April 19, 2021

Design and Play

When I think about my early career in design I think fondly of the time I spent making and sharing work on Dribbble. I was new to design and the community provided me a place to create work on my own terms and share it with an audience that was supportive and inspiring. The work I posted on Dribbble wasn’t for my day job. It wasn’t for school. It was a creative way for me to play with the knowledge I was gathering as I entered design. In addition to that, it felt like I was exploring this new knowledge with others. We were collectively on that journey together.

As my career has moved forward, I have tried to retain a sense of play with my design practice. My history in brand design has left me with a desire to explore abstract concepts and create things from a blank canvas. Design systems and product design have changed our need for the blank canvas, but play can exist in that world.

Playing with design is about exploration. It’s about going beyond what we think and having fun tinkering with the unknown. In thinking about this topic, I found this great video of Erin Jang speaking about purposeful play. It’s worth watching and pairing with this podcast on the beginner’s mind.

In the future, I’ll be looking for more playful opportunities. I think we can all benefit from more of it. We can discover new opportunities that are right under our noses and push our work forward, all while having fun.

February 28, 2021

Flexibility for Creative Productivity

Creative productivity is different from traditional productivity. When looking at a blank canvas we aren’t supported by the structure of a to-do list or obvious next steps. This lack of structure can be daunting.

However, this lack of structure is also the superpower of productivity in creative environments. Productivity in this space requires constant shifts from broad focus to narrow focus. In the process of creative exploration, we find connections between ideas and concepts and have to decide when to be playful with experimentation and when to be critical of small details in our work1

In order for us to thrive in this type of work, our environment has to match this way of working. Our organizations have to build a process that allows for unstructured thinking and connection-building. When the process is too structured we lose the freedom we need to be creatively productive.

Over time, the expertise we build as creative workers teaches us when to go broad, when to go deep, and when to leave the structure of good” work behind to pursue great ideas.


  1. Ahrens, Sönke. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking: For Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2017.↩︎

November 25, 2020

Prefontaine

Prefontaine To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

October 24, 2020

Seeing Ourselves

I’ve wondered why people are eager to back into the world. I understand needing to work. I understand needing to be with friends and family. But I wonder why there is a large group of people who have these needs fulfilled and don’t find their daily lives to be enough.”

We are aware that we have established a culture where we see ourselves through the eyes of others. We go out to post about it and get affirmation from people who weren’t there with us. There is criticism of this type of culture and feedback. When challenged with the opportunity to break away from it, we’ve actively asked to have it back.

It makes me think how a pandemic would have gone pre-internet. I wonder if we would have noticed it as much?

September 28, 2020

Joining Facebook

In some personal news, I have recently joined the team at Facebook to focus on Social Impact. I am joining the team as a product designer and I’m really excited to be working alongside the rest of the Social Impact team to build products that support the Facebook community.

September 9, 2020

Peace in Equifinality

I can’t remember how, but I recently stumbled on the concept that has altered the way I think about being right.” I created a document in iA Writer called notes.txt with one word: equifinality.

Equifinality is both a term and concept adopted across various disciplines including archaeology, biology, business, and psychology. Proponents of the concept commonly believe that various means and/or developmental paths lead to similar end states or outcomes. (Springer)

Applied to everyday life, there is a sense of peace that comes from knowing that one can achieve a single outcome multiple ways. I personal get relief knowing that my way isn’t the only way to achieve my desire outcomes, and it puts into perspective the fact that others might require different journeys to my desired outcome.

In short, methods and outcomes aren’t inherently bound to each other. If there are situations in life that require a different method to support others in achieving a desired outcome, that doesn’t discredit the other methods. Equifinality suggests that all methods are valid and potentially infinite in number.