July 3rd, 2014
June 18th, 2014
If you start walking the way, the way appears.
Rumi 
June 14th, 2014

Learned This Week - 06.14.14

Kabul’s City on the Hill via the New York Times
A beautiful op-ed on transition, change and social class in Afghanistan through a reporter’s hike up the omnipresent TV Hill in Kabul.

Five Ways to Close the Gender Gap in Japan via WEF Blog
Did you even know that Japan had a gender gap? Since studying abroad in Tokyo and various cities around the Island as an undergrad, I’ve been fascinated by the work culture and how Japan will deal with its workforce shortage.  This article doesn’t lay out a plan, but has some eye opening stats.

Study 40+ Languages for FREE via Open Culture
Looking to learn a language? Here’s a great place to start!

With Walking Robotic Suit, Paralyzed Person Will Give the World Cup’s First Kick via Mashable
The unlikely combination of my dad’s amputation in 2012 and my current status as a design student has me obsessed with rights, awareness and better design for the disabled.  Way to go World Cup organizers!

Declassified Report: Two Nuclear Bombs Nearly Detonated in North Carolina via CNN
"The Defense Department has disclosed 32 accidents involving nuclear weapons between 1950 and 1980."

June 12th, 2014
A hashtag is not helping. ‪#‎yesallwomen‬ ‪#‎takebackthenight‬ ‪#‎notallmen‬ ‪#‎bringbackourgirls‬ ‪#‎StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething‬. Hashtags are very pretty on twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing into your computer and then going back to binge watching your favorite show.
 Shonda Rhimes
June 9th, 2014

What I Learned From Launching an App for Social Good

I love working on projects.  Seeing an idea come to life is incredibly exciting for me.  I also love a sense of closure.  Luckily, during my time as a Communications Manager at Cool Culture, I have been working on a number of exciting projects.  Most recently, Cool Culture was able to partner with ThoughtWorks to build an app to help parents of preschoolers visit museums more easily.  I was able to manage the project for Cool Culture.

The build happened at a rapid-fire pace.  The developer time on the project was four weeks – but the actual project is taking much longer including planning and the upcoming roll out.  Despite the speed (or maybe because of it), I’m so proud of what we built in such a short time frame.  Since it was my first time managing a mobile product, here’s what I wish I had known from the start:

Listen to Feedback – To A Point:  When you’re obsessed with user-centered design, you know that it’s possible to make nearly all of your decisions based on feedback.  Figuring out what feedback to act on is much more difficult.  Throughout our process, we had four different focus groups.  During each, the activities for participants ranged from drawing ideas with markers to a final showcase presentation. 

During each session, we received incredibly valuable feedback.  In our first session, we realized how many of our parents have limited data plans, and as a result, the app was designed to allow quick loading times.  We also called all of Cool Culture’s 90 partner museums to ask if they had WI-FI and incorporated that into the app because WI-FI impacted how our users would be able to use the app.  These decisions were totally based on feedback.

Investigate Surprises: As a rule, it’s importance to observe behaviors versus one-off comments or suggestions.  If you’re hearing the same thing over and over, listen and figure out how to resolve the concerns.  If you’re hearing a comment that is new and surprising, investigate further.  You might want to act, but it might also be a specific and not a universal concern.

Design for All Users: I’m proud that the entire process and build involved users every step of the way.  However, we didn’t design the app with museum visitor services’ staff – and they are the people who will ultimately see the app and have to understand and accept it as valid.  While the entire process has been moving forward at a quick clip, we’re now slowing down and allowing six weeks to roll out the app to museum visitor services staff through calls, e-mail and one-on-one conversations.  Why?  Because we have to design for all users and work on their own timelines.

Last Minute Decisions Matter:  During the last week in the build, our team realized that it would be helpful to add an additional search feature to search by museums with free or suggested donations.  Since the beginning, we felt the app could help anyone planning a museum visit, but now the value add is extremely clear.  We don’t have to write about it or talk about it – the value is added into the app.  Anyone who wants to search for a museum by free admission can do so – no confusing PDF listing or blog post browsing necessary! 

You Must Have Buy-In: When you work at a consensus driven non-profit, it can take some time to get everyone on board and up to speed on new projects.   While working with ThoughtWorks, we had a few different project managers from ThoughtWorks due to their other projects and scheduling needs.  We were lucky to end up working with AK, who heads up the social good projects at the ThoughtWorks New York office, and Aly, a talented UX designer.  Aly and AK were truly champions of our project – from e-mailng us at 4am with ideas that couldn’t wait until the business day began to helping us pitch our app for further funding and attention.  Aly and AK are the kind of person you want on your team.  Someone who you’d never ask to think about your project off hours, but will do so because they’ve bought into your mission.

May 22nd, 2014

I have watched quite a few TED talks, and this is by far, my favorite.

May 11th, 2014
Look past your thoughts so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.
Rumi (via fuckyeahrumi)

(Source: scattredthoughts)

Reblogged from FUCK YEAH RUMI
April 21st, 2014

Rules for Students (and Life)

I stumbled across these rules for students, which were popularized by John Cage.  Definitely appropriate for all students of life (aka everyone).

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined: this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything. It might come in handy later.

Found via Marginal Revolution.

March 29th, 2014
If you have yet to be called an incorrigible, defiant woman, don’t worry, there is still time.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
March 13th, 2014

Hecho en Cuba

I spent last week learning printmaking in Havana with SVA!  I had never attempted printmaking before, and here are my results - the chair is a woodcut print and the abstract piece is a two color lithography.  I’m trilled with the results of my first attempts.

"The most interesting things happen when you get off the predictable path, when you challenge assumptions, and when you give yourself permission to see the world as opportunity rich and full of possibility."
-- Tina Seelig