also high profile things. So, I think that that means that you must know a little bit about what you’re working with what you’re doing, which is, which is, yeah, have massive about. So it’s like it was kind of overwhelming for me to try to. And it’s like a a bit of a impact on myself my confidence. Look at such an impressive CV.

John Bevan 2:50
Im flattered, Thank you very much. haha It’s great to be on the show.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:54

John Bevan 2:55
No pressure, no pressure.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:59
So we are gathered here today to talk about the system, or the the topic of design systems and design languages. And I guess I’m just gonna throw you straight under the bus, John. And ask you what is a design system? And so think about it this way. So Martin doesn’t know anything about design systems. So he’s completely new.

John Bevan 3:23
You know, I would go back to the first time I heard the word design system, back in the dark ages of my career, some years back. And I remember asking myself that same question. And just being flooded by this turn of words, components, patterns, foundations, frameworks. And design systems have this like weird I remember thinking then there’s this weird kind of schizophrenic love child of developers and designers, where developers have tried to be creative in their thinking. And designers have tried to think more systematically like developers. And so you’ve got all of these ideas kind of meshed together. And I remember just feeling overwhelmed. The first time I I saw all of the writing all of the topics around science systems, and of course, now there’s conferences, there’s groups, there’s courses, I think, even on design systems, because it’s such a broad domain. What’s actually underneath all of that, I think, as soon as I started to understand and think of it all more on the system’s side than design, it all starts to make sense. And I think to understand design systems, you have to understand or you have to be willing to go into understanding systems and systems thinking and what makes up a system and a process and how the systems support, team, people organizations in doing things better. Because I think that’s the part of design systems that folks find quite difficult to access or to understand, you go into it as a designer, and you’re, you’re greeted with a lot of thinking and ideas that is not conventional to you as a designer. It’s not it’s not creative. It’s very method about method. It’s it’s very technical, actually. But fundamentally, I think the design system is a way of introducing systems concepts, to designers and trying to structure the way designers and developers think, to obviously benefit the collaboration between designers and developers. But it’s a bit of a backdoor way of pushing systems thinkers, onto creatives, I think. And of course, it’s had a lot of value, because there were a lot of system breakages in creative departments of businesses. And so they saw a need to try and fix that. That process problem. And of course, putting, putting a design system in place has helped but the bottom of it, it’s basically a set of systems and those systems are made up of physical assets, your components, your libraries, but they’re also made up of the rules and the structures around how to apply those assets. And it’s the second part, that’s probably more important. Of course, lots of organizations had libraries, brand libraries, assets, etc. And guidelines around those, but they didn’t have the systems to apply them digitally. That’s where the design system grew up, how do I apply my brand in the digital domain? So it’s the system? How do I how do I systematize the way I do design and apply design? That’s really where the design system came from. But it’s it. I think lots of people have been on this journey. I’m not the only one. The same answer the same question and be quite confounded by it. Because system thinking is not a muscle that you’re expected to develop, particularly in the UX UI, certainly not in the visual design or the graphical design domain. Of course, in development. Yes. So it’s, it probably started from a slightly alien place for the creative folk. And that’s one many struggle to answer that question, I think, or at least understand how to approach design systems.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:33
So what you’re saying is a design system starts in typically in engineering, or

John Bevan 7:41
I think it starts based upon problems that are witnessed and discovered in engineering departments and engineering, I would encompass development, as well as architecture behind that, everything to do with presenting the technology of an experience, I think that’s where you see the symptoms of not having a design system. I don’t think designers typically are the ones that start up design systems, that tend to be developers, but it is made up probably more of design than it is of engineering, and it’s a bridge really bridges, this the construction of the bridge starts from the development side of the river, and it it then meets probably the design side starts building and it meets closer to the development side than to the design side of the river of systems

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:46
that’s interesting, like so yeah. So, so, you have a design system, you mentioned brand and marketing as one player and development and then in that sandwich is the design department who is then so so and then you say components you say a lot of things there. So what’s the what’s the difference between the design system and the style guide for example, from brand and marketing when it comes to like because lots

John Bevan 9:17
of additional words basically technical words like components and elements and patterns and frameworks and design ops, which I would consider it to be part of the system of design, a design system, a style guide, really, I mean, the style guide was fit for the non digital age. And if the if the business evolved from a bricks and mortar business, into digital, typically a style guide got carried over from a brand team, and to some extent, you can use your style guide to interpret your color, your identity The basic building blocks of brand fonts, etc, you can use the style guide to interpret a lot of the digital experience, you then find UX struggles and the whole domain of UX obviously grew up in in parallel with the domain of design systems growing up, suddenly, you found UX problems in that digital experience that you couldn’t quantify or govern, purely with a visual style guide. So examples of that are a form in one customer journey, being different to a form for the same journey, but on another channel. So classic examples being your airline booking form, and your airline booking journey, your login journey, your signup journey. And you would see differences, even if you provided the same design to development, you would see differences in how they were realized on the front end, which for the business creates consistency problems in the brand, it creates coherency problems for the customer, the journey is different, they having to relearn the same pattern twice. And it creates financial challenges in terms of the cost to maintain and operate all of those differences where you want one solution. So the style guide was limited in its ability to control and manage all of those moving parts. So style guides started to be extended with technical material documentation, what we would call patterns, which is how to present a journey through a sequence of steps, not just the components on one of those steps. And then the the system part of it went even further. And that is to introduce ways processes, structures, methods, by which design should be handed over to development, by which design should be implemented characteristics of the design, things that should govern, for example, interaction. So interaction is a much more nuanced characteristic than say, a visual, a color or a font, what should I feel, as I interact, as I download this app and interact with it, what should I feel at the end of this booking journey, whatever, what what is the emotional path, I go down, and you can systematize some of those elements, you can capture some of the characteristics that you want to exhibit, and then build those into the way designers and developers think. So that’s where the system part, expanded upon style guides. But of course, systems are also difficult to regulate. And that’s why design systems and design language always have this conflict is always a challenge between trying to manage every single part of an experience versus allowing emotion, flexibility character to shine through. So some style guides do a better job than the design systems that have been built around them, or actually conveying the experience that they want to create. But that’s, that’s fundamentally, I think, the difference between the two. But again, design systems is also a very broad word, and that you could go to 10 Different organizations to inspect their design systems, and you would see 100 different variants. In fact, you would go to many organizations, and you would find five design systems under the same roof of because Because everyone’s had to, you know, businesses are very broad churches as well. And big organizations have to kind of manage the parts of the experience they’re looking after. So that means they will interpret the guidelines a little bit differently for their customers. That’s a big challenge with design systems is how do you create? How do you systematize human behavior? That’s extremely difficult to do, you know, you can big organization with with different types of customers, they buy and they think very differently. So how do you create a systematic approach to serve all of them equally? Well,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:21
that’s, that’s really like, so I think it goes back to what you said, consistency. And, you know, in previous episodes, we kind of covered that, if you want to make intuitive design or design that’s really emotionally engaging for a customer consistency is kind of one of the key components of that. And so if you really, really, really want to make good design systematizing you know, how you present your interfaces and solve your problems is, I guess, very, very important. So just let me just try to summarize or Can I kind of cook it down? And, and then you correct me if I misunderstood some of the things because so in reality of just like what design system is, is a bridge, and a framework to create, say, a bridge between marketing, a design department, and development slash engineering, so that all three parts and the whole of the business, create a consistent, consistent experience for the user and thereby creating, you know, an emotional connection and consistent design and usable and intuitive kind of experience all through your application. And

John Bevan 15:52
I think that the bridge is the base, the base of it, it’s the most basic thing that must be present for design system and must bring collaboration between technical creative brandmark, and all the actors you describe, but that alone does not make an effective design system, the effectiveness comes from the culture that you try to create around the system of design. That’s why I say for me, design system is it tends to become, it can be interpreted in a very dry, technical sense of purely building a library of assets and a system to get those assets into production. And that that’s why you’ll see that a lot of design systems have now started to evolve in their language to more like experience, systems experience languages, because that, that Miss comprehension actually undermined what a good design system should be doing, which is to build a culture of systematic practice around how you do design, a culture of deep understanding between user designer, developer, a product manager, that system should encompass everything to do with an experience, how is an experience conceived? represented? How do you empathize with the customer? All the different types of customers to get their experience? Correct. So it goes much bigger than that bridge, because the bridge is the basic thing you must have, but it becomes more universe, I would say which that bridge is, it’s like the it’s in the in the Thor films, right, this bridge to the bridge to the other universe, right? That is, that’s the kind of bridge we’re talking about here. It has to be something that that it’s fundamentally connects all the parts of the business, but it also without that bridge, you you cannot properly express the type of experience that you that you want.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:01
Yeah, so it’s kind of like the rainbow who leads to the

John Bevan 18:04

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:05
Bifrost Exactly.

So all right, so then I understand so we have the bridge is the foundation, it’s the technical kind of bridge between marketing, all of that stuff that happens there, then that bridge into designing and kind of, you know, creates a shared language of how do we do things? The the side effect of that, if it’s done, right, is a shared culture about how do we approach and understand our products? And how do we understand our customers? And how do we make them actually do what we want them to do on a, like, big scale scale is like a skill level and then the last buy effect like a you know, side effect of having that means increased productivity because you don’t have to sit and perhaps stupid arguments about you know, different things because now everyone is aligned to take talk the same language they kind of it’s it’s the tower of Babylon, but without God kinda, you know, destroys.

John Bevan 19:17
I think at the at the basic level, it sets some guardrails, that it’s a decision making framework. Yes, it sets guardrails for common decisions that therefore lead to a systematic way of making decisions. So how should I design this form? Okay, I follow guidance. Therefore, every form that gets delivered, has been systematized and we’ve minimized the chance of an inconsistency being introduced. When you get all the basics in place and you’re very good at this and you’re an organization with a very powerful, very broad design system then, the system part that you focus on is the systematizing of the design culture, so you focus upon getting everyone thinking the same way and trying to exhibit a craft the characteristics of the brand the same way, that’s a much more intangible thing to grasp, or to be able to explain how to do it or to be able to replicate it. But there what you’re doing, and I can give you examples, if you think of some of the great brands, you can immediately understand the character of the experience that they’re trying to create. And that is just a thread that is a DNA that runs through that business. And it’s the culture of how they do design, how they think about the experience, that can also be systematized and design system, but you’re talking there, the very, very, very best, that kind of 0.1, maybe maximum 1%. So I call it, it’s, for me, it’s a bit like a pyramid, you know, you kind of start at the bottom, you’ve got to get the hygiene stuff, right, build the bridge, and then you ramp up that pyramid to starting to systematize. You know, the process is the structures, the teams, the operations, and then right at the peak of it is you actually start to systematize the culture. So you’ve highly optimized the design culture, and you have ways of keeping that constantly refreshed and constantly performing. That’s very hard to manage control. And typically businesses sustain that for some time, and then it and then it drifts, and then new characters come in, etc. So all of that for me is the design system. It’s that whole pyramid from fundamentals, component level, right up to how do you how do you structure the entire design culture of a massive organization design system should be considering all of those aspects?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 21:46
And so I guess just for for, for martin, or any listener who don’t know what a component is? A, I guess,

John Bevan 21:54
to answer the question,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 21:57
like, so am I right? If I say a component can be a button, and a specification for how the button should look, feel and react when you interact with it in your application, but also, what possibilities that it can open and make available to the user and how and when it should be used. So you have

John Bevan 22:18
absolutely and the critical thing with the component is that the the production version of the component, so what is experienced by the user by the customer, is connect to the design version of the component. Right. And this is, might seem an obvious thing to say, but this is where 99% of struggle around design systems and organization exists, is design. You know, as I said, it’s that bridge again, development triggered the process of creating design systems to respond to product teams and marketing teams saying we’ve got inconsistencies. So there’s, so they asked design, please help us create this consistency. And for some time, that kind of bridge started to be built. But in many cases, the middle part that bridge never really connects. And so design has a utopian library of how a brand should exist. That is basically a style guide. Development has a legacy, lots of legacy challenges, where the component in production resembles nothing like the component in design. And even if visually, it’s the same, maybe the interaction is incorrect. Maybe the sequence of the journey is not correct. So absolutely the component is the building block, provided that component is live a component that that is ideally, completely synchronized from the design file the design object through to the implementation of it, the behavior of it in production. Yes. And that component obviously becomes more and more complex, the more variants of it, you have the more nested components make up like a form, I always go back to forms. Because

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:03

John Bevan 24:03
I tell you, in every organization forms are, are the biggest challenge between design and development, the number of forms that organizations have to manage nowadays, is is gross. It’s absolutely massive. And there’s always component challenges around it, you know, the form looks different, or the data goes through different place. Or you ask the same, you’re doing the same task signing up logging in, but you call it different things. login on this form, sign sign in on that form. And that’s where you see those where you’re combining components into patterns. That’s where the complexity and the management the systematizing the complexity that’s where it really becomes powerful and important.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:46
Yeah, there’s like that login sign in thing I’ve seen that so many. It’s like I made it myself. That mistake. I’m really good at coming up with strange words. I need design systems.

John Bevan 25:01
Yeah, that’s where that’s where systems, that’s where the system thinking helps, right? Eliminate inconsistency eliminate deviation or incoherency.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:20
So, Martin, I have a quick question for you actually, in your job as a, as a voice actor, and and working for companies, have you ever? Like, have you ever encountered anything like a design system or somewhere where they say, well, it has to fit our brand or style, and therefore you need to stuff like that,

Martin Whiskin 25:40
I guess so. But it’s never framed like that, it will just be, you know, in the direction that I get in might say, you know, it has to sound I don’t know, friendly, but authoritative, which is our brand, you know, that sort of thing or not, is never put into something very formal.

