[IxDA-SF EVENT] Herding Cats and Taming Lions: Using Facilitation Skills to Create Better Design
21 May 2008 - 1:18pm
San Francisco IxDA
Our May event is actually dipping into the first part of June
(Tuesday, 6/3), but we have a great one planned! Jon Litell of Hot
Studio will be talking about facilitation and other underrepresented
but vital “soft skills”. Adaptive Path will be our gracious hosts for
the evening, and we’re planning another Hiring Salon (employers/
recruiters: bring job descriptions to share). Please RSVP on upcoming…
we hope to see you there!
If only everyone would listen to me!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like the
lone expert in the room, pitted against a gang of folks who saw things
differently? Have you found yourself in a meeting fighting to be
heard? Have you ever wondered, “Why does it seem like my job is to
gather everyone’s opinions, instead of sharing my expertise in
But I don’t have time to get everyone’s input!
Or maybe you achieved a significant project milestone on an aggressive
timeline, at the expense of your sanity or personal life. You felt
rushed and went “heads down” to do it. You didn’t have time to get
everyone’s opinions. Maybe you hit a wall at some point in the project
and didn’t know where to turn for ideas or answers.
Wherever you are on that continuum – from getting frustrated with
managing group communication or simply trying to go it alone — you can
improve your ability to draw better solutions out of the entire
project team. Stellar design skills aren’t enough. As an interaction
designer, the success of your project is often determined by your
ability to collaborate across interdisciplinary teams. This requires
establishing strong collaborative working relations among people with
very different mindsets, skills and points of view — people who may
not even get along with each other. And so you find yourself
increasingly playing the role of facilitator, rather than design
What is a facilitator?
According to Interaction Associates (an originator of the discipline),
a facilitator helps to:
• Keep discussions on track
• Use collaborative problem solving tools to make decisions more easily
• Leverage diverse points of view and communication styles
• Share ideas, responsibility, and success in a way that values
• Use win-win thinking to resolve conflicts
Jon Littell will give an overview of facilitation and other soft
skills pertinent to today’s complex work environment, showing you how
to lead your clients to fruitful discussions without getting lost in
conflict. You will learn about the essential strategies and skills for
helping groups solve problems, resolve conflict, and build agreement.
You’ll also get resources and recommendations for the extensive
toolset for facilitation.
Jon Littell has been working in the internet/interactive field for
over a dozen years. As a director of user experience, his expertise
lies in bringing coherence to complex information systems through a
deep understanding of people, strategy, and design
Jon is a big-picture, strategic thinker and is especially adept at
using research to generate breakthrough insights. Although Jon’s
strong suit lies in the soft skills of communication and human
excellence, he is comfortable and proficient with complex technology.
Jon holds a Masters degree in Behavioral Science and has extensive
training in multiple psychological and process models. His obsessive
need to see things clearly may explain why he has an ever-growing
collection of eyeglasses.
6:30 pm – Socializing with light refreshments and Hiring Salon
(employers/recruiters, bring job descriptions to share)
7:00 pm – Presentation