Kim Goodwin returns to FBTB

Sara Doltz

The most suitable title that comes to mind when thinking about Kim Goodwin is Design leadership guru. With over two decades of consulting, running in-house businesses, writing books and being a vivid public speaker, she has truly become one of our favourites.

This is not the first time Kim Goodwin takes the stage at From Business to Buttons. She has been with us two times before; in 2015 she did one of the most appreciated talks in FBTB history on the China stage.

Kim has spent 25 years in Service Design and UX, helping businesses build their internal design capabilities through coaching and organizational change management. She is based near San Francisco, but whether she’s herding cats in conference rooms or photographing wildlife in places with no Internet access (check out her Instagram for mind blowing captions!), she is regularly on the move as she speaks and teaches at conferences all around the world. 

Kim is also the bestselling author of Designing for the Digital Age. Published in 2009, it’s still considered a, to quote Alan Cooper, “A complete handbook for an entire profession”.

Her talk at FBTB will be about Design Systems, but then again, not really:

– My talk is not on design systems exactly. It’s more: how do we think of the design function itself as a something like a design system, with both high-level and low-level components? 

– In other words, the shared “library” your team needs is not just a component library — it’s a set of foundational values and principles, as well as a set of tools for HOW you work. In part, I wanted to talk about this because I see a lot of teams jumping to design systems as a magic fix when they don’t have some of the foundational pieces in place.

Kim Goodwin is the first speaker to be presented, and nine more will be disclosed in the months to come. As our Innovator tickets are already sold out, sign up to the conference today for a chance to see Kim Goodwin and all the other UX, Service Design and Innovation legends live on stage on May 3, 2019.

All about the FBTB19 here!


The tickets for FBTB 2019 are here!

Ola Nilsson

The next From Business to Buttons conference will be held May 3, at Cirkus in Stockholm. The tickets are out now.

Now you have the chance to get tickets to FBTB 2019. It's Scandinavia’s premier User Experience and Service Design Conference and the theme this year is about taking the next step, an important step.

The theme is: From Design Thinking to Design Doing.

Design-driven organisations have had a tremendous success since this conference first started back in 2007. Today, most of us working in this field are way beyond the challenge of convincing people that design is a – or perhaps the – key tool to create great business value. Instead, the challenge is often how to best integrate design into our respective organizations, and how to really make things happen.

At From Business to Buttons 2019 you’ll get key insights into how to best collaborate to get the most value for your organisation. We’ll talk design systems, and how to go from design thinking to design doing. We’ll talk about how to actually use machine learning to add value to our solutions. We’ll even venture into space… This may sound abstract, but on the contrary, this year we’ll be more hands-on than ever. This year, we’re all about doing!

All about the conference here! Hope to see you there!

How to build on the ideas of others

David de Léon

In creative workshops we are told to build on the ideas of others, but how do you actually do that? How do I take an idea, usually someone else’s, and summon forth a new one?

In the book Teach Your Child How to Think, by Edward de Bono, there is a short chapter that shows you just how to do that! The rest of the book is a stinker —or at least, fails to deliver on the promise of the title — but those few pages are pure gold. The chapter in question is on something that de Bono calls Movement.

We are taught that to be creative we should postpone judgement. But this is too weak, it doesn’t tell us what to do instead. Movement is an active and deliberate operation where you look at what is before you and use it to move forward. In movement any way forward counts. de Bono likens this to poetry and metaphor. I would add play and humour.

de Bono teaches a handful practical techniques for how to get movement from any idea.

They are these:


Approach ideas with the intention of seeing where they lead you, what they suggest, and what might be potentially interesting about them. Just having this intention will make a huge difference.

In my opinion it’s an attitude that can be equally useful in the rest of life; the part you spend outside of workshops. When things that happen to you — both good and bad — see what movement you can you get out of them.


A hugely powerful technique, that I have found works well and is easy to teach, is to visualise an idea in action. Instead of seeing the end state of the idea, you play out the idea in your mind – or talking out loud if you are in a group – like a tiny movie. Say someone proposes delivering mail with flying cows — yes, it’s one of those kinds of workshops — you visualise the cows with mail bags strapped on, taking off, flying, manoeuvring and landing. Doing this you end up picturing what happens to the bag during flight. How will it stay on, how will it stay closed, what happens to it at the start and at the end? As you do so new ideas invariably turn up; ideas that you would not have had if you just visualised the static version of the initial idea.

Extract a principle

The next technique is slower and trickier. I find that it works poorly in workshops, but that it can be powerful during solitary ideation, or together with other experienced ideators. This is how it goes: you take an existing idea, you analyse it and extract the abstract principle behind it.

For example, a colleague and I were once exploring novel uses of touch screen technology. We came up with an idea based on when the user was not touching the screen of their phone, instead of the usual focus on all the possible ways one could actively interact with the device. We then explored the principle of passive input in a bunch of other contexts and this sparked a host of additional ideas, and two patent applications.