John Bevan 25:59
But language, of course, language, I mean, we’ve worked Martin, you’ll be super familiar. Languages, of course, I mean, apart I always say apart from probably the human body and DNA language is the best example of a, of a system, a design system in operation that you could ever find. And you can look across different languages. Yeah, I think we have probably three different languages here. But you can of course, English, Danish, the Scandinavian languages, and you can see how one system triggered very different experiences through evolution, because the systems evolved in separate directions. But you can look at the syntax, the construction of sentences, and you can see the same underlying components, in many cases, the same words translated across different languages. And you can see the same construction of a sentence yet the experience and the language part of it at the end is quite quite different, right? But you can connect Danish back to German you can connect bits of Swedish back to English etc. So language be like DNA is a fantastic and fascinating design system to see what happens when a design system is left.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:15
You avoided saying that you avoided the English is basically just Danish because the Vikings kind of made that language

John Bevan 27:28
he was fascinating about English to me is that, that when you when you spend I spend all the time in Scandinavia. And they’re all of the languages make use of accents. Right? So yeah, everyone always says English is such a difficult language learning you go, why is that? You go? Well, it’s basically because we remove whatever reason at some point in time, a bunch of English folk just couldn’t be bothered with writing accents, right? Just incredible laziness. They just wanted to take out all the accents, who needs this stuff. So you can have the same word pronounced a dozen different ways, right? And you see all of all of the students of English trying to understand how you can have a word like, bow, spelled the same as through or throw, but yet, yeah, sounds totally different. Right now in Swedish or Danish, you would have the same spelling, but you would convey it through accents in English, we would just like, there are unnecessary, we don’t need any of those. So what’s happened there is someone broke the system. Basically, someone took out the the guidelines, the style guides from the system, right, they kept the components but throw away the style guides. And so it’s gone wild. And that’s why the same underlying you know, sentence structure exists. But the the end execution is totally different.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:49
And Danish and says like, it’s scandinavia, I guess. It’s like, it’s it’s how you say it. And I guess like I had a word where you could say it, depending on context and depending on where you put the pressure, it means like 10 or 20 different things. And the only thing I can come up with right now is is fly fucking which depending on context means different things.

John Bevan 29:19
Swedish is, full of this, right? I mean, the word yah, I unfathomable the number of different meanings. Oh, yeah, right. Yeah. Whether it’s yah, yah, yah, yah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:31
It can be a question. It can be a state and it can be Yeah, it’s the same in Danish.

John Bevan 29:35
And that that again represents the difference between language and system. You can you can kind of introduce bits of both, but if one of them is left to rain at the cost of the other, then you end up with a very wild outcome.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:54
Right. Okay. Good. That’s a nice, so segway into design language. which is right. So we have designed system, you explained a little bit about languages now, like different languages. And so maybe we can take, like the directors like based on what we have right now the direct connection between, like all the differences between design systems and design languages when it comes to applic… like it, how is that applicable? And how do I see it as a designer in my day to day life? I guess? It’s a good question. I don’t? Yeah,

John Bevan 30:30
I think so you’re asking the difference between the two and how they how they work together? I think, well, I guess, I try to interpret it a bit, I think design language is is the creative side unchained. It’s what happens. If, again, in the language example we were talking about before, it’s what happens if natural human creativity is allowed to express itself and to explore unconstrained by system. So the language is just the expression of ideas, I think, whereas the system is trying to introduce process tame, that wildness, tame that chaos, into something that can be managed, which of course, if you’re an organization, and you need to, you can’t have design language running wild, you can’t be constantly evolving how you present yourself, you can’t be constantly managing different executions of ideas, you have to tame all of that to manage your costs and keep your consistency etc. So you have to introduce that system to manage the language. But I think what also happened in the process of design systems being adopted, is businesses organizations found themselves overcompensating for the previous design language challenges they had. And so what happened is, many organizations, particularly in the tech space engineering space, found that they had removed innovation, they would remove creative expression from the visual expression of the brand, the digital expression of the brand, because the design system was so heavily enforced, you ended up almost excluding the possibility of design language evolving, because you were trying to systematize and control and constrain everything.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 32:24
All right.

John Bevan 32:25
And that’s also a problem, right? Because that, that, that defeats the human part of the brand that no human buys something based upon the strength of the system, they buy it based on the strength of the expression, that example it connects people to a brand. So you have to find that, that that balance, right? So if I if I say to you, Ferrari, for example, you would, I would guess quickly jumped to things like fast, right. Okay. Some might say yellow, red, yellow fast, you’d say probably sculpted, it feels beautiful. Yeah, it’s a it’s a very stunning visual piece to look at. If I were to say to you, Rolls Royce, right? Probably use different words, you’re probably gonna go silver, black, you’re gonna go stately, you’re gonna go graceful. Right? This is design language, you could never systematize this you can try. But you you can’t sit you can’t build those things, you systemization that is just expression of creativity and ideas and the kind of consistent consistency about over time. So the design language is really an idea. And the human creative interpretation of it. The system is taming some of that wildness, you know, and you can look through generations Ferraris, and see that design language present. Some of them went to wild, right? They didn’t sell some of the word wild enough, they didn’t sell. So design language has to be tamed sometimes. But within limits, that’s what your design system tries to do.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 34:07
Alright, so design languages. Does it have any connection to tone and voice?

John Bevan 34:15
Yeah, absolutely.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 34:16
So So and, and, and just to make sure that there’s like the basic concept of tone and voices. The voice is like, off if a brand or a company is like your mother’s voice, you always hear that same voice. And the tone is, you know if your mom is angry, or happy. And so you can always hear the same voice but you can hear her tone in how she says it. And a company and a product have the same thing, right you can. So taking Ferrari as well. You go you know you you understand that speed and aggressiveness and All of that, and then, you know, the individual design kind of set the tone for what type of card is, I guess?

John Bevan 35:08
Yeah, and of course, if you’re running those businesses, then you want to put some, some systemization around that language. Because you know, that language is what effectively makes up what your business is and what people engage with. So you don’t want that to be diluted. You you learn from mistakes, where the design language was varied. You know, there’s lots of, you can look at design languages evolve over time. And you can see what I’d call dialects of a design language, where it deviates a bit from what the core was, but then it comes back and you kind of test the waters by by evolving slight variations on your design language. And your your system is built around that to try and always bring the best design language forwards. But it’s a it’s, it’s a very fine balance to do this. And I don’t think anyone ever gets it right. All of the time. I don’t think any, any businesses ever managed that. I mean, Apple did very well in terms of design language, and Systemising, that in product production, but it’s, it’s, you know, they had a large period of time where they failed as well, and they didn’t sell a lot of products. So, you know, it comes and goes depending on the culture of the business. But that’s that’s what you’re trying to do is allow the design language to express itself to evolve naturally through kind of human creativity, but systematize parts of it to make it less expensive to do that evolution and avoid wild variations or deviations that cost the brand or cost the business. So you enter into a fascinated domain. Right. So, which is why I spent many years working in this space. And I still don’t have the answers, right. And I’m not sure that any of us do. But it’s it’s a fascinating challenge to try and get the right balance of those things in businesses of different types. Yeah, organizations, not just businesses, any organization. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 37:08
Yeah, so so so. So what you’re saying is, like big organizations don’t know how to do this. And it’s like, it’s, we probably never will, but we understand the problem that we’re trying to solve. So every step is taking in a right direction. But in the end, there will always be inconsistencies and difficulties and trying to get everything to work. I was like, one of the things I see here is that a lot of companies just create a complete design system slash experience system department by itself. To in order to control that, just like the Do you see that? Do you see that a lot? I just read about it? Because I don’t? I haven’t been in that many companies.

John Bevan 38:01
You mean building

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:04
a design system?

John Bevan 38:06
Around around design systems? Yeah, I mean, if you’re, if you’re running organizations of any size, right, you’ll, a lot of your primary concerns become about operational operational cost, and how to do to maximize the value streams, the revenue streams and minimize the operational cost. And one of the areas that you see at all of operational cost is fixing and designing consistency, fixing or having to maintain multiple platforms that should have the same components but have different components. So design systems appear, a fantastic idea. And typically, if you’re trying to create the case, for a design system, you your investment, your stakeholder argument will be well, we can help introduce greater consistency, greater coherency, we can reduce the cost to assemble things that cost operating. So of course, your funding of a design system is typically linked to the more systemization you can do. And that’s why I see over the past 10 years, let’s say the design systems have started to be built put in place, lots of them are very mature now. There has become a bit of a pushback or a bit of a shift towards this more experience, language this this blend trying to find this balance, because that overregulation, of course it for some cost benefits, but it also really diluted some of the innovation or some of the expressiveness of the brand. So you understand why, from a leadership point of view, you want to introduce these kind of systems, but you also have to, to find the balance to allow the creativity to shine through there. And I think there’s there’s one interesting point you touched on before which is about how do you define language and evolve? What I see there is most large organizations We’re or have inherited a founders vision. So at some point in time, there was a great character typically, or characters, family of characters that defined a business, right. And it came out of a family business or one person’s vision, etc, for the duration of the time that that that character is around the family is around, they are the design language, they are able to express it their vision in their mind, right? The difficulty comes when they’re no longer around, because now that’s up to interpretation. And you have lots of different characters with lots of different backgrounds, lots of diverse opinions interpreting it differently. And that’s where large organizations, I think, struggle with how to evolve a design language. Which way do you take it? Which parts of which parts of the expression are most important? What are the key words, etc. And so what happens then is you go, well, let’s just try and do the best practice, let’s try and systematize and try and do what the best players do. Because you can’t, you can’t agree on the language part. So you go, let’s at least agree on a system to try and preserve parts of the language. So then that’s when you can get a bit lost, I think, and many organizations have struggled with that, I think can continuing trying to evolve the essence of what they are. After, you know, the visionary part of it has moved on, which in most big organizations has happened.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 41:34
Argh, so okay, let me just so design systems. Let me try to see if I got this. Right, right. So design systems, that’s like a, that’s a system to kind of make a clear framework on mechanics, like, so it’s a mechanical system and a framework that makes sure that you don’t kind of break the rules. And then a design language is more of a feeling and an emotion about how to how do we express ourselves, you know, within these rules are outside of these rules. And so what do you so so for example, Disney, right, whenever you say, or, you know, Ferrari have any of this, like any brand. And as you said, in the beginning of where we talked about design languages, it gives you an emotion, it gives you a feeling, and that feeling is like is is the design can express that feeling. And, and so, alright, so what I understand is that, that to get and promote that feeling, you have to have some sort of, of emotional framework, rather than a technical framework that expresses, you know, how do we animate Mickey Mouse? Because his is? Yeah, yes,

John Bevan 43:04
I would, I would call it more of a cultural thing than a framework. But yes, I will, I would frame it like, take the car example, again, because I think it’s universally we can understand it. The exterior is the language. It’s the part that you see, first, that attracts you. And no amount of Systemising, the process of exterior design will lead to a more emotionally connecting exterior, I think it is just, you see it, and you go, wow, that connects with me. It’s beautiful. Yeah, visually, it triggers sentiments of, you know, good feelings towards the beauty of it. But underneath all of that are systems, right mechanics, things that make it you know, the drive train that makes it work the systems inside the vehicle, and you wouldn’t really consider buying the vehicle, the car, bus, train, whatever it is, if you didn’t feel you had both, right, but you have to have them both in balance, of course, some have a much stronger on the language side, some are much stronger on the system side. And so you, you have to find that kind of balance, but you need to have all of those things. Yes. And it’s it’s much more about the culture of the people creating it than just the framework, right? If you have a really diverse set of people designing your product, there’s a good chance that it’s very creative, and it has, it’s very expressive. If you have a very narrow group of either engineers or designers or whatever, then you tend to only come up with quite a narrow, narrowly expressing product. So that’s why I say framework is I choose the word, culture, more framework, because I think that’s what determines how good you are at balancing all of those factors.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 44:43
We are way over time.

John Bevan 44:51
I mean, I think I want you to get into this topic. Fascinating because design, sit the whole the whole systematizing of design, which is kind of being forced, in order to manage the cost of creative departments and manage the cost of, you know, assembling platforms and things, is, you know, there’s, it makes a lot of sense that there’s a value in it. But there is a, there’s also a big, big cultural challenge there and how to apply that at scale, and how to preserve the human qualities of what causes people to engage with design. It’s a fascinating, fascinating thing to understand the behavior that causes people to respond to design, and you realize ultimately, that you cannot systematized behavior, and it wouldn’t be desirable to try to. And therefore, you have to make selections and choices about the balance of language versus system, I think that determines your success. So it’s, it’s for me, very, very interesting. Domain and design systems are now starting to come into maturity. And that’s how we’re starting to now see the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches people have taken.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:04
Yeah, this is this is really is this just like, did you get everything Martin? You said in the beginning, you didn’t have much to, uh, you know, well,

Martin Whiskin 46:18
I will have to probably listen to this a few times, I think I was trying to come up with a summary

John Bevan 46:24
Cut whatever crap you want.

Martin Whiskin 46:27
I was, it’s just gonna be my intro. That’s all we’re releasing. I was trying to come up with a summary for design systems. And the closest I could come I think was, or maybe a question, if I’m understanding it correctly, is something in place. So someone like Thorbjørn on doesn’t go off on too many tangents? Yeah,

John Bevan 46:50
but what’s really going to play with you is how should you decide which tangents of Torbjorn? Because I, I’ve experienced some of those tangents, and they’ve been elucidating moments. They’ve been enlightening moments. So you’ve just asked the very question that every design director and every I wouldn’t say design director, even every brand marketing CMO, CTO is asking, which is, what is the balance of system versus language?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:25

John Bevan 47:26
When to tell the language to shut up, and when to leave. But yeah, your summary is very valid.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:39
When the language is shut up, I’ll take that as a nice ending. If I have a million pounds, and wanted to get in contact with you, to hire you to help me build a design system, or design language, or any of the other, like, things that you do history, kind of amazing. How can I how can I have spent that money on you? Where can I find you?

John Bevan 48:15
Well, where can you find me? The good news is, as you’ve mentioned, all the keywords in my LinkedIn, I think you could look up any of those. Find me or someone like me spending money and can’t I’ll have a Ferrari, please.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 48:34
Yeah. All right. We should we send it to your website or to LinkedIn? Or how do we get in touch with you?

