UX Strat Europe: Transformation inwards and outwards

Our summary of the UX Strat conference 2017.

UX Strat attracts leading experts on UX Strategy from around the world.

This year’s UX Strat Europe tackled the topic of human centred design by splitting the conference across two days, covering two different, but interlinked themes: transformation inwards and transformation outwards. Having heard about the insightful experience my colleagues had at UX Strat 2016, I jumped at the opportunity to attend this year’s event with 13 other Foolproofers. It was my first time at UX Strat and I absolutely loved the collaborative, energetic and supportive vibe throughout the conference.

The first day of the conference really spoke to me as a practitioner, as the presentations and conversations were around making sense of the world and human behaviour. As practitioners, we know that real innovation comes from user centred design – it is all about creating human experiences. This means designing for behaviours, rather than products/services.

The second day of the conference offered a great perspective on how companies can start to integrate and imbed a UX first approach within their businesses. Being customer oriented and creating products/services for people first not only requires a UX focused team, but a cultural change within a business, underpinned by a shift towards user-centred design.

If, like me, you have an interest in designing for and understanding human behaviour, take the time to read the presentation overviews below. This is my top 5 list, which includes presentations that I found the most innovative and challenging to conventional thinking:

Designing intelligence into everyday life

Paul-Jervis Heath shared with us his perspective on our developing relationship with technology, the changing effects it has on our environments and how it can impact the relationships we have with each other. He feels that the current generation of devices are insensitive and there is plenty of room to move to a more human view of technology. His presentation includes interesting examples of how to design appliances that improve everyday life and the human factors of those experiences.

Experience strategy for digital conversations with customers

Apart from the fact that Gregory Ek is an intriguing and engaging speaker, his presentation offered us an interesting perspective on how conversations can take normal banking experiences to a new level. He gave us great insight into the design journey ING are currently embarking on to leverage the conversational paradigm by designing conversations with a human touch.

Adapting Research and Design Methods For Unfamiliar Contexts

Zach Hyman talked us through an interesting research project, where in situ research proved to be essential to create a valuable experience/product. What better way to start designing for human behaviours than by living with, eating like, and talking to the people you are designing for? Read this presentation to better prepare yourself for conducting in situ research, as Zach provides us with key insights derived from his own experiences.

Turning BMW into a Customer Oriented Mobility Services Provider

For a company to become customer focused they must change their culture, mind-sets and habits. This is probably one of the most difficult challenges of all and takes time, especially for companies who are less flexible in their reaction to change. Martin Kulessa captures this challenge nicely in his presentation by talking you through BMW’s journey to becoming more customer oriented.

Creating an Adidas Ecosystem Experience Design Strategy

This presentation was one of my favourites, as it really forced me to think outside the box and re-think my usual processes. Willem encouraged us to create chaos in our design processes and thinking, by becoming a designer that embraces the beauty of dissonance.  There are many things in this world that we do not understand and do now know, Willem challenges us to explore them and embrace the unknown. If we do not, we may risk end up doing more of the same and therefore less innovative.

All presentations from this year’s conference are available on Slideshare. Additionally, each presentation has been distilled as a one-page sketch-note by Chris Spalton, our in-house doodler. You can download the complete set here.

If you are interested in knowing more about UX Strategy, you can read more on our journal, or listen/ our interview series with leaders in UX Strategy. Ensure you don't miss the next UX Strat event by following @uxstrat on Twitter.

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