Focus on the difference

You have probably had the experience of proposing an idea and someone else saying that they’ve heard or seen the idea before. This type of pronouncement kills an idea instantaneously and without further examination. To get movement, look rather for all the ways in which the idea is different, even if those differences are small.

de Bono gives the example of a plane landing upside down. The difference between a plane landing right-side up and upside down is that upside down the wings would provide downwards thrust. The two cases are similar, but the direction of thrust is different. Focus on this and it might lead to ideas of positive landings, such as landing against the force of a storm.

Search for  value

Another powerful technique for finding value in a poor idea is to change the context of an idea, rather than the idea itself. Confronted with an idea that seems like a non-starter you can ask under which circumstances the idea would provide value or solve a problem.

de Bono gives the example of everyone wearing yellow at a company. As an isolated idea it doesn’t do much. But if we change the context it could be a solution to help customers identify staff at IKEA. In the context of customers trying to find service staff the idea provides an effective solution.

Understand the properties of the initial idea. Then go looking for a problem that would fit the solution.

I find that the technique provides an often needed change of pace and perspectives, and can be very useful in turning up interesting new problems to solve. For an innovator, finding new problems is just as important — perhaps more so — than finding new solutions.

There are more moves than these five. I have clumped together a couple of de Bono’s and he hints that there are more. I have been collecting moves over the years from all kinds of sources. For now, learn these five. And use them!

A while back I made up some cards. Here is a pdf that you can download. I printed mine out and laminated them. Everything is better laminated. Almost everything.

Note: If you would rather see me talk about this then check out the following video on my non book-review YouTube channel.

Need new ideas? Have a look at our courses at inUse Academy!

Finally ditch the Persona!

Ingrid Domingues

Demographically biased personas hinder our ability to understand the really important user behaviours, needs and expectations in the context of use. By dressing users up with demographics and photos, personas cause readers to fill in with their own assumptions. If you want to accomplish intentional design – design that makes impact – it's about time you ditch the persona.

All of inUse courses here, visit Academy!

I started my career in the UX community long before the label “UX”. 1983 I started working as a developer, and ten years later I realized that I was a usability professional. At that time there were simply no educational programs to become that, so I succeeded by reading a lot of research papers and learned by testing pieces in my assignment, and discussing with the small number of peers there were in Sweden at that time. Remember, the internet was not yet there to help…

So, I lived and learned through the revolution of graphical interfaces, the PC, the web and now (finally!) the growing insight that business gain is nothing more than the sum of successful usage occasions. If users succeed, the gain can be great. When users fail, the cost is immense.

I was intrigued by Alan Cooper's book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum” when it came in 1999. I just loved the title, since I actually trained to work in mental care before considering working with digital services. But most of all I liked it because of the content, where many of the struggles faced by UX:ers were brought into the light. At that time, I had finished a research project on how to help businesses describe their needs in ways that would ensure business benefits. It was then that I started outlining the idea of Impact Mapping, that saw the public light in 2002.

I was taken by great surprise at the explosion of demographic-based Personas resulting from Coopers suggestion. When I read the book, I thought of personas more as user behaviours than demographics. Even today I meet companies that describe their users by demographically biased personas, instead of clustering user behaviours and expectations.

Throughout my years of practice I experienced the danger of Personas. They give too much weight to demographic descriptions which actually hinders the understanding of the only important things: user behaviours, needs and expectations in the context of use. By dressing users up with demographics and photos they make readers fill in the blanks with their own assumptions, based on their knowledge. This is an intrinsic capability of the human brain that helps us a lot in everyday life, but in this case makes us see what is not there (WYSIATI). That is really bad when doing intentional design.  

To succeed with designing and building for impact, we must finally ditch the Persona and replace it with something similar to what Indi Young refers to as “behavioral audience segment” or “thinking styles”.  In other words, descriptions of what users do, need and their context for use.

The discussion about Personas has been around for some years now. I simply suggest that you start using the format described by the Impact Map, which correlates to Indi Young’s “thinking styles” adds clarity and gives  a strong opportunity to prioritize behaviours in respect to Business Impact.

The Impact Map refines the description into something we refer to as “users” or “behavioral patterns”. The impact map, if designed right, is centered (visually and logically) around the intended Business Impact that this future or existing service could bring. Users are then described by their behavior in their specific context of use, as well as what expectations they have for a solution. Or, if you want to see it from a business perspective: the users are described as means to get the desired business impact. By describing the use in this manner, it also opens up for another intrinsic part of the user description in an Impact Map, namely that users are prioritized based on their contribution to the Business Impact. This aspect of the Impact Map provides a lot of guidance to designers, developers and managers on what to spend money and time on.

The User in an Impact Map follows a pattern, this is an example (and a template for Impact Maps). Remember though, that what you see here is a polished result after research, analysis and decisions by business. To get there you will need to iterate.

A User/User Behavior is described as:

  • A number, indicating priority. A #1 User is the most important when it comes to achieving the intended Business Impact. This said, when the Business Impact is not set, it is not possible (or meaningful) to prioritize users. Even though the #1 user is the most important, user #5 can be extremely important in achieving some aspects of the desired Business Impact. Prioritizing is not an easy task for a business, but yes, it aligns the different ways of thinking about the new service. In other words it is a means to avoid lengthy discussions _after_ having started the project.