John Bevan 48:41
The Ferrari just send it to my driveway. All right. But finding me LinkedIn, LinkedIn is the is the best place I spent. I think LinkedIn is a fascinating place, actually. Because there’s a lot of groups on there about design systems. Now, there’s lots of conferences about systems that I speak at quite a lot. But also, if you spend some time on LinkedIn, and you’re open minded and curious, you can learn a lot about design and design systems and how different people are are working with them. So LinkedIn, generally, I’m always open connecting on LinkedIn. Yeah, you can look me up John Bevan, or any of the various names letters. And hopefully, you’ll find me and even if you don’t, you’ll have you have a good you have good fun. Other interesting characters so

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:29
I think actually, I’m really it’s like, I’m really horrible at social media, but LinkedIn, I think I’m winning. Because I’m collecting cool contacts. And I’m, I have in my contact list, a Chinese truck driver, and I don’t think a lot of people have that. That’s my that’s my number one. Best contact on LinkedIn.

John Bevan 49:52
It’s very eclectic.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:55
Well, anyways, thank you so much, John, for the pleasure. enlightening us with with with big thoughts about design systems. And I hope everyone who was listening. I don’t know if you want to do the outro Martin

Martin Whiskin 50:11
because I’m sure we can. We’ve got an outro Haven’t we don’t need to do it anymore.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 50:18
Well, thank you, John.

John Bevan 50:20
Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. And as I said, anytime you want to talk on the topic of designing systems, I would be very happy to hit me up.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 50:30
That’s a wrap I guess, unless someone have to say anything to say about onions.

Martin Whiskin 50:37
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hidden by design. dotnet or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen net, yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms. That’s important. Do follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 51:03
Can I say something? No, we love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

S2E5 – Motion design

Motion design is the trade of making design move. In this episode we interview Mark Lawrence, a 24 years in the making and super talented Motion Designer, and he tells us all of the knicks and knacks of motion design.

We learn what it is, and what his day to day job entails.

Takeaways of this episode

From a personal point of view, my favourite bit was understanding that Marc is the salt of any design, enhancing and pushing the original design to the edge and really making people engage in what you want them to engage in.


Marcs homepage

Marcs Linkedin

Marc talks about the difference between Harveynichols and Primark

Disneys 12 Principles of Animation


Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden by design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn, the podcast starts now

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
you’re not recording?

All right. So I guess I get your honor of leading everyone in. Saying Hi, and welcome to Hidden By Design. Season two, Episode Five. So today, we’re going to talk about motion design. And since neither Martin or me is an expert, or knowledgeable in that area at all, we decided to do something a little bit special. And invite Marc Lawrence, is that correctly? Because I’m Danish. So is that correctly said? Did I pronounce

Marc Lawrence 1:01
This spot on, spot on

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:03
Awesome, thank you very much. Welcome to the podcast Marc.

Marc Lawrence 1:06
So it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Martin Whiskin 1:10
You want to do a little quick little intro Marc about who you are, what you do and where you’re from, what you’re wearing your age, that sort of thing. Shoesize?

Marc Lawrence 1:20
Marc Lawrence, I am a motion designer. For predominantly for advertising and marketing agencies. I’ve been a motion designer for about 24 years now. I’ve worked in TV, watching film. And I’ve worked my way through to the digital world. At the moment, I basically, what I tell people is I make adverts. So if you’re at a train station or an airport, and you see the ads on the huge billboards as you’re going down the travelator towards your plane that’s going to take you to Mauritius, and you see those cool animations for, for whoever big global brands, it’s likely that I, well, it’s not really likely that I’ve done them, but that’s the kind of thing I do. And it’s slightly unknown that people that do that sort of thing, especially in sort of the UK anyway. I also do a lot of social media animations, all the way down to simple logo animations for all companies. So I generally work with agencies and the odd direct client as well.

Martin Whiskin 2:34
One thing I need to pick up on there, is that the the airport example you use with Mauritius? Let’s see Thorbjørn knows what I’m gonna say here, but we are podcast was number two in Mauritius.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:47
Yes, we’re big in Mauritius.

Martin Whiskin 2:51
I think it’s the same podcast in a row. I’ve mentioned that as well. So

Marc Lawrence 2:56
it’s all about Mauritius.

Martin Whiskin 2:58
Oh, yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:59
So So can’t it’s like would it be? Would it be the right thing to say that your job is to make cool animations?

Marc Lawrence 3:08
Essentially, yes. I mean, motion design is a huge umbrella term that encompasses encompasses a lot of disciplines. The kind of work I do is, I will take if you’re a company, for example, and you have some photography assets, you have your logo, you have some copy, you have a font, you have like a brand, some brand assets, and you need adverts to sell your product, or to promote your event, or to market the campaign, I will knit those elements all together. So that instead of a static graphic design, so the graphic designer might have done a fantastic job for print media, I will take that design, and our animator will have things coming in and out of frame. So it grabs the viewers attention, say on those adverts that you’re watching at the airport or the train station, so it will grab your attention and it will engage you more

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 4:18
To go to Maricious. To listen to a podcast.

Marc Lawrence 4:23
So essentially is if you if you if you’re talking about cool animations, call engagement equals call. So if you want

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 4:32

Marc Lawrence 4:32
if you want call the really you’re talking about engagement, especially with digital they’re called Digital out of home ads. So not just in train stations, but airports but in your local high street. Piccadilly Circus for example, that huge example is huge examples Vegas. That’s huge examples. And you essentially want people to take notice and be aware Wear of your brand your event, the fact that this brand is sponsoring this event. And animation is a way to really grab people’s attention really, really quickly. So it’s the way I use it anyway, the way I use animation to grab attention quickly. But like I said, it’s such a broad term, I used to work in TV, I used to work on TV title sequences, the whole mindset change is completely different. So when you’re working on title sequences for TV, it’s not necessarily about grabbing attention quickly. But you’ll you’re more likely to try and sell a narrative is an intro to the program, or the or the documentary or the film coming up, you’ve got 30 seconds to really set the scene and the pace and the mood for the viewer, as a TV title sequence, and is very, very similar to film as well. It’s a completely separate discipline. And I know many people that have spent 20 30 years working in TV, creating title sequences is a completely separate discipline. And that’s a fabulous one to be in. But it’s, it’s, again, because motion design is such an umbrella term. The way I use motion design is completely different to the way somebody that creates title sequences would use motion design.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 6:30
So So All right, so So let me just into so motion design, it’s like when I saw it, I think I gave it the it’s like the subtitle not an afterthought, because often I feel that it becomes an afterthought. But as you’re explaining it, it’s is like basically, as the word says it’s adding motion to design. And in our what hidden by design is all about is understanding that design is just like getting people to do stuff, it’s it’s, it’s about leading people and helping them actually achieve or do something that you would like as a designer for them to do. And what I’m hearing is like, I’m just trying to encapsulate or collect everything you just said and says like motion design for you is, like the spice on top of the design enhances. And it’s, it’s like, salt to food is like Does that make sense? That

Marc Lawrence 7:36
It performs a job, it still has to, if you’re looking, if you’re talking about an ad, it still has to perform a job, it still has to make somebody aware of a brand, a product or an event or something. But it has to do it in the in the way that that brand has their guidelines. So you sum, the way you move things in and out of frame is going to be different, for example, Harvey Nichols, compared to Primark, you’re going to be Primark is, you know, the job, the jobs is essentially the same, to grab attention and to sell product.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:36

Marc Lawrence 7:38
enhance the brand. But the way you do that, for Harvey Nichols is gonna be very different to Primark, because of their brand styles. They got very, two very different brands, styles, and there to two different ends of the market.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:39
So with the danger of going a little bit late, so that means that just like style guides, tone of voice, all of these things that typically follows along with the brand is very important to you.

Marc Lawrence 8:52
Very, very important. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:53
And so as a motion designer, do you typically are you like, do you get the assignments? Like? Do you get the assignment of coming up with the message? Or are you getting the typically the assignment of enhancing the message or helping guide

Marc Lawrence 9:12
Good question, motion designers can do can do do it either way. The way I like to work is within large teams. So the design would already have been created by the artwork or graphic designer creative director. Copy would have already been created by the creative director and the copywriter. So everything’s there everything will then be handed to me. And then I will, I like to tell people I like to move it move it haha

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:48
We liked that too.

Marc Lawrence 9:57
Everything is basically handed to me on a plate Design, copy shots, photographic elements. I’m told what size to create these animations in. Because often with print, print sizes and animation out for size is completely different, completely different format. So you have to reconfigure everything. So actually get things to be able to animate from the off. But essentially, everything’s done beforehand. Now I know many, many motion designers who like to work directly with companies strategically, to actually work out with the team, exactly how they’re going to create the motion. The way I step in most of the time, the creative directors have a clear idea of what they want. Although I will pitch in because I know what looks good. If I think their idea makes makes that design look bad, I have to say it’s my job to tell them.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 11:03

Marc Lawrence 11:03
As as Martin with yourself, you know, if the tone of voice is completely wrong, for whatever you’re doing, you’re going to step in and say, you’ve given you know, give them your experience, give them the benefit of your experience. But like I said, there are many motion designers who like to work further up the chain, before a team has gets their hands on what were those elements and ideas, and work with founders, for example. And help create their brand using motion because motion design is part of branding.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 11:43

Marc Lawrence 11:44
Motion designs, the way you animate things in and out frame, the way the logo animates. That’s all part of the branding together with colors, logo, tone of voice, all of that motion design should be part of company’s branding. And again, there are a lot of motion designers waving the flag for this should be your branding. And there are people I know that are going into companies to say, look, if you animate things in a very set way, then that will help you because people will understand how things work consistently. Uber is a great example of that, who have quite well known in my field for having a very, very clear and concise set of motion design branding guidelines, specifically for freelance motion designers that needs to go in and help them create campaigns and ads. But they can then create them quicker, because the guidelines are already there. And they don’t have to work out how am I going to animate this. They don’t have to do that, because the guidelines have already been created. But how to bring things in and out of frame? How elements transitions from one thing to the other, how many seconds they’ve got exactly all of the guidelines are they’re just like brand classic branding guidelines where you’ve got RGB values, hex values, CMYK values, branding guidelines for motion, I just another thing that you can add on that will essentially help them save time helped companies save time because freelancers will be on that job for X amount of time.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 13:37
So if you’re a for a bank as an example, and then you definitely don’t want to have goofy animations of squirrel, you know, robbing a bank or something. You can come up with anything. He’s very tired. It’s my bedtime. So So usually we do this at five in the morning, and now it’s half past nine in the evening.

Marc Lawrence 14:03
Yea Marting said this, I cant believe it Thanks. Sorry, but bit of a side. Thank you for agreeing to come on.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:09
No problem. It’s fine. It’s this is absolutely amazing. So I was like I was seeing that Martin was trying to chip in and I have a million questions already. But so I don’t know. Do you have any questions Martin before I kind of unleash the hound.

Martin Whiskin 14:33
I’m trying to remember back to what it was. Marc was talking about a time I might I was making some notes about why motion design is I don’t know more engaging than just a poster. For example, like Marc was saying about the the moving billboards in the in the airports like and I was trying just to make some notes on why that is obviously you Can Marc mentioned narrative you can you can build a story with moving images, you know, moving the simplest form a person from A to B, you know, on an aeroplane because we’re talking about airports, it’s more engaging, when there’s stuff moving around, people like to see what’s going on when the eyes are moving around the page, you know, you’ve got them, because they’re looking at stuff happening. And when it’s more engaging, people are drawn into it, they will remember it more. And it’s and I was obviously I tie a lot of stuff back to what I do voiceover voiceover, you can tell that I’m, I’m this is late in the day for me, there was no resonance there at all. But yeah, there’s so much here that is applicable to what I do as well, all the way from the story to making the people remember it. Because of the increased engagement. There wasn’t a question of just a statement, I think.

Marc Lawrence 15:56
That’s exactly right. That’s right. It’s your you do what I do. But it’s a different area.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:02
Yeah, you animate sound. And I guess Marc, you animate images.

Marc Lawrence 16:08
Ohh, I love the way you just done that

Martin Whiskin 16:10
We might as well end the podcast now,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:13
Alright, that’s it. Let’s go to bed.

I have some questions Marc. So so because I think it was very, very interesting, just like the way that you like to move it, move it. I like that. And so we have kind of just like the word itself, motion design goes into there’s motion, and then there’s the design. And it sounded to me a little bit like, depending on who you are, like, it really depends on the brand, the company that you’re doing it for, and understanding the depth of all of that is it’s like is there? Like, how is the distribution of is like doing the motion part and the design part? And how does that? Like? Is there? individuality? How do you deal with that on a market where you have to get jobs, etc? So like, do you understand what I’m getting at? Is?

Marc Lawrence 17:18
I mean, are you asking if I do design as well?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 17:22
Yeah, it’s like, how much of your job as a motion designer? Is design? And how much is motion? And if I ask a different motion designer than than Marc, it’s like, is that going to be looking totally different? Or?

Marc Lawrence 17:37
Yeah, that’s a great question, actually, how much of the job is design? While I get like a, like I mentioned, I tend to get the designs given to me generally. Sometimes I’m asked to just come up with something that’s appropriate for the actual for the ad, or for the for the space that I’m animating within. Which is which is great, because then you have to put your design head on. And to me design is the the the arrangement of space, how you arrange space, to make something look pleasant and look, make it look right. But if I’m working with a brand, then I can just refer to their brand guidelines. For their designs, I can refer to previous designs they’ve had to get general steer. I’m not essentially a graphic designer. Graphic designers have fabulous. Good graphic designers have a really good eye for space. And for negative space. As well, you know, less is more. And I’m always learning and I’m always learning from designers. And graphic designers less is more and the less you put in often the more it says. You know, you have to let certain elements breathe, you have to let a logo breathes. You have to copy breathe, you have to let shots for like shots or lifestyle shots, you have to let them breathe. And I’ve learned to do that properly through working with graphic designers over the years. When I first started out as a motion designer, I couldn’t design but I could make things move. But there’d be no be very little class to it. Because I had no sense of design. I couldn’t arrange space the way I wanted it to look and I realized I was missing that graphic design element to the role.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:08
yeah you go.

