What I Learned As An IDEO Design Intern: Day 02

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Appreciate The Simple Things

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

I’m typically an incessant Question Asker, but I’ve noticed that even I will quiet down if I’m in a new environment. So I made a conscious effort today to ask myself, “Hey, did you get to ask all the questions you needed/wanted to?”

Because, at the end of the day, chances are: A) Someone else is also thinking the same question you are, and/or, B) You’ll get an answer to your question much quicker by simply asking someone than if you wait for it to come up at some uncertain point in the future.

Point being: Ask the questions. All of ‘em.

People Will Make Time

Should I go out? Should I scavenge from the snack bar? Should I wait until leftovers show up in the kitchen?

…when I ran into one of the other designers from my team. She invited me to go get lunch with her and as we ate and talked, I mentioned my anxiety around inviting people out and taking time away from their work. She told me it’s nothing to be worried about and, in fact, a lot of people are actually flattered when someone else asks if they can grab lunch or get a coffee together. When it comes down to it, everyone likes to know that other people are interested in what they have to say and think.

Asking someone out for coffee is really just a way of saying, “Hey, I think you’re a cool person who does cool stuff and I value your advice and opinions.” It’s a compliment.

To be honest, it’s something I should have realized already, given all the design research work I’ve done over the past two years: when presented with an invitation or opportunity to do so, people love to talk about themselves.

San Francisco is THE Place to Be

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eatsa prompts customers to order food to the left and then retrieve it on the right

Make Like A Sponge and Soak It All Up

Over the years I’ve recognized that one of the most effective ways to learn (at least for me) is by complete immersion. I just dive in and get going and with every new piece of information I get, my knowledge base grows, and before long the dots start to connect. I soon find myself being able to relate This Thing back to That Thing, which also ties in with This Other Thing, which in turn is somehow magically connected to The First Thing. If you catch my drift.

In slightly more technical terms, I like to think of my brain —and the knowledge it contains— as a kind of distributed relational database. Learning and remembering things is really just a matter of finding and solidifying the most efficient path between two points or more points. The more connections there are between points, the easier it is to find and make those paths.

TLDR; today I immersed myself in the task of catching myself up and learning as much as I could about things that will be useful to me while I’m at IDEO :)

Other Miscellaneous Fun Facts:

  • I may or may not have crossed paths with one of the Kelley brothers ;)
  • There is gluten free bread in one of the fridges! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m gluten intolerant, so this is actually kind of a really big deal.

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