    Prioritization is led by the business, with help from UX strategists, and is determined based on the contribution to the Business Impact. To set the numbering you weigh together three aspects: occurence in the population, activity and influence on others. You then compare relative to the other defined user behaviours.

    Prioritization is an important, and often difficult part of impact mapping. It forces business stakeholders to discuss and agree on a common view of the scope and way forward.

  • A name, summarizing the behaviours and expectation that users show. The name is short, memorable, and easy to remember. Some examples of good names (from completely different products) are “The inexperienced help seeker”, “The focused”, “Harmony seeker” or “Need to solve this now”. The latest is actually a quote, that can either be used to give the name some life, or as the name itself.  Names that give negative connotations are avoided, since they make you think negatively, instead of innovating. At rare occasions the user behaviors cluster into professional roles, then you can perhaps use them as name. But, what I see is that thinking beyond job roles helps people to find shared behaviors that exists regardless of roles. “Sales Manager” is the behavior of “Business responsible” that could very likely (now or in the future service) be a behaviour of some sales representatives.
  • A visualization that is never, an I mean never, a photo of a single person. Photos trick the brain into filling in with our own assumptions, hindering us from taking the opportunity that this user behaviour gives us. Powerful visualizations should explain the behaviour, or drivers, and could be sketchy, iconic or polished, whatever works in the business context. If you (for some reason) still want to use photos, see to it that it explains a situation where the behaviour reveals. If you (for some reason) still have people on the photos, see to it that they cover different age, gender, skin color, abilities etc. As you understand by now, the best is simply to avoid having photos with people. The same goes for icons of people. See to it that they are free from age, gender and skin color.
  • A description explaining why, when and how this user behaviour reaches for this solution. Other attributes that are important for the solution and context are described (e.g. the learning and communication style, or how they navigate). Any common attributes of interest in order to reach the Business Impact are also described (e.g. what they value, and what they strive to achieve).  

    If you have data for your user behaviour description, use it. However, the description should be kept short in the Impact Map, but could have a longer description elsewhere.

    The description is best done by describing a person in present tense (e.g.  “Person that…… he/she ….. Name is often, but not always….He/she prefers... A good day is when….”).

  • (In the description, also give) Examples on where this user behavior usually is spotted. What you use to define examples is based on the context for analysis. If there already are market-based personas, you should use them as examples. You will then find that one user behaviour is revealed by many personas and one persona reveals several user behaviours. Job roles, and situations are two other sets of examples that are more common than personas. In some rare occasions, (as in the example) the user behaviour appears in so many contexts, so that it is better to skip the examples.
  • Design Challenge, one sentence that explains what the service must give to the user behaviour in order to ensure that he/she is successful and satisfied. The sentence is usually written in the form “Provide [type of content, type of functions and their capability ] in order to [what we want the user to feel, think or do]
  • User Needs,which are what Cooper initially referred to as user goals, or a “job” (emotional, functional or social) in the jobs-to-be-done context. It is one sentence that starts with “wants” when it is a user need, and “must” when it is something that the user is hesitant or opposed to, but we must impose on him/her in order to reach the desired Business Impact. When the analysis is done, user needs usually narrow down to as few as 1 to 3. This is because instead of describing what they said or what you observed, you understand what really makes them tick.

    User needs should define the level of importance, so use adjective and adverbs for defining urgency. Knowing If something is supposed to be easy, very easy or supereasy for the user to achieve is a great help to the team in charge of designing and testing.

By actively avoiding demographics, user descriptions are now fit for a deeper understanding of user needs. Also, when the description is part of an Impact Map, user behaviors are prioritized, and thus a solid ground for designing and testing business impact. This is groundbreaking, still easy to achieve if you have done your user research. So – let's finally ditch the Persona style, and do User behavior style!  

All of inUse Academy's courses in Impact Mapping here!

Designing Empathy in Rush Hour 

Ola Nilsson

For two days inUse have been focusing on trying to shift behaviour in a public space, at the hectic plaza by the Triangeln station in Malmö. We conducted research through interviews, observations and design interventions, and tested ideas – with ballons, confetti and megaphones – for how to impact people’s behaviour. Have a look!

We are explorers and innovators within human centred design. 

This is why we took on the challenge to explore how we might shift behaviour in a public space, and positively influence the experience of that space.  

In just two days we applied our human-centered design process to a problem spot in Malmö – a busy and hectic plaza by the Triangeln station. We conducted research through interviews, observations and design interventions, and tested ideas for how to impact people’s behaviour on the plaza.

This is how we apply human centered design to physical spaces.

This activity took place during The Conference week in Malmö, well monitored by Sydsvenskan. During a packed seminar at the start of the week we shared our approaches and solicited suggestions from our audience of troublesome public spaces in Malmö that we might tackle. This was followed by an intense couple of days of research and experimentation, as well as a follow-up seminar where we shared our results and insights.

More about Human Spaces here!