Martin Whiskin 19:55
There was you spoken too much already They were one of the I think the the phrase was there, we should use this for the quote at the beginning. This like, I think it was designed as the arrangement of space. I think you said and that was a, that was brilliant, but then you followed up with negative space, less is more things need room to breathe. And again, I’m going to come back to let try again, voiceover that was a bit better. That, again, is, in a way, the arrangement of space, if you listen to an advert, a 32nd advert on the radio that is talking from the first second to the 30th. Second, you’re gonna lose the listeners, because it’s just going to be like a wall of information. And that’s the same with, you know, a blog that is 3000 words saying the same thing over and over. Or, like you were saying, you know, a design a logo that has no white, no space for the eye move around. And I think that’s, that’s the same for, I think, probably all creative services, space needs to move around

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 21:06
is absolutely amazing. Because like, I usually say this about this, like, so design is getting people to do stuff, right? So it’s telling his story, it’s engaging people, it’s all about that. And, and it’s, it’s like a conversation. And this is a thing that I’m really bad at, just like really, really bad at when it comes to conversation. And it’s being quiet, and just embracing the silence a little bit. Right. And, same with design, it’s the same with the motions, I guess, sometimes no motions can be as expressive as a lot of motions. If the timing is perfect.

Marc Lawrence 21:43
It’s true, it’s true. And you know, it’s, it also depends on what you’re looking to achieve. Sometimes you only need some very subtle motion. That may have been technically very challenging to, to actually create that motion buddy of mine a few days ago posted a really, really, really cool motion design piece. And it looks like it’s been hand animated in an old school way. It’s a lighthouse, with some waves lapping up at the bottom of the lighthouse. And it’s a very sort of calming scene. It’s all digital. It’s done in the same software that I use in After Effects, Adobe After Effects, but it looks it’s so it’s just fabulous, because it’s all hand crafted. So it’s you know, you can use digital products to get any kind of look and style based on what you want to achieve or based on the branding that you’ve got to stick to

Martin Whiskin 22:47
was that the one where he sketched it out on the notebook first. It was really nice,

Marc Lawrence 22:53
but over the years is I suppose not

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 22:56
I did not see that I feel left out now.

Martin Whiskin 23:00
And you’ll see the stuff he’s commenting on,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:01
we got to I guess we’re going to add a link to that post in our show notes.

Martin Whiskin 23:06
Link to Marc’s post as well though, because Marc’s work is not just good. It’s very very good.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:11
Absolutely going to do that. So anyone listening just go to hidden by design.net and find the show notes.

Martin Whiskin 23:18
And then what you do is you pause to give people the time and space to process.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:24
Alright, just watch me pause. But this Yeah, that’s about it.

Martin Whiskin 23:33
Which is what we’ve just been talking about. So yeah, exactly. When linking it all together nicely here.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:37
So So Marc, I have more questions. Yeah. So you’re talking about After Effects like I’m from I’m from the world of 3d I’m just like I’ve been using Maya to do character animations in my past I don’t do that anymore. And then there’s you know, hand drawn animation says as you talk about like what’s what’s the what’s your take on that? Like if you want to just like do you use everything? Do you even animate live characters? Or like what was the world like in that aspect?

Marc Lawrence 24:12
Oh, like I said, motion design is a massive umbrella term that encompasses encompasses so many disciplines 3d design is a beast within itself. And I know many many amazing 3d designers they you know, some do product design you know spend days and days and days crafting a bottle of whiskey Yeah. To get the right angles the right light cetera some some composite 3d 3d animations into film and TV. Some do 3d animation for events. Guys, I know that done. The John giga, best and break The screen behind that, John, I know that one of the guys that does those screens, you know, like I said, motion design encompasses a huge array of disciplines. And then we can go all the way back down to the tiny little details you see on your phone. When, when you’re waiting for something to load, loading screen exploding icons, the way pages animate to other pages, whether that goes down on or left to right. That’s UI design, which is motion design. Another form of motion design. I feel I’ve gone off piste a little bit, because you were talking about 3d.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:47
No, no, no, no, you’re absolutely spot on. It’s like answering the question slightly, because I was I was really curious about, like, the variations like, as you say, it’s like, it’s a big umbrella. And I think that was interesting to kind of see like, so motion just like so. Now I’m paddling around, avoiding silence. What I meant was what I was, what I was trying to get to is there’s not one way into motion design. As a like, again, there’s like if motion is what you’re like and care most about. That’s the way in if design is what you care most about. That’s a different way in. And the combination of motion and design is is is sounds like really like something you can you can penetrate from any angle you really

Marc Lawrence 26:44
liked it. So there’s no set route to become a motion designer. Like there’s a set route to become a GP or, or teacher. You can essentially teach yourself. I, I learned on the job many, many years ago, before motion design was a term. I was a broadcast designer used to be called broadcast I also worked in TV, creating title sequences. Right? Yeah. Do we live?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 27:17
Breaking news at the bottom of the screen? Yeah.

Marc Lawrence 27:20
Yeah, exactly. I did that as well. Did the news use graphic life graphics play out. But essentially, someone has to design and animate those graphics for someone to play them out. Yeah. So again, like I said that that in itself is motion design. So I went from that to learning after effects. And then probably combination of years and years of my head spent in books and YouTube to get better and better and better. But nowadays, there are many, many different courses, you can take digital courses that you can take from online schools, that sort of nationally and globally renowned for their motion design credits, when they get the obvious one for me to mention a school of motion. And the the guys, Joey, that, that runs that he used to be a motion to freelance motion design himself. And he’s like an inspiration to a lot of people because he worked in house came freelance and then developed with the School of motion that now is a globally recognized school for to train motion designers in many, many disciplines, from explainer videos to 3d. Even if you want to have your show reel checked out, there’s a special class to go to for that. So there’s no real in but what I would say is that experience matters.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:04

Marc Lawrence 29:05
To be to be you can you can have, you can be brilliantly gifted, technically gifted. But if you if you have little experience of working with teams and working with people and knowing where how your output fits into the bigger picture, and accepting that and trying to do your best and being flexible, then you’re, you’re not going to be a great team fit.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:37
So is is giving and receiving is like I have a slide. I’m not going to be able to ask all my questions, but it’s like, as a general or normal design. I think it’s like one of the biggest and most important skills that you can have is giving and receiving feedback. It’s like and being constructive about it, but also understanding what people say and And

Marc Lawrence 30:01
that’s hugely important. I mean, when you’re in sort of advertising teams, you’re working directly with creative directors 99.9% of the time, their vision has to be realized. Unless it really is poor. I’ve never worked with a creative director that has had a really bad vision. I’ve worked with some change their mind several times. And that’s fine. You know, it’s still part of the job. I still get to do what I love doing from the comfort of my own home. So I still I enjoy it. I love it work in these teams. But I completely forgot the question. I’ve just gone off on a tangent.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:54
That’s perfect. It’s great.

Martin Whiskin 30:58
Conversations, right?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:59
Exactly. I love it. Because this is usually my job to go out. And forget what I’m talking about. So I’m just enjoying this, I’m basking in me not

Martin Whiskin 31:12
enjoying what Maac was saying about. You can do courses and things like that. Yeah. And I’ll use an example when, back in the day, I was in, played in a lot of bands. And I knew a guitarist who had been to guitar school for want of a better, better term, I believe it was the Guitar School. And he was technically amazing. I’ve never, I’ve never known personally a better guitar player. Yet, it was very rigid. And there was no real sort of soul to it. So when you learn from a course, and don’t get the experience, and perhaps you’re not a naturally creative person, it becomes like, well, motion designed by numbers, I guess. And there’s no proper feeling behind it. They’re just doing exactly what it should do. Rather than someone like you who will put the flair into it and their own thoughts and ideas. Is that recycles is

Marc Lawrence 32:18
I don’t think causes courses pose a risk like that. I mean, I’ve been on courses, partly to meet other like minded people. And partly to, you know, increase my software. Know How. But I know what you mean, though, I have met a lot of people like they were very rigid and very black and white.

Martin Whiskin 32:45
Yeah, just like more technically minded as opposed Yeah, like the creative side. Yeah.

Marc Lawrence 32:51
That’s not to say you can’t learn you can. I think you can learn creativity. I don’t think it’s, it’s clearly black and white. But um, I know I’m fortunate that I know, technically brilliant people. Absolutely brilliant, who are also creatively brilliant. It’s very rare, but they are very rare sort of combination of the two and they are also clinically insane. I should take that back then.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:30
That’s that’s a compliment in our business

Marc Lawrence 33:44
I don’t think courses pose of risks like that, but I would happily cool myself. And of course, if I knew people that really enjoyed it.

Martin Whiskin 33:54
Yeah, I think I was more. I’m not gonna do it again. But with what I do, there was during during the lockdowns, there was a lot of people who went out and bought themselves a microphone on Amazon for 50 quid when I’m a voiceover artist now. And that was it. You know, there was no sort of thought process or training or anything. And I guess with perhaps with motion design, it’s more difficult to just all of a sudden say, I’m a motion designer, because you have to know how to use the tools.

Marc Lawrence 34:22
Yeah. But I guess with VoiceOver you have and it’s similar to motion design with VoiceOver, you have your own unique voice. Which kind of make makes you suit specific genres, I suppose. Similar to motion design, there are a lot of people that have a specific skill set or a specific style that if they’ve got a specific style and most of the time, companies and agencies will be attracted to them. Because that style, they know that that style is going to help help out their client. So again, I think it varies.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:14
I was thinking about like, so this is this is very much like have having your personal style and being able to hit that tone of voice of any company, right? That’s in my mind, especially for design and for art work for a game, for example, is the ability to remove, remove your preferences, and then hit that style, but still have your own flair in it. And it’s like, it’s insanely difficult. I bet I guess that’s what you’re talking about. is also true for motion design.

Marc Lawrence 35:53
Yeah, 100%. Because when you’re, when I’m picking up a design, someone else’s style and brand style will already be there. In terms of the design, I kind of have to bring it alive by using my knowledge of animation to move it that that brand might have its own specific brand guidelines. In which case sorry, motion guidelines, we have those my own sort of flair. I’ll just put that to one side. And I’ll say okay, they’ve got motion guidelines to go with this specific design. Fine. I’m happy to do that. It’s it’s not a problem. So it’s that so I described myself as a generalist, as a not as a motion design generalist because I can. I can work in I’m very happy to work in any sort of styles resume within my skill set.

Martin Whiskin 36:54
When When was the term motion? Because when I first started out freelancing, I just called anyone that did what you do. I just bunched it as an animator. And I think Thorbjørn has got a question about this. So when did the term motion designer come in? Because I don’t know whether I just missed it. Or it’s quite recent development?

Marc Lawrence 37:15
Great question. Brilliant question. I was always a broadcast design. I then became a leader of a lead a team of motion designers. And every now and then we had to recruit into the job, because someone would leave or some decided to go freelance. So we had to recruit into the job. I noticed that all of a sudden, so motion designs, a broadcast designer. So motion design was being used. Because you’re close to the industry press. You’re close the industry as a whole, you keep on touch of what’s going on. Say that was around the early to mid noughties about 2004 Five motions, the term motion design started being used. And I would, no, other motion designers may disagree with me. But I would put that down to school of motion, a school of motion, really promoting those guys really promoting the the medium of motion within advertising and TV, specifically at that time, because we were talking nearly 20 years ago now. So we’re going to advertising TV predominantly. So those guys ran with that term. So then I started using that. That’s for the ads that I used to ping out in the industry press for for new team members. It seems to sort of happen in a little trickle and then by sort of 2008 2009 I think it was genuinely accepted term, generally accepted umbrella term for a lot of disciplines.

Martin Whiskin 39:12
Okay, cool. And I’m trying to form a question here, live. And Toby on the question that you had, I think was what’s the difference between animation and motion design? Yes, answer that I might be able to form my question better after it’s yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 39:32
Is there a difference and what is the difference if there is one, I guess

Marc Lawrence 39:37
Yes, exactly. I don’t know many motion designers call themselves animators. Especially if you do character animation. Yeah. Then you are if you do 2d character animation, then you are kind of leaning heavily on the the 12 principles of animation that the classic Disney 12 principles because of animation, so therefore, you’d want to call yourself an animator. Generally, sometimes I call myself an animator, but a motion designer feels a lot more appropriate. I tell my I tell my parents, I make adverts. Because I made a post about this a couple of weeks ago that motion design is an industry term only and outside of our creative bubble. No one cares what it means. It’s not like graphic design, or illustration, or voiceover, or reducer. Creative Director, people generally know what those guys do. But motion design itself, what is that? Again? It’s an industry term. So if I if I went to direct to a marketing team of a brand that have never used video before, but they use graphic designers, or sell motion, so the question I am bound to be asked is, can you just tell me what that is again?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 41:06

Martin Whiskin 41:09
I think I think motion design to me like is clearer than animator because it says it there. You’re adding motion to design. But you say, Well, what’s an animator? Will they animate stuff? Okay, so what does that mean? And you can keep going down that road. But yeah, just quickly, Marc,

Marc Lawrence 41:26
the lines are blurred. The lines are blurred.

Martin Whiskin 41:28
Yeah. Marc mentioned Walt Disney. And I don’t think we did the quote at the beginning of the show.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 41:32
Oh, no, we did not. We do so we’re way over time Marc . Okay. Oh, sorry. Absolutely amazing.

Martin Whiskin 41:41
It’s almost definitely Thorbjørn fault.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 41:44
It’s always MY fault. That’s, that’s a burden I carry on my shoulder and I’m okay with it.

But should we do the intro the quote of the day, because we always do that we start our episode with the quote of the day and today because everything is upside down. We do the the recording in the evening, we that is like we have a guest on the podcast like everything is upside down. So maybe we should just do the intro quote at the end.

Martin Whiskin 42:16
So I’m going to slightly edit it. It says animation, brackets motion design can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. And it’s Walt Disney

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:25
aye because I have so many more questions. But I think we we we should respect your time. Thank you.

Marc Lawrence 42:35
All right, I’m good. I’m good for another 10 minutes. All right, let’s see if you guys got to shoot this.

