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An evolving practice

As a critical practice the currency of what I believe a “designer” deals in — is in essence about ‘change.’ This is where I choose to position myself and center my practice around; Whether that's optimising a feature, or transforming a product or shifting a business to remain competitive, or aspiring to disrupt the market - change is the central tenet of what underpins all design, creativity and innovation.


Process Overview

Designing for change

My Process 

Adaptive process - subject to change 


In my world, I'm on a mission to keep things both straightforward and flexible, zeroing in on my core design principles and the art of making change happen. This is where the magic unfolds, with a process that's seamless and unified, all in the pursuit of achieving desired outcomes, making a significant impact, and collaborating to forge valuable solutions.

This process revolves around just two pivotal but dynamic phases. In the first phase, you dive into the depths of creating clarity, shaping meaning, and understanding. The second phase you wield your powers of improvement, optimization, or even transformation to bring about that change, envisioning and creating new value.

Within these phases, expect evolution. Your methods, your strategies for discovery and development, the speed of your progress, and even the moment you call it a wrap – they're all open to adaptation. This process has been meticulously crafted to be simple, agile, efficient, and endlessly adaptable, making your process journey truly engaging and rewarding.


Design Principles

A guide to dynamic & value driven change

1. Embrace evolution, accept chaos
All things are in a dynamic state of constant flux. Change happens if we want it to or not. There is no choice but to adapt. Approach every endeavour with the awareness that evolution is intrinsic to progress. Change is an inevitable, albeit challenging, facet of life that demands our attention. Accept that in many cases the process we take to respond to change or to create change is going to be messy, time pressured, and nonlinear where you will operate in chaotic environments with the expectation to consistently deliver. Extend this attitude and mindset to your creations and to your own skills. Strive to be an adaptive problem solver, crafting solutions that prioritise growth and impact. The key is to grant ourselves and the things we make to have the capacity for continuous improvement and skill refinement. Change, simply put, is the act of transformation. Embrace this fundamental principle, the bedrock of all creativity and innovation.
2. Generate value through change
Making a difference is what matters! Efforts towards change should translate into tangible benefits for all team members. Empower everyone to take ownership of decisions and actions, fostering a culture where change is purposeful and not arbitrary. Whether through incremental enhancements or groundbreaking shifts, the focus should always be on the question: How does this contribute value? How does this help someone? What positive impact does it have on our overarching vision?
3. Sense-make to change-make
Immerse yourself in shaping understanding, guided by an appetite for experimentation. It requires you to facilitate and to co-create. Delving deep into the problems before attempting solutions as understanding precedes action. That doesn't mean you're not making anything, as discovery is proactive not passive. Real, enduring change sprouts from a hunger to understand, clarify, and ultimately conquer challenges. Sensemaking is the fuel for changemaking. Without framing, imagination and a crystal-clear comprehension of why change is necessary, genuine transformation remains a mirage.
4. Think in total experiences
We now beyond the user. It's no longer just about user-centricity and automating tasks; we are at an inflection point where we need to converge the human condition, the tools we use and the systems we use them in to solve current and future problems. So it becomes about integrating business, design, emerging technology, behavioural psychology, and systems to augment our human abilities that enhance our intelligence. It’s about making us smarter and more capable. We need to understand the cumulative relationships of the whole systems we engage with, its actors, their relationships and interactions when designing solutions. We need to be inclusive and aware conceptually and in practice because a good experience considers the whole experience.
5. Be disciplined with simplicity
Abide by the laws of simplicity, recognizing that design is an exercise in subtraction and clarity. Resist the temptation of non-essentials and unnecessary complexity. Prioritize doing less but doing it better. Establish order and process, as the way you approach one task mirrors how you approach all. Excellence is cultivated through habitual good decisions and processes.
6. Practice, don’t perform
Differentiate yourself from mere delegators. As a maker, problem solver, and craftsperson, hold yourself to a standard of excellence. Be consciously deliberate in decision-making, ensuring your solutions are not arbitrary. This commitment to intentional practice demonstrates your value.
7. Bold ideas with fierce pragmatism
Embrace audacious ideas with an unwavering commitment to practicality and feasibility. Strive for innovation that not only pushes the boundaries, but also delivers tangible, real-world value. Merge the daring spirit of bold concepts with the discipline of pragmatism to create solutions that are both visionary and implementable.
8. Outcomes trumps outputs
Remember that the crux of success lies in outcomes—the results, impacts, and summations of your recommendations and solutions. Don't mistake artifacts, thoughts, or tools for true design. Design is the active embodiment of change. It is your responsibility to prove the value of your creations.
9. Yield to win
Success lies in compromise—be flexible. You don’t need to fight for every pixel, or every decision. It’s investing in loss to win. Yielding means embracing others' perspectives, feelings, and needs in decision-making. It's about solving problems with both emotional and intellectual intelligence. It’s both a mindset and a skill that we need to develop through genuine listening to those who matter—whomever we need to care about—we all need to feel heard, valued, and satisfied as we collaborate to solve problems and create solutions.
10. Be a zero, not a hero
Recognize your role as a designer within the grand tapestry. You have to solve problems and usher in change, even if it unfolds in quiet, unnoticed ways. You are the agent for meaningful change. Being a "Zero" is symbolic, it doesn't diminish your worth; it signifies practical wisdom. Zero means having an open mind where you can absorb everything, embracing the enigmatic qualities of ambiguity, assessing situations holistically, and connecting with everything and everyone in the problem space as design is "for the people, and by the people."

Read more about my approach here

Are you ready to reshape product experiences, drive change and create a lasting impact.


Read cv: @patrickwmeehan
Dribble: @pwm
Medium: @patrickwmeehan
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© Patrick William Meehan 2024

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