In this often disconnected and lonely year, I learned with and taught, collaborated with on projects, coached, interviewed, and facilitated 639 people.

All remotely.

Across two workplaces and five enterprises.

Despite being laid off in February.

Mostly during a pandemic.

I’m most proud that I coached 218 people, taught 374 people in 19 workshops on topics from self-governance to UX research strategy to financial resilience, and ran four LLCs and their projects in collaboration with 11 people.

I co-produced four major design research reports, a five-week workshop series on self-governance, and 10 podcast episodes.

I also completed three major writing…

For many of us, the practice of “being in remote meetings” has been turned up a few notches, and not all of us are enjoying the experience. This article explores two critical elements of meetings that often get missed, but which greatly help creating better in-meeting experiences and after-meeting outcomes:

Going in: How will we conduct this meeting?

Heading out: How will we work with the output of this meeting?

Basic UX of meetings

When a meeting is productive, you leave feeling like you know what you’re supposed to do next — and what others are responsible to do. You may have more questions…

The future of professional jobs is in transition: focus is shifting to integrative skill sets and workplaces that are self-organizing and inclusive, and away from both machinable skills and top-down hierarchies.

As technology increases automation and its reach over logistics, attention is turning to the roles of collaborative, human-centered products [Deloitte], judgement [McKinsey], and creativity [BBH labs], in innovative workplaces. This is an opportunity to build more human-centered organizations and focus on the lateral thinking that people are better at, but in order to transform towards this, individuals and groups will need to practice working collaboratively.

Applied creativity and collaboration techniques allow groups to:

  • utilize the innovation and problem-solving potential of diverse thinking from diverse teams to work on more important things,
  • deliver business value — and more meaningful work experiences,

Ever feel like you’re just not getting anywhere with a financial goal or problem? You may be going about working on it wrong — and designing a different approach could help you get the traction you want.

In order to have the financial outcomes you seek, first aim to make better financial decisions. I imagine hearing you say “duh!” — but most people aren’t making money decisions based on their current situation.

Instead, many people use old habits from former financial realities or random bits of information gleaned along the way, which can only take us so far as our…

When you’re stuck-stuck, then what? (public domain image)

I’m becoming fascinated by “stuckness”.

I used to think that “stuck” was only for solopreneurs or underfunded arts orgs (like the ones I was part of); I thought it was a symptom.

Fast forward years through projects, launched products and orgs I’ve run to today, as I coach teams to focus on human needs and individuals to experiment with economic solutions. Now, it’s with both relief and fascination that I realize stuckness is endemic: how is it that smart people and well-equipped teams get stuck?

What’s in the way — and what works to unstick people?

I did a snapshot of work requests my team — a cadre of design thinking facilitators at a VC —…

(as an artist with a community-based live art practice and a side of polymath)

I curated a DIY retrospective of my artwork, and it was awesome. Here’s how you can do it too.

June 21–23, 2019 I showed a retrospective of my creative cultural production to date. I’m newly 40 and I wanted to take stock of the output of my community-based practice, as a live performing artist, and as a writer. I hoped to find patterns and perhaps another part of my story. And, crucially, I had the time and resources to make it happen.

Photo of Lair Fera gallery installation by the artist

So many friends said “I’m taking this idea!” — Good! Do yourself the favor of an introspective retrospective…

Getting and managing grants is a key part of sustainability for small orgs and projects. If the money’s not coming, it’s over. But — what about when the money IS coming but you’re not certain how to manage it? What about when you are making money and you realize it requires all new skills?

Over the last year I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of my favorite organizations, Detroit’s Allied Media Projects, to help them try to answer the latter questions, in partnership with the visionary, youth-led, media justice creating, Black-futures-building projects they act as a fiscal sponsor…

If you hope to make a positive social impact with your business idea, startup, or service offering and be financially sustainable, you my friend may too be a social entrepreneur!

You’re in the right place to learn how to create a social impact business if you:

  • Are a values-driven person with a new business idea (or a business you want to uplevel),
  • Are thinking of creating a project, offering, or startup to address a social issue,
  • Want to incorporate support for an issue you care about into your work.

In this article we explore social impact entrepreneurship and you’ll learn…

Centering people’s full experiences and the importance of self-determination when considering the impacts of design allows makers of all kinds to examine and create from a more ethical, systems-aware lens.

“Without choice,
no politics, no ethics lives.”
— Marge Piercy

Designers and experience creators are in the business of enabling human engagement, but people mostly engage with their lives autonomously to our designs. From the point of view of someone going about their daily life, their goals, needs and choices all occur within the context of systems, not only at discrete moments.

Healthcare systems, economic systems, legal systems, socio-cultural systems…

If you’re like many people I know, you started the year full of new ideas, and so at this point you might be:

  • not sure how to get them all done
  • thinking of another 1000 things and not sure which to act on
  • perhaps even a bit overwhelmed

Good people — Don’t set yourself up to fail, waste time, or build regret into your life! Cut the ideas that take you in the wrong direction and aren’t most valuable for you.

In this post I’ll go over how to assess an idea you’re considering or problem you’re ruminating on solving…

Hadassah Damien

design strategist & facilitator // economics researcher @rffearlessmoney // progressive technologist // performer

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