Martin Whiskin 42:42
Let’s go for one more question. It might better be good. That’d be good. Thorbjørn.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:45
Oh, but so then then it’s about story. Right? So because you’re talking about now you’re talking about the difference between what is motion design now again, and what’s the difference between an animator and a motion designer, what I got from like, I have this vague kind of understanding now. That so design is like graphical design is showing something to people to get them to understand or act or behave in a specific way where the design part of it is the active, you can make something that’s really ugly, but still have a good design. Because it conveys the the the idea it gets the user to understand what they’re supposed to do. And so on with the, like how big of a part because that brings us to storytelling, right? So when you have an animation or an animated movie, or an animated clip is more about it’s it’s truly about the story and the message of the comic or the cartoon. Where does motion design stand in that because you’re also telling a story. But how important is that to the message that you bring about?

Marc Lawrence 44:09
I say stories in what I do on a day to day in Ad-land? Aren’t we don’t really heavily lean on stories that much with digital ads. It’s not really narrative driven. However, other formats I’ve worked on such as explainer videos, when you’re explaining what a company does in simple terms, you you stories narrative are key to telling telling the audience what that company does, how their products and services would benefit your life. You know, a motion designers I know many many that are brilliant character animators They can tell that that story through the animation of their characters. You don’t have to use a character to tell a story you can tell a story with a sphere. Yes square, you can tell a story, very sad story that way, which is what a lot of tech and software as a service companies do with their explainer videos, they tend to there’s a very specific look, which I think we’ve seen the last up now a very sort of classic look where you’ll use different sort of shapes in space moving along different other other different shapes are coming in. A VoiceOver will be explaining things and, and the visuals will have a link to what the voiceover is saying. So there’ll be a official story going along, over a minute or so.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 45:51
Is that also because it’s cheap to produce? Or just like

Marc Lawrence 45:54
not necessarily long? All right, not necessarily depends who produces it? Yeah. So yeah, I think explainer videos, title sequences and other classic Yeah, genre for for storytelling, film, and TV title sequences. But the teams that you work in with, with those mediums will already have a story, they’re waiting for you to bring it to life. You don’t just go in as a motion sign and develop a title sequence, tada, there you go. Just like that. But um, I would definitely say, TV task sequences, film, title sequences, explainer videos like classic sort of narrative driven mediums for motion design.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:48
What about emo.. like emotions? Do you think about that every time you make an animation, like the receival of the viewers emotion? Or is that

Marc Lawrence 46:58
yea, you can you can elicit emotional responses through movement? Yeah, very, very easily. Through pacing. Timing, doesn’t have to be a character could just be a square. Could be a line could be a circle. Or however those elements animate, you can elicit different different moods. You know, colors can help with the colors will help with the way emotion can be.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:29
So you animate colors as well, like you do your changes from that shapes.

Marc Lawrence 47:36
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. abstractions. When you’re talking about abstract shapes and patterns. It’s often quite easy to elicit emotional responses using abstractions. I don’t know why. It just feels really, really easy.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:53
Yeah, and it feels powerful, I guess as well.

Marc Lawrence 47:55
Powerful. Yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 47:56

Marc Lawrence 47:56
You’re just thinking very suddenly very, very simple. shape or color. Yeah, some movement. And you’re creating a feeling with those very, very simple things. I think that is the essence of why I love it so much. Because you can take some very, very, very simple things and great different movies with them.

Martin Whiskin 48:21
Something there is is rather beautiful. Is is the I think what all people creating media should be aiming for and is to make people feel something. When when they watch or listen. Or play it you know, and and if you can do that, you’ve done your job.

Marc Lawrence 48:43
Nailed it. Absolutely.

Martin Whiskin 48:46
Good night everyone.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 48:52

Martin Whiskin 48:56
Marc, do you want to just tell everyone where we can find you?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:00

Marc Lawrence 49:01
Yeah, just hop on LinkedIn. Come find me. Mark Lawrence, MARC, come say hi. Drop by say hi. Awesome. Thank you very much pleasure.

Martin Whiskin 49:17
Thinking our minds

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:21
this is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much, Marc

Marc Lawrence 49:25
Thank you. Thanks for inviting me on.

Martin Whiskin 49:27
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hidden by design.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensens. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms as important do follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:53
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 49:54

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 49:55
We love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

S2E4 – Millers Law

George Miller, wrote a paper in 1965, called “The magical number seven, plus or minus two” which describes limits to our capacity for processing information.

This paper laid out the groundwork for “Miller’s Law”, which is “The average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory.”

In this episode we talk about how this does not nessecarily a limit that means that you can only handle 7 items, but rather, that you have to be thoughtful about how you manage information, and as a designer, you think about how you chunk your data, and build hierarchies of information, for the user to comprehend information better.


Downlad the Original Paper – MagicNumberSeven-Miller1956.pdf

Season 1 Episode 4 – Constraints and Conventions

Tribes – Seth Godin

Eat that Frog

Supermarket Sweep


Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden by design.

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn. Now the podcast starts!

Martin Whiskin 0:18
and we should start recording now

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
are you not recording

We’re doing it completely different today,

Martin Whiskin 0:28
always experimenting, we’re striving to improve our methods.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:34
This doesn’t feel good.

Martin Whiskin 0:37
So I’m gonna let you into a secret today. There are no slides to work from.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:41

Martin Whiskin 0:42
It is exciting. It’s gonna be a roller coaster.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:45
It’s gonna be scary. Like I I am well prepared that I have to say that, but I didn’t script everything as we usually do. So So today, it’s kind of freestyling it. Oh, as far as you can freestyle.

Martin Whiskin 1:02
Yea, today is going to be a freestyle rap about Miller’s law.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:09
Wait, wait. What are we talking about today?

Martin Whiskin 1:13
Miller’s law, I believe

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:15
Millis law. All right.

Martin Whiskin 1:17
So I hit them straight away with a quote of the day. Yeah, please do about Miller’s law. So this is from someone called Steven Covey. And this is how prepared we were, I have no idea who he is. I didn’t do any research. So if he’s a horrible person, we apologize. Stephen Covey said, listen, with the intent to understand not the intent to reply,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:42
Which is absolutely beautiful. And the reason why it’s beautiful is because today we’re slight, we’re talking about Millers law, I’m going to try to explain as simply as I can, what it is, it’s not really that difficult to understand. But then again, it’s like as soon as you start digging into detail, so So this guy called George Miller, wrote a paper in 1965. That was called the magical number seven, plus or minus two, some limits to our capacity for processing information. And, as far as I remember, this is kind of like a sequel to a paper he wrote before about our ability to understand what people tell us. So that’s why it fits in perfectly, because there’s, there’s some, like when we’re having a conversation, and you get a lot of information, and you like, first off, you have to believe what the other person say. And then after that, you have to interpret what you make of what the other person is saying that you believe to be true. And so he’s kind of he’s is, that’s what he’s doing. George Miller is, is kind of investigating this, our, our, how our minds perceive information. And so he made this the magical number seven plus minus two, which is kind of Millers law. And what it basically means is that you, every human being can process seven items of information, or seven things, seven informations at any given time plus minus two, right? So some people, that’s five, some people, it’s nine, some people, it’s seven. So when you do things, in general, like you convey information to someone else, you typically want to lie in that, you know, spectrum. Now, the interesting part, then is, and so, I’m going to come with an example in a moment that we talked about previously, which is the shopping list. So So, so the thing is, and what he found out is, which is really, really interesting is that it’s not actually the information itself that’s important is the way that it’s presented. So as an example, remembering seven different numbers, so five different numbers is just as difficult as remembering five different words. So he works like you know, when when you work with Millis law, you work with these two different things. One is called groups, or chunking, chunks, and then bits. And so bits is bits of information and chunking is putting them together. So as human beings, we have this idea, just like we have this thing that, that we kind of like we can chunk things together. And then it’s easier to remember. So as an example, a phone number, I don’t know how many phone numbers you have, but we have eight. There’s like eight numbers, digits in the phone number if we don’t take the country code with it. And so the best way of remembering a phone number is to chunk it up. So you chunk it up in, you know, the first number, which is two digits, and then two numbers, who are three digits. So you only have to remember three numbers.

Martin Whiskin 5:33
11, and ours

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:34

Martin Whiskin 5:35
Yeah. So that’s, that’s going outside of of Miller’s law by plus four, isn’t it?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:42
But then I guess you can chunk it right. So you will chunk so when you remember your number you don’t remember all numbers, you remember, chunks of it.

Martin Whiskin 5:49
Yes, is always split up, always.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:52
So here’s a funny thing, right? So in Denmark, we have this thing, we we split it up, like there’s eight, so we split it up in four numbers. So it’s like 2, 2, 2, 2. And I read, when we’re from six numbers to eight numbers, the Danish telecom company wanted to make it two numbers, like one number of two, and then two numbers of three. So you only had to remember three. But people were so used to only having three, it’s like two numbers in each. So no matter what they did, everyone would just go like, you know, 2, 2, 2, 2. Now, I remembered my number, when I got my phone number, I found a number that was perfect for, you know, three digits. And it’s really, really funny when I have to say my phone number to some, you know, official people, or anyone, and I say it that way. And they get completely thrown off. Because that’s not what they was expecting. So you can see that I have to repeat it many times because they don’t understand it.

Martin Whiskin 6:59
So going back to going back to a previous episode, is that a convention

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:04
That is a convention that is then mixed with Millers law, right? That that is absolutely a convention that people now are used to doing it that way.

Martin Whiskin 7:12
That’s That’s proof there, again, that the podcast works, I remember that from the lesson.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:17
It’s absolutely amazing

Martin Whiskin 7:19

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:27
So I guess like, I don’t know, if you can come up, like if you can think of anything in your life where you know, you chunk stuff, if we go actually the shopping list, that was what I was supposed to talk about. And so this is why when you have a shopping list, right? Typically what you will do, you will try to chunk that information into two smaller bits, right? So you know that there’s vegetables, there’s two vegetables. So you kind of have the vegetables, you have the shopping list, which is the whole thing in your head. And then you have the different items. And when you go shop, you also have this chunking off, what are you looking for, so you kind of put things together and you look for it. If you’re an advanced shopper, like me, you know how to you know how to traverse the store.

Martin Whiskin 8:19
I think I know how to traverse the store. And then when I’m in there, I’m just all over the place back and forth.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:24
We used I used to take my kids, they loved it because we would do treasure hunts. Right. So I would give them an item and they would go treasure hunting.

Martin Whiskin 8:36

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:36
We be like pirates digging for treasure. Can you think of anything, right? So the shopping list is a good resource. If you if you reach that limit of five items or seven items that you have to remember. It’s like there’s it’s very likely that you’re going to, to forget something

Martin Whiskin 8:53
I’m trying to think. But then the example I’m coming up with is something that I remember far. From when I was about eight years old, I remember the register that was called at the beginning of class every day. And it was we might have to bleep all that said he first names and I was just the boys register and it was Gavin Trevor Martin, Steven, Tim Iqbal, Christopher Graham, Neil. Darren, Adam, Matthew, Matthew. So that’s like, was it it was an 18 or 13 or something? I always remember that. And I guess that’s just that’s different because it’s just every day I heard that repetition, repetition repetition and it just got drilled in Yeah. And 35 years later, I still remember it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:40
But so they chunk this. You were only boys

Martin Whiskin 9:43
there was girls there but they did the boys and the girls separately,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:46
right? Yeah, yeah. So they chunk that. So the names itself is is is information. In reality that is it’s kind of amazing that you remember it right so they chunk it with boys and then girls. And then you have that that list, right? I think like this, this actually brings us a little bit closer to the concept of, because typically when you talk about design and and design us look at midMillers law, they they go like they go with something called Visual chunking. And that means that you group your bits of information into chunks, and then you present the chunks, and then you can get seven chunks of information on a screen at any time or you know, a little bit more a little bit less, less is typically better. But the thing that is often missed is that Millers law is not about visual cues. It’s about information. So that means that it it kind of it goes everywhere. It’s like sounds, it’s letters, words, concepts, of, you know, smells, shopping lists, you name it. Anytime you have to process any type of information, if you have a conversation, like we’re having a conversation right now. And your brain will automatically try to chunk the things that I say, the listener, you’re like you as a listener, is trying to chunk it up, right. So we typically will chunk the episode up in, you know, the intro that quote, than the first explanation of what is the theme of today. And then in the end, we’re going to try to go into some sort of detail, and then it’s goodbye. And in between all of that we kind of put personal banter

Martin Whiskin 11:43
For season two, now we’re doing bits because we’re splitting it. And we’re putting breakers in to give people time to and then. Yeah, and the whole thing is the chunk. Right?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 11:54
Yeah. So in between breakers, right, so you put in a breaker if you put in a breaker now.

Then after this, right in between the two Breakers is like there’s a, there’s a gap. And information is like so it’s really bad that you actually put it there. Because each chunk of information and so we go back to that it’s like it’s it’s bits, which is all of the words that I say if you read a chunk of text, right, this is this is why a wall of text is bad when you have to read something. And typically, what you want to do is you want to split it up to small paragraphs. And when you then read that paragraph, you will split that up into words as well, or sentences or meanings of that, that paragraph. And so, so if we go back to the episode, I think it’s an episode about the brain where we talk about how the brain is really, really effective episode three of season one, we’re talking about how the brain is absolutely incredibly effective in coming up with things. It absolutely just makes up things. And so that’s what, what is then used in combination with that, right. So when you read a paragraph, what you will remember is key words, and the brain will chuck that into a, a chunk, and then small bits of information. And it will make up the meaning the rest of it itself when you have to remember what do you read?

Martin Whiskin 13:36
Are there different? Are there different levels of chunk? So when you’ve got, for example, a whole book, there’s information that could be a chunk on a page or a chunk go across two pages. What is the collective of chunks? I think he’s what I’m asking. So that like the whole picture.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 13:56
So. So this is absolutely magnificent. Thank you, Martin, because you’re bringing me you’re setting me up for the details.

Martin Whiskin 14:05

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:06
So now we’re going into chapter two of the episode, which is the details about the we don’t need slides, slides for amateurs. So your book is an absolute magical example. Because what we’re going to talk about in the details is something called Hierarchy. Typically, you will like any web page that is well designed, you will see a hierarchy right you, you you understand all of the visual element is is is placed in a way so that you so that you can kind of go through that hierarchy and get to the to the end point of of what it is that you need. As an example with your book, as you mentioned, you have the book that’s one chunk Then you have the different chapters, each chapter is a chunk. And then inside of that, you have the paragraphs. And inside of that you have the words. And inside of that you have the letters, right. So you have a clear hierarchy of how to read and approach the book. And you can call, you know, each paragraph a bit, as part of the chunk, that’s called a chapter. And inside of each chapter, some books will have sections, right. So you will have one section that does about something and then another section. And so you, you also mentally chunk that, so, so but there’s typically in any, any set up of something. And it’s like this setup that we’re doing now we’re doing the whole podcast as a chunk, and it have sections inside of it, as we talked about, and inside of the sections, we have smaller bits, right, and these bits actually chunk. So we have a hierarchy of how we present information. And in a book does this really, really well? I don’t know if you ever read a book that doesn’t have chapters, or

Martin Whiskin 16:11
Yes, I did. And it was called, tribes, by Seth Godin i Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of has a natural sort of thing. It doesn’t have chapters, I think it has maybe has headers. Yeah. Every now and then. But there’s no like definite break. So for me personally, when I was reading that, actually, I didn’t get like the right, I finished a chapter now like the progress sensation.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:39

Martin Whiskin 16:39
You know, you feel like you’re making progress through something. When you have these, like breakers in a podcast or chapters in a book.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:46
Yeah. Did you like it?

Martin Whiskin 16:48
Not really. It’s only a small book. And it felt like it was taking ages to read it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:53
Yeah, I listened to it as an audiobook. So I didn’t get go through that. But, but that is that’s that’s a that’s a, that’s actually a good example, that book was a little bit hard. Not that it was hard to understand or read. It was a good book. But you’re right, it is dense,

Martin Whiskin 17:15
plus an interesting audio as as a voice over artist, as a professional. Yeah, okay. Imagine that the audio book, I’m just thinking of it with no breathing in it whatsoever. So it’s just a constant stream of words.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 17:28
Exactly. And it felt a little bit like that. But, and I think that’s why breaking and pausing and speaking slowly. And in all of this is, is very, very important when you speak is like Don’t be, we have this thing in design, visual design, that you don’t have to be afraid of whitespaces. And I believe that in audio, you probably have similar sayings, like don’t be afraid of the silence, sometimes that actually brings things to the table.

Martin Whiskin 18:01
Yeah, so I was going to give an example there. So when when humans speak, we, we pause, you know, we might pause for thinking about things, or we might pause to to give weight to something. So if I say, I love you, like exactly the exact reaction I was going for, but if I’d have just said, I love you, it’s more, you know, it’s there’s not as much weight to it, because I’m not giving it that suspense almost in what’s coming next.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:38
Exactly. And you could say to some, you know, part that you, you chunk, that sentence, even though it’s only three words, then you chunk the first two words in one. And then the last one you put in its own, and you kind of put pressure on it. And so you’re really you make a clear hiearchy what what’s important is like this, and I think that’s like if we go back to the hiearchy little bit, just like typically with information, like your sentence, I love you, then there’s just like part of that. Tried to say it in a different way. I love you

Martin Whiskin 19:20
that goes back to what you were saying about it’s not necessarily about the information but about the way it’s presented. Like just those three words you can say in so many different ways. Yeah, you know, you could say it with you know, it’s the in the intention and the way that you’re engaging someone with it. You know, you could say, like I did, you know, genuine love towards you. Or you could be running away with your wife. And I’m screaming in the background. So

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:47
yeah, and if you put the pressure on I love you. It’s like there’s I’ve I really loved that. So nice is like, I guess any sentence but like I think one of the things that we missed talking About when when it comes to Hierachy. And I think your your example of I love you, which is the name of a virus from the 90s. I don’t know if you remember that.

Martin Whiskin 20:09
I remember,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 20:10
it was absolutely horrific. So it gives the user a clear look, it’s like what’s important about a hierarchy is that it gives the user or the receiver of information, a clear starting point, so I can know where to start, right? So if you look at any web page, if you listen to any read any book, if you listen to any podcasts is you typically want to make that hierarchy of where do I start, what’s, you know, what’s the beginning, and then how to dig into these different bits of information.

There’s two concepts I wanted to talk about briefly, which was information overload and decision paralysis. So this brings us on to the kind of conclusion so we have the visual, like, we have the hierarchy information here at key, which gives you a clear starting point, it gives you all of these things, and then you have these decision. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about decision paralysis,

Martin Whiskin 21:17
no, but I think I could probably work out what it is through, I won’t say anything, I’ll just see what I’ll see what happens just in case I make a fool of myself.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 21:27
So so the book called Eat That Frog, would you recommend it, which is really, really nice, it tries to get rid of that decision paralysis. And in general, decision paralysis is if you have more information that you can cope with you, you don’t know what to do. And if there’s not a clear hierarchy of, of, you know, how information is stacked, then, then you become unable to do anything. And so, so your book about Eat That Frog is very much about chunking your tasks, and the stuff that you need to do during the day. So so, you know, we can see that you can see that when people get stressed, it’s typically not because they can’t really do all of the tasks, they, you know, have all that they missed, like typically, it feels like you’re missing time or you can’t get in. But but in reality, what it is, is you chunk your tasks, you remove the stuff that you don’t need to attend to right now. And then you focus on one thing. And when I’m really really stressed, that’s what I do was like, I take all of the tasks one by one. And if someone is depending on it, I’ll just tell them, I can’t do this, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to do it, and then move it somewhere else. And it just, it’s an insane stress reliever.

Martin Whiskin 23:00
This last week, I I’ve got quite a few different projects on the go at the minute. And they’re all they all need to be finished. And there’s all lots to do still. And I started breaking up my days, like two hours of that one, two hours of that one, two hours of that one, and then two hours of that one. But at the end of each day, I was single I’m not getting, I’m not really getting very far, because I’m only having like, two hours of each project sort of thing. So as I write three can wait, nothing’s going back to your phrase, what you’ve said in a few episodes, I think is about what will happen? Or Will anybody die if I don’t do those? Now for the past, yeah, that was two weeks ago, I think now for the for the past week, I’ve been just working on one task to try and get it to its end. And we’re getting there, we’re getting there.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:48
So you’re kind of like digging your way through it but not getting stressed because you take one task at a time and you and you kind of complete that at a professional level. And I think that there’s like, you know, decision, paralysis and information overload ties like, fits together like that. It’s it’s when you look at your task list, and it’s just one long list, you don’t know where to start and you get paralysis like you don’t, you know, you can’t make a decision. And there was a there was a fun experiment of I can’t remember who did it and where it comes from. But there was they would do this thing where you could win something and then you had a specific amount of seconds to find that object. And then you could take that if you could find it, something like that. And then you had the other one, which was you can take all of the objects you want within this timeframe. And typically when they knew or what was told what to take, what you can take, people would take it like they would get more stuff because they wouldn’t have to decide as like it’s just more expensive. And so you have this thing where because all of options in the store was available. They were unable to actually make a decision of clearing the shelves.

Martin Whiskin 25:06
Are we talking about Supermarket Sweep?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:08
I don’t know.

Martin Whiskin 25:08
Um, yeah, so Supermarket Sweep was a TV show where that situation where you you’re given a trolley, they’re told that if you pick up this specific item, it’s worth double the money or whatever. And then so they, some contestants would run to get those first because they would see them as that. And they’d remember those ones. But as we’re just trying to blitz as much stuff as possible, all at once hoping that the sheer volume of things would outweigh getting a special prize.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:35
I think these kind of shows us based on that research that was done on that, right. So you do this thing where you give people a lot of different decisions to choose between, or a lot of different information to choose between, and then you will see how they cope with that. Also men and women. I don’t know if you should talk about this. But it’s not gonna it’s not in this. It’s absolutely not looking good for men.

So there’s, there’s this Danish scientist brain scientist called Madsen is his last name. He’s like, he’s called the brain brain, the brain madsen, like his surname, and instead of his first name is called the brain. But he does a lot of hidden and he did some, some, he wrote some stuff, and he did some things. And he also did some TV stuff. And he have this experiment where he’s trying to show something. And and, and he’s talking to men and women doing dishes, like washing up manually with the hand. And then he’s telling you them that the the experiment is something about like, how fast can you do it? No, how well, will you do the dishes? Right? So they think that that’s what it but what it really is about is how well do you focus on the task at hand? And so you see the men kinda, doing the dishes, and then he asked him a question. And without exception, all of the men stops washing up. Now, there’s multiple different laws, while they’re, you know, processing that question, and then answering it. And when, without exception, all of the women just keeps washing up and then answer the questions at the same time. Right. So this is obviously about multitasking, it’s about how our brains are different men and women. And and, and why men can’t focus like was like there’s, you will see these patterns in men’s behavior. And this is one of them, where if we get too much information, we’re very bad at handling that together with doing other tasks like we are, we are really, really depending on Chucking.

Martin Whiskin 28:02
Poor us.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:03
Poor us. It sucks. But there’s so many other things that we can do. You know, we can, for example, take risks and be unreasonable confident in ourself. These these are things.

Martin Whiskin 28:20
Yeah. Bad jokes!

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:22
Well, but I think it’s like this, like, Do you have any questions? Because I think that’s the end of it.

Martin Whiskin 28:28
This is an enjoyable episode for me, because it’s concepts that I can, I can understand,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:33

Martin Whiskin 28:36
You know, information overload. That’s, you know, I’ve got to do lists as long as my arm as long as both arms actually. And every now and then I will look through it and be like, ah, that is, that is a lot. But you can’t look at it like that, you have to step back and do the hierarchy, which, you know, which I learned from Eat That Frog.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:58

Martin Whiskin 28:58
And I pick the thing that either, you know, is a paid job, they always have to come first, obviously. And then after that, it will be, you know, projects that can lead to paid work or, you no further my career, that sort of things as always, but it doesn’t deplete the list of small, annoying jobs that that mean, very, very little. So quite often, every, every couple of months, I will go through that list, and just scribble some of it out. Because if I haven’t done it for a couple of months, it can’t be that important. Yeah. I tried to be quite brutal that way. Because you can just get the feeling of overwhelm and then that’s not good for anybody.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 29:39
No. I do that with stuff. Like papers, important papers, you know, invoices and bills and stuff. And so I have this bag, oh, I have this, what they call it, place that I put it and then when it builds up, I’ll take the entire stack and put it in a bag and then put it up in the attic and then put it date on it. And then at some point, I look at it and it’s a year old and I didn’t look at it or throw it up without looking at it do this was boxes as well.

Martin Whiskin 30:09
It’s strangely, what’s the word I’m looking for? It frees up the mind doing that.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:14

Martin Whiskin 30:14
Somehow because even though you haven’t looked at it, when you get rid of it is the sense of, I don’t have to think about that anymore. Even though you haven’t looked at it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:22
Exactly. And I’m, I’m oblivious to What’s in that bag. I just know that I set out to throw it out at some point. And I know that if I opened the box, open the bag and looking at it, there will be stuff that I won’t throw out. So I don’t throw it up blindly.

Martin Whiskin 30:41
For anyone listening. You should always shred that sort of stuff before you throw it out. Because of course

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:47
Wait a minute?

Martin Whiskin 30:48
there won’t be people there’s people out there stealing your identity left, right. And

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:56
you’re right. I never thought of that

Martin Whiskin 30:58
I do have a shredder but it doesn’t get you

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:01
this slightly trusted suggestion box. Whenever one comes with a small annoying task, you say? Don’t worry, I’ll put it in the suggestion box. See, get to it later. So I think that’s it. That’s that’s this episode. So I guess. See you next time.

Martin Whiskin 31:22
Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us at hiddenbydesign.net. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please as well. Thank you.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:48
Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 31:49

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:50
We love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

S2E3 – Hicks Law

How fast, or how slow, are you at taking action and making desicions ? Well, that really depends on how many things you are supposed to relate to, how clear the hieracy of the design is presented, how much else is disturbing the picture, and etc. Hicks law is a way to calculate your designs and how hard it will be to use, and it looks like this:

RT = a + b log2 (n)
Response time = personal + environmental * Log2(number)

This episode is HARD CORE 😀 And you really have to hang on to get it all.
If you have questions, this might be the episode where you should ask!


S1E3 – The brain

S1E5 – Flow




Eat that frog

S2E2 – Gamification

Gamification is NOT when you add a leaderboard and set highscores. Gamification is NOT when you simply take popular gamemechanics and push them into your designs, thinking that it will increase engagement.

But what is is then?

Listen to this episode about gamification, and you will learn what gamification is. You will also learn how to identify it, and what important elements you need to have in order to engage your users with gamification.


The Episode about Flow

S2E1 – Deceptive Design

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

Season 2 kicks off with a bang as we dive into the intriguing world of Deceptive Design (formerly referred to as “Dark Design”). We’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding it and show you how to steer clear of its pitfalls.

In this exciting episode, we’ll explore a range of captivating topics, from Indulgences to marital infidelity and Amazon’s controversial auto-subscription delivery service. All these elements share a common thread – they’re not the villains themselves but rather how they’re used.

Throughout our discussions, we’ll peel back the layers of complexity surrounding deceptive design, using a hammer to illustrate that the tools themselves aren’t inherently bad; it’s all about how designers wield them that makes the difference. Join us for an eye-opening journey through the world of design ethics!

And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, stay tuned for a bonus segment where we grapple with the perplexing challenge of selecting our top three onions and imagine what we’d do if given the chance to redesign the onion itself. Intrigued? Don’t miss out!


Episode 6 – Noise and Biases – Our episode that explains the idea of Noise and Biases

https://www.deceptive.design/ – An amazing place to start reading more about Deceptive design, and the histroy behind it.

https://growth.design/psychology Find your different Biases here.

S2E0 – A small teaser while we wait.

We have ended season 1.

And to be honest, we cannot wait to start releasing Season 2 and all of the amazing stuff we have in store for you.
So, stay tuned, in a couple of weeks we will be with you again, and start releasing the next season. With all of our podcast learnings applied, and a few guests as well along the line.

Thank you for listning, and see you on the other side 🙂

S1E14 – Questions

With this season finale we are answering questions that you, the listeners, have been asking. So, take a few minutes to sit down and listen to us funble around, trying to answer these excelent questions !

You will learn the following

  • Why roofings have a pitch (And we will learn about “The Potatohole)
  • Is there a rotation and trends in design that repeats itself over time?
  • Is the “Decoy effect” only effective for marketing purposes? And how does it relate to bringing your ugly friend to the Disco?

Thank you for listening to our podcast, it have been a blast making it, and we learned so much 🙂


Lego Mindstorm

Bermuda Roofing

The decoy effect
Short explainer video
Longer video

If you want to get in contact, or just ask us questions, you can find us here

Martin Whiskin

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen

S1E13 – Season End, “The test”

The season finale is upon us, but fear not, its only a short break while we prepare season 2.

We will be back in September again.

In this episode you will learn if Martin paid attention during class, and that Thorbjorn prepared some really though questions for Martin to answer.

So Quizz along with Martin here, and see if you can get a better result than Martin.

See you in Season 2. Where we improved a lot of things, so dont miss out!

S1E12 – Gestalt

“Alright, folks! Buckle up for another mind-bending episode of Hidden By Design, where we unravel the mysteries of perception with a dash of humor and a sprinkle of wit. Prepare to have your mind blown!

According to the legendary words of Gustave Flaubert, ‘There is no truth. There is only perception.’

In this episode we talk about the fascinating concept of perception from the angle of “Gestalt laws of perceptual organization”.

Your brain is like a supercomputer, taking in the world around you and serving up a customized reality that suits your taste. It’s like your brain is the ultimate DJ, remixing the chaos of the world into a catchy tune that you can groove to.

We will be taking on the laws one by one. From the intriguing ‘Figure Ground’ to the difficult to pronounce ‘Law of Prägnanz,’ we’ll break them down and make them as easy to digest as your favorite snack.

Once you learn these laws, you’ll never look at the world the same way again.

By the time this episode wraps up, you’ll have basic knowledge of the 8 Gestalt laws—Figure Ground, Law of Prägnanz, Uniform Connectedness, Good Continuation, Proximity, Closure, Common Fate, and Similarity.

Thorbjørn ask Martin a LOT of interesting questions and the conversation gets a little be off track, when Martin mentions is Squad cage.. witch for some reason sends Thorbjørn into a “hard to control giggle” – he never knew that there was such a thing!

This brings us to the big takeaway. The world is a crazy place, and our brains are the ultimate simplifiers, which is really good as it enables us to comprehend, but also a thing that is good to be aware of as it will often result in us misleading ourselves.

Join us on this episode, and have some “perception party time!”

Disclaimer: No brains were harmed during the making of this episode. We promise.

There is a lot of references to other episodes, but in particular Episode 3 – The Brain is used as a reference point.







S1E11 – Emotional Design

Welcome to our latest episode on Hidden by Design where we will be talking about ‘Emotional Design,’ we dive deep into the magical world of aesthetics and its impact on our creativity and problem-solving abilities.

As Don Norman famously stated, ‘attractive things make people feel good, which in turn makes them think more creatively.’ And who doesn’t want a little more creativity in their lives?

To understand the nuances of emotional design, we embark on a journey through the depths of our mind (and Marins Guitars, hehe). We will cover the Viceral, Behavioural, and Reflective parts of our psyche, as these elements influence us and our actions as humans, often without us even realizing it.

We explore the different dimensions of design and Functional Design, Reliable Design, Usable Design, and finally Emotional Design. Each layer plays a vital role in creating products and experiences that captivate hearts and minds. But it’s emotional design that adds that extra sprinkle of magic, the cherry on top of the design cake.

Why do we strive to create emotional design, you ask? It’s because we’re not just designers; we’re sorcerers of delight, architects of joy. We understand that our creations have the power to elicit smiles, spark inspiration, and tug at heartstrings. And isn’t that what life’s all about? We want to craft experiences that make people feel something, that leave a lasting impression.

So, buckle up and join us as we unravel the concept of emotional design. Get ready to be enchanted by the fusion of aesthetics and functionality, and remember, as designers, we have the power to make the world a happier and more delightful place, one beautifully crafted experience at a time. Let’s spread some design magic, shall we?”

While listening to this episode we mention Episode 8 – Usability and Measuring Design and Episode 3 – The Brain


The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman (I know, I know.. I said the wrong title in the podcast)

Emotional Design – Love Everyday things, Don Norman

Chriss Hannon Creative wrote this nice article about emotional design

Interaction-Design.org have this nice post about emotinal design

Topal super post about Emotional Design

Another amazing article from uxdesign

S1E10 – Colours

What do you really know about colours? That there is 3 primary colours, or do you know the colour wheel.. or who invented the colour wheel?

Well, we can promise you, that in this episode of Hidden by Design, we will teach you something that you did not know. If that is not the case, we will do a full refund 😉

We go through the theory of how the eye work, what warm and cold colours are.

In the end, we talk a bit about how you can apply all the things we talked about to the work you do.

And a few fun facts at the end.

Sit down, and enjoy this episode of Hidden By Design


The Elements of Color – Johannes Itten, Bauhaus

The Art of Color – Johannes Itten, Bauhaus

S1E9 – Mental Models

Perception and reality is two different things!

This is the quote that we start out this episode with, and it set the stage for what you are about to learn.

What is actually there is not the same as what people believe is there. And this creates the foundation for how people will try to interact and operate your designs. Mental models is what users know, or think they know, about a system or object, and how it should be operated. Listen to learn more!

As a designer, or someone who create experiences for others, this is really important to understand, as this is fundamental when creating something nice.

So, what is a conceptual model? And how can you use mental models? This is some of what you will be learning by listening to this episode of Hidden By Design.


Sweden and shifting side of driving

Toothpaste, and the feeling of smooth [Link Coming]

Start with why by Simon Sinek

S1E8 – Usability and Measuring Design

Is it possible to meassure how good your design is?

In this episiode we will be discussing Utility and Usability, how they are connected and talk about how this is part of understanding and creating userfriendly design.

There is 5 traits of good usability as described by Nielsen and Normann.
Learnability, Effeciency, Memorability, Errors and Satisfaction

We will go through each of these, and help you understand what they mean and how you can use this understanding to become a better designer.

We are referencing the episodes of Affordance and Conventions, which you should listen to as well as this episode.


Nielsen and Normann Group – Usability 101 Introduction to usability

Interaction Design.org – Usability

S1E7 – What is intuitive design

Have you ever heard someone say: “Thats not intuitive!” ?

Well, chances are that you have, and especailly, as a designer, you will hear this phrase a lot.

But what does it mean?

In this episode of Hidden by design, we will explore the idea of intuition, and what it means for the way that you experience the world.

You will learn, that intuition is subjective, and it relies on your past experiences.

We talk about what art is (finally, this is the definition you have been waiting for your entire life)

Note: In the episode, I claim that the painting “Red, Yellow and Blue” was destroyed twice, although some believe that is was destroyed twice, once when it was attacked, and again when it was restored. The second real attack on the painting never succeded. I have added a link in the reference section of these shownotes. This was simply a memory slip from my side 😉


After we stopped recording, we had a conversation, and started recording again, as there was more to be said.


Whos afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue

Comedian – Banana Duch taped to a wall

Take the money and run

S1E6 – Noise and Biases

Do you have good judgment? Are you able to reflect properly on available information, and come to a sensible conclusion?

What can affect your ability to come to this conclusion?

Get the answers to all of these question by listening to this episode of Hidden by Design, where we take you through some of the things that will influence your ability to make good decisions, and maintain a good judgement!

You will learn what an Anchor is, how Confirmation Bias affects your beliefs, self assesment bias can help you in your creative journey and how knowing all of this will make you more prone to the negative effects of them in the G.I Joe Bias!


Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman – Noise: A flaw in human Judgement

S1E5 – Flow

Did you ever say that you were in flow? Most of us have, but have you really thought about what it means, and where the word “flow” comes from?

In this episode of “Hidden by Design” we are going to take you into the realm of optimal experience, and talk a bit about how to get others and yourself into flow, and why this is an extremly important idea, both when you are create User Experience and when doing game Design!

Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.
Søren Kirkegård

You will learn that Flow is an activity, that you are so involved in, that nothing else matters. It’s a complete focus on the task at hand, Where your ego leaves the body.

If you have not heard it, it is a good idea to listen to Episode 3 – The Brain before listening to this episode.

Thank you for listening, this means the world to us.


Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

S1E4 – Constraints and Conventions

Our brains really like that things are the way it believes that things should be! So, how do we determine how our brain believe that things should be?

Give this episode a listen, as we discuss the ideas of constraints and convensions.

I’m in favor of progress; it’s change I don’t like. – Mark Twain

What are constraints and conventions, and how can we use them when doing design?

In the episode we split constraints into 3 categories

  • Physical Constraints (Not big enough, or too big.)
  • Logical Constraints (Can I figure it out, do I have cognitive power)
  • Cultural Constraints (Reading from left to right, Gamers, etc)

This is then related to conventions, which then again leads to talking about the good old days.

Find out all of the basics you need to know about Constraints and Conventions by listening to this Episode of Hidden by Design.

Its a good idea (but not nessecary) to listen to Episode 3 – The Brain, before listening to this one.


Don Normanns Book – The Design of Everyday Things

S1E3 – The Brain

This Episode will cover how the brain work, and what to be aware of as a designer.

How does the human brain work? (It doesent)
What is Automatic thinking and Reflective thinking? How do we remember things? (We dont)

“Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true!” – Homer Simpson

The the answer to all of these questions and much more will be discussed in this Episode of Hidden By Design.


100 Things that every designer should know about people

Atomic Habits: an Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Don Normanns Book – The Design of Everyday Things

Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow

S1E2 – Affordance

Affordance is one of the Key ingredients to understand in Design.

Affordance, is a word that is thrown around a lot in Design. But what does it actually means, and how do you approach it as a designer?

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are! Anaïs Nin? Babylonian Talmud? Immanuel Kant? G. T. W. Patrick? H. M. Tomlinson? Steven Covey? (We do not know who said this)

This episode explains this really difficult topic of what affordances is, and how you should percieve it as a designer. We cover other things like, signifiers, toddlers and their perception of chairs, and a lot of other topics.


Don Normanns Book – The Design of Everyday Things

JJ Gibsons Idea of Affordance – The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception – Chapter 8

Interactiondesign.org article on Affordance

S1E1 – What is design

Hidden by Design Episode 1 – What is Design

Design, what is it? A question that have a lot of different opinions attached to it.

Design, and the job of a Designer, often gets reduced to “Just make it look pretty” or “This is not intuitive”. But what is design then, if it is not just about making things look great? Get the answer by listen to “Hidden by Design”. In this very first episode will will discuss and set straight what Design really is.

We open up this episode with a quote from a guy called Cast Stengel, an American Baseball player.

Never make predictions, especially about the future! 
Casy Stengel!

This opens up the conversation about the essence of design, that as a designer, your job is to predict the future.

We also touch on the idea of keeping your tounge straight and the difference between computers and human beings.

The conclusion is: Design is planning ahead by making people do or behave in a specific way.


Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow

Don Norman – Design of Everyday Things Revised Expanded

The Decision Lab – Decoy Effect

Personal notes for this episode

I was thinking recently, that maybe my notes will make things easier. As you can see, its not everything that we talked about in the show. But these were my initial notes on this episode


Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:02
Hi, my name is Thorbjørn, and I’m your teacher.

Martin Whiskin 0:06
And my name is Martin, and I’m your student,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:09
you’re listening to hidden by design, a podcast about design for ordinary people, I guess,

Martin Whiskin 0:16
are you calling me ordinary?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:17
For everyone? A podcast about design for everyone. We believe that the most pleasurable and best design is the design you don’t see. That’s why it’s called Hidden by design, and the kind of design that works without you noticing. Typically, if you notice that you don’t notice the design, that’s when you will notice that it’s just a nice experience. Everything we say in the show is our own opinion, and interpretation of current knowledge and how that trends are. And what’s happening. And it’s what we understand. Now. We might be right, we might be wrong. But it doesn’t really matter. If you think we’re wrong, and you want to challenge what we’re talking about and what we’re saying or what I’m teaching, then just write us, because we hope to become better designers and smarter people. And to use this in our everyday life. Thank you for listening.

Never make predictions, especially about the future. My name is Thorbjørn. And I’m a designer. I have a small game company that I run, where I also do design. And I’m accompanied today by Martin, who im attempting to I guess, to teach about design.

Martin Whiskin 1:40
I haven’t I haven’t had a teacher for about 25 years. Soooo

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:46
I promise I won’t be strict.

Martin Whiskin 1:47
Well, I quite like that. So

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:50
All right. All right. Then there’ll be district teacher talk, Martin, will you introduce yourself?

Martin Whiskin 1:54
Yeah. So my name is Martin whisking. And I’m a voice over artist, and I’m part of the poly spice team. And yeah, I’m here because I know nothing about design or seemingly know nothing about design. We’ve had a chat about this last week. And it appears that I did know about design, but didn’t know that I knew about design. I hope that makes sense.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:15
Exactly. Well, hopefully after this episode, it will be making sense to because design is everywhere. And it’s in everything. And I think you know today’s episode, which is just what is design is going to be talking about the specific bits about everywhere. Because like design is everywhere. The Quote of today, which is never make predictions, especially about the future is the exact opposite of what design is. It’s a dude called Casey Stengel, which I have no idea who is saying it’s just a quote. There’s a quote I found on the internet, which is, you know, you find stuff there

Martin Whiskin 2:57
Could be a complete nobody.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:58
Exactly, exactly. The other one was from a guy called Yogi Berra. So, so, yeah. So, I think, you know, we kind of covered, it’s not that difficult, like the core, or the big concept of what design is, is planning ahead or predicting the future. And there’s really not much more to it. And so as a designer, really, you have a lot of tools that you can work with, in order to trying to plan ahead and predicting the future. And typically, you will do that with, you know, either shaping the, the path that I use, or we call it an actor, and I’m going to explain that in a minute. But someone using an object or like a designed thing is, you know, we create as a designer, you create a decision architecture, you, you plan ahead by saying, Alright, the user will do this at this point. And that will make them understand that then they can do this at the next stage. So, you know, if we want to advance it a little bit, like make it a little bit more advanced in terms of planning ahead, then one of the tools that we have as designers is that the knowledge that, that in order to do that, there’s a relationship between an actor, which is, you know, an actor can be a lot of things. It can be an audience, or it can be individual, it the actor is the person or the persons that you’re trying to get to do something. So the actor has to really

Could it be an animal?

It could be an animal, it absolutely could be an animal

Martin Whiskin 4:45
I try to think of things that that things that weren’t humans that might have to react to something

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 4:50
exactly. So it’s you know, the act can be anything, it could also be a machine and so can the object. So you have you have this You know, relationship between an actor and an object. And you know, the object could also be anything, it can be a speech, or it can be, you know, an emotion or anything, but you can react to that object, and the relationship between the actor and the object is designed. And so typically you will have the actor and an object in an environment. And so the understanding of the environment in relation to myself, if we just take the simple model and say, an actor is a person, then that person is an environment. And, and I understand myself in this environment, which makes me capable of understanding my relationship with the object that that I the designer is creating. This is me trying to make it very, very simple. But does it make sense?

Martin Whiskin 5:57

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 5:57
that you have these three, you know, the environment that you’re in, and the actor and the objects, and then you make that decision architecture between the actor and the objects, you create decisions that I have to make in order to go. So if you put an animal as an actor in a maze, which it’s the object, but also the environment, you can make them, you know, follow a specific path. If you don’t make any junctions, you will just make them go from one end to the other. And so that’s the design right? So a thing that, that people generally understand is computers, right? In when you’re a programmer, or a developer, what you do is typically make a computer do something. So in many ways, you’re, you know, you’re designing for a robot or a computer. And, and so here is, as a designer, you really have to keep your tongue straight, or I don’t know, is there an English expression? In Denmark, you have this? Keep your tongue straight means, you know, look ahead and and focus

Martin Whiskin 7:12
Uhhmm, Yeah, it would be, I don’t know, I guess the negative way of saying it would be tunnel vision. So you’re just looking in one direction?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 7:20
Yeah, yes, yeah. But here, you have to focus. Because when you are programming a computer, you do this by making logical instructions, right, you type down and you like, with a computer, you’re also trying to predict the future. And you’re making logical arguments. So instructions to the computer is, if this happened, then do this, if this happens, then do that, right. So in many ways, when you’re programming on the computer, you’re trying to predict what’s going to happen, and then you’re telling the computer how to react to these instructions, like these, these environmental changes, right? With a human, you are also programming humans. But instead of logical instructions, you use emotional instructions. So path of the decision architecture is emotional instructions in in this is how you behave because most of the behavior of a human being comes from emotions, right? If you’re angry, angry, you, you, you know, you will lash out, or you will be frustrated or use like happy, all of these small emotions kind of dictates how you behave.

Martin Whiskin 8:39
So this is where when we were chatting before that, that I felt most sort of bonded to this part because when you started talking about humans and how it’s tied to emotion, then being a voice actor, one of the first things we have to ask about every script we do is how do we want the audience to feel and of course, that’s all to do with emotions. And that’s exactly what you’re saying here. So, this bit this bit I’m getting

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 9:06
and that is a really, really, really good question. Right? So because making people feel is making people act and you will see this from a lot of different commercials and a lot of different things that you observe in everyday life is this emotional instruction like if you can make a person feel you can make them act. And so typically, when you know when someone talks about emotional instructions or emotions in general, you you get this feeling that these are big emotions, right? It’s like anger or a tantrum or slight you someone throws a fit or is frustrated so that they don’t know what to do with themself but these are micro instructions of micro emotions. Some very, very tiny, you know, I feel a little bit good. I feel You know, connected to this person I see a picture of right.

Martin Whiskin 10:03
And sometimes it could be that they don’t even realize that it’s happening, it’s just a natural thing, especially if they’re immersed in what they’re doing.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 10:11
Exactly right. So so for example, you will see a picture of a person smiling, and that person is relatable. So typically, you will pick your audience, and you will find a person that you somehow, either by the way that they dress or the way that they look like, you know, it’s a male or a female, and you will relate to that person on the picture, and then you will see the person smiling, and that triggers a micro emotion inside of you. And so that makes you act upon that picture, because you want to be with that person, or you want to do something with that person, not your, you know, cognitive thinking part of the brain. But the lizard, you know, the old old part of the brain kind of reacts to this. And, and so most of all of our action comes from that part of the brain. There’s guy called Kahneman, who split it up into two the brain into two, the reflective part and the automatic parts. And, and I want to talk about that in a later episode, because it’s really digging into, you know, behavioral, like how how, how we behave as human beings, but also how animals behave. And then, you know, robots is a little bit different, but it’s kind of the same principles is said, you you try to do this, you know, prediction of the future. But I guess that’s, that’s more or less it, right? If you have to, if we have to just stay on the very high level of what design is, we end up with, you know, that design is planning ahead, by making people do or behave in a specific way or a certain way, right? We make them, we make them do things, as I’m going to touch just lightly here in the end, on this theoretic part about, you know, we, it sounds now, once I’m done with this, that what we’re really doing as designers is just manipulating people. And so typically, manipulating people is a very negative, you know, imbued I don’t know imbued is the right word, it’s like it’s, it’s a negative word, it tells a negative story. And obviously, some designers do manipulate people, I like to say that slightly a good designer, guides people. And so I think there’s, there’s something called Dark design patterns. And there’s something called, there’s another term that’s called nudging, which is making, you know, small micro, not just in a direction, so that in the end, like, it’s basically the decision architecture, right? It’s like nudging people in a specific direction. And in the end, they make the decision that you want them to do. And so the difference between, you know, just design a dark design patterns is that with design, you want to make people’s life better. Right, so you’re making them, you’re notching them, you’re putting them in a direction where that life of that actor gets better. Whereas dark design patterns, you want to make your life or your company’s life or, you know, a cause. So you’re not in it for the individual who you are designing for. You want them to make something or take actions that leads them to do something that’s not desirable for them. But for you,

Martin Whiskin 13:58
there was something that you said about manipulating people and guide guiding people. And there’s something that I do when I when I meet businesses, I’ve got a little pitch that I do and one of the things that I say in there is one of the things I do is I control consumers minds without them knowing by using my voice. And that feeds in your in terms of other design. People just accept, don’t they? It’s just there it happens. Yeah, yeah,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:25
absolutely. And it’s back to the smiling person or the friendly voice or anything that makes you think, ah, that is something I would like to follow. And then there’s the other one where, you know, companies use specific techniques to make you pay or pay a higher rate or there’s you know, there’s a technique called the decoy effect, and I believe that everyone see this all the time. So the mind work in the way where any number you see it We can’t make decision or we don’t understand thing unless it’s in relation to something else. So everything we see and experience is based on the relationship we have with some other experience we had. So the trick here is to either make a very high or very low number, and it doesn’t have to be related to what you’re going to see next, it just sets an anchor of your perception of the next thing. So if you write, you know, a million people do this thing, and then the next screen will be in here is the price, then it’s it, it feels like it the deep part of the brain, it feels like a lower number than it really is. Because you put it in relation to the big number that you just saw. Okay? Then they take it even further. And they go like, you have the free option here. And then you have the Pro option here. And then you have the small business option in the middle. And that’s called the decoy effect, where they set the high number of the professional so high. And the low number like the free version, or the very cheap version, so low, so that you you kind of have this dis gap in between, and then the one they really want you, which is the one that typically gets like the best offer. You know, it’s like a little mark, and they put it closer to the high offer because it you know, but then it feels like alright, the high offer is, is giving me all of these features, but only these two are different from the one that’s a little bit lower. So that’s obviously a better choice. So it feels like it’s cheaper, while it’s actually really expensive. And they get you to pay a higher, higher rate. By doing this, do you see this with ice cream as well?

Martin Whiskin 16:53
That’s the more relatable topic. Yes.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 16:57
So you have a small ice cream, and you have the big ice cream, and then you have the medium ice cream. And the medium ice cream is always just a little bit cheaper than the big one, but almost as big. And so you can

Martin Whiskin 17:08
choose that. Oh, I’m going to notice this next time I go to the ice cream parlor.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 17:12
Yeah, exactly. Like, you’ll know, the decoy effect is just used everywhere. If you have three choices, look at the prices, and you will see that they want you to do something, it’s it’s an it’s a dark design pattern is they do this to trick you into paying more money

Martin Whiskin 17:26
Well hopefully, you know, this is educating people and to open their eyes to these things,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 17:32
I hope so. that was actually the hope of doing this. I don’t know, like I have an example of a car, and how a designer and an engineer kind of work differently. Because typically, you know, as we talked about an engineer, typically, you know, designs or program, computers, but engineers also do stuff. It’s like when designing a car. It’s really interesting. So so this my example with the car is, is an example where typically there’s a vision overlap. And as a designer, just like a very important to understand all the things that happens in general, and understand the systems that you’re designing for, like both the environment, which is would be the car and the interior of the car, and that environment that the actor, which is the driver is going to sit in. And then the objects. So let’s just imagine that we designed a car, we made a car, and the brakes, it doesn’t have any brakes, right? Somehow, we forgot to add the brakes. So now we have a problem. You know, there’s there’s a, you know, all of the product managers are now investigating the market and they see there’s an overwhelming need. From people who’s asking, Can we please make the car stop? Right? It’s like, it’s really great that the car can go. But we also need it to stop once in a while. Right? It’s, you know, it makes turning corners really difficult when you’re at high speed velocity. Right. And, and also, respecting red lights is also a problem. So the designer and the engineer sits down and they talk together about right how are we going to do this. So what the engineer will do is they will go into this with a functional mindset, right? They need to make the brakes work, the meet the need to make the brakes work so that we can stop the car. And the designer solves the same problem. But from an emotional mindset, right? So they think about how can we make the driver trust the brakes? And how can we make the brakes do as the actor expected to? Right? So there’s this tension of friction between the engineer and the designer, because both of them wants to solve the problem. And they have, you know, two different approaches to it, which makes everything very strong. If if, if you can, you know, use that to your advantage. So one of the things set the designer will do is they will talk to users and try to understand, the mindset of that user and say, Alright, we don’t need the car to stop, right. So a button that stops the car is not what the user wants, right? Even though and the engineer will go, well, we understand that if you can’t break, you know, you will drive into houses or trees, or some accident will happen. So we need something that’s reliable, and that will work every time. And something that can be trusted. And so, so the combination of feeling that I can trust, and that I can actually trust. So here’s where the design work, where a lot of people get confused, because the design work actually starts way before the brakes, right? So there’s a, there’s a desire that the, if we make a brake pedal, the more I push the pedal, the more it will break, right, so it can control the force. That’s kind of engineer design thing, what where the Designer comes into place. And this is like, as a kid, I remember hearing this, like someone says, In at BMW, or like these other Volkswagen, they have, they have a person whose only job is to make the sound the door makes when it shuts sound, just right. In our mind, as kids, we were just like, wow, that sounds stupid. Why would you ever do that? And the reason you want to do that, is that that sound, kind of if we talk about decision architecture, that sound is the first step in making the user understand that this is a solid car that I can trust. The interior designers like how does it feel when I sit in the car? Does it feel kind of, you know, plasticky? Or does it feel solid, it makes me trust the car. And it makes me trust the brakes, right? If I get into a car that where the the door is like, it feels like it’s gonna fall off. And when I touched the gas pedal, it’s kind of loose, a little bit loose, right? And the brakes is the same, right? There’s, they’re not attached properly, like and feels that they don’t have it or not attached properly. And there’s a little bit too much leeway in the steering wheel and all of these things, right? That makes me trust it less. So now I will drive a little bit different because I don’t trust the car. And I don’t trust that the brakes will work if I hit them.

Martin Whiskin 22:52
So it’s all about the bigger picture of the the the whole the whole thing of the car than than just working on those brakes. It starts right at the beginning.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 23:02
Yeah, because it’s designers we can we understand that threat, that decision at that moment relies on all of the other things in how the environment around you, right, so the environment is the car, which makes you trust that the object which is the brakes will work as intended. I don’t like this. I think this is this is a good example, also to understand the difference between, you know, engineering and, and and design, because they’re typically mixed together a little bit. But I think, I don’t know, do you have any more questions?

Martin Whiskin 23:38
There was one thing that you were you summarized it in the middle of the episode, I think when you said and I wrote this down, specifically, because I thought it is a really good quote. Design is planning ahead by making people do or behave in a specific way. And that’s so plain to me. And also, like I said, because of what I do, you know, that’s what I do. I make people behave in a certain way, like I tried with my voice. If it’s a commercial, like the example you used. You try and make them react, or do something or feel something, it doesn’t even need to be to go and buy a product, you know, you could make them remember something or just build association with a brand. And yeah, that so that that that totally just summed it up for me.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:22
But that’s really nice. Yeah, so design is planning ahead by making people do or behave in a specific way. Yeah, maybe that’s, that’s, that’s a good. That’s a good headline.

Martin Whiskin 24:33
And maybe that’s a good place to wrap up as well.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:37
So that is design. So I guess next episode, I want to talk about something called affordances or affordance.

Martin Whiskin 24:45
I have literally no idea what that is not just because I don’t think there’ll be more questions next episode.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 24:52
Yes, absolutely. Eight so so I wanted to start like I think we should start out a little bit simpler. Just get the ground works. Skinner in place. So I talked about some of the tools and I think the next couple of episodes will be about some of the tools we have as designers. And one of these tools or one of these understandings that we have about things is something called affordances. And and very interesting.

Martin Whiskin 25:21
I look forward to it. Well, thank you, teacher.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:25
Thank you for being a very good pupil. That concludes it.

Martin Whiskin 25:29
Cool. We’ll see you next time. See you next time.