Say hi to Nalla Faye, Director of Design at H&M, living in Paris, and Ambition Empower member since September 2021. Nalla is currently following 4 different tracks; AI & Design, Digital Ethics, Behavioral Design, and Leadership in Design and Product Organizations.
Nalla has a super interesting career. She started out in economics, specialized in journalism writing about Tech and media, and then turned to UX, working for Topshop, Testapic, and now H&M.
Hi Nalla! We’re so happy to have you with us. What’s your impression so far?
– I really like it! The combination of things to do, live meetings, and miro boards to collaborate is really powerful, and it makes the different tracks easy to follow. Also, I really like the leaders. Kim Goodwin, Chris Noessel, Per Axbom, and Susan Weinschenk are all super-skilled and very engaging.
Wow! We’re so happy that you like it! What would you say makes Empower different from other professional growth opportunities?
– What makes it different? That it’s easy and straight to the point. I learn a lot without wasting time. Conferences are often fun, but more inspiring and social than practical. Courses can sometimes work, but the Empower setup where we learn continuously in small chunks makes it very sustainable and easy for me to apply that new knowledge to H&M week after week. And that’s really what it’s all about – making use of what you learn. Right?
Absolutely! Is there anything else that you would like to add?
– Yes. The breakouts in the live sessions have been really useful. It’s so lovely to connect and talk casually to people outside your company. It brings new perspectives. Overall by listening in or interacting with others, I get a lot of “aha” moments from the sessions, which makes me feel more empowered and inspired.
Thanks, Nalla! I really appreciate talking to you! Good luck with everything!
Ambition Empower is a professional development service where design and product thought-leaders help you and your team grow. Empower is optimized for your busy life, allowing you to spend as little as one hour per week, and still stay ahead of the competition. Read more, and join Nalla and almost 200 other design and product professionals here!
Habits. The key to success in so many different situations… Last week I talked to Lyndon Craig, Head of Design at Electrolux APAC & MEA, and a member of our professional development program, Ambition Empower.
You’re in Singapore. When I start my workday here in Sweden, you’re nearing the end of yours. How has Empower worked out for you so far?
– Attending the live sessions has been a challenge, for sure, since they usually start around 10 or 11 pm my time. Although, the ones I’ve managed, with Kim Goodwin and Susan Weinschenk, have been great!
Succeeding with continuous professional growth is all about creating productive habits. When, and how, are you finding the time to get through the list of recommended articles, videos, etc.?
– Haha, my daughter is an early riser. She gets up a quarter past five. Way earlier than she needs to. I go up with her, drink my coffee, and catch up with Empower. For me, this works best. Once the workday gets going, I find it hard to take time for myself, and since I often have meetings in the evenings, mornings work best for me.
Going forward. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to?
– Yes! Talking about habits… I’ve started following Susan Weinschenk’s new track on Behavioral Design. I’ve got a few things to catch up with, but it’s an area that I’m really interested in, so I’m very much enjoying this.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me Lyndon, and thanks for being a part of Empower!
Ambition Empower is a professional development service where design and product thought-leaders help you and your team grow. It is optimized for your busy life, allowing you to spend as little as one hour per week, and still stay ahead of the competition.Get your 1-year-membership now!
– The setup, with a mix of live events and things to do on your own time, is perfect! Even when you forget to plan for it, you can always make time for some of the bite-size material, even when super busy.
– Yes, and it saves us time in finding great new material. We usually spend time reading up on new trends and methods anyway, but here we can follow in the footsteps of Kim Goodwin and Susan Weinschenk and get a curated list of recommendations!
Glad you like it! Our goal is to help all members to keep growing in a fun, efficient, and accessible way. So far, has Empower helped you change the way you work, or made you more efficient?
– Absolutely. We have been inspired to rethink how we work with internal stakeholders, seeing them as customers, or users, of our work. We have worked with UX for many years, but both Susan and Kim have given us valuable tools that have helped us become even better at aligning our research work with the company’s strategy.
– One concrete example is that we are looking into Continuous Discovery, working closer with the development teams, in addition to the more strategic projects we already do. This adds value both for our employer and for us.
– Ultimately, it is all about how we can build better products. We want to deliver a great experience for the customers, and create value for our business. Empower, and everything we learn, inspires us to explore new ways of working.
Finally. Do you have anything in particular that you would like to share with others who consider joining?
– Come along! All the methods we go through are very hands-on and easy to apply in our everyday work.
– Yes. Being two people from the same organization, who attend the same tracks, makes it easier to put what we learn into practice. We collaborate a lot and discuss what we picked up from a session or related to some of the shared material. Sometimes we decide to dive deeper into a topic, such as the Continuous Discovery method, where Ambition Empower led the way into this area for us.
Thank you so much for the great feedback, and for taking the time to talk to us! Best of luck going forward!
Ambition Empower is a professional development service where design and product thought-leaders help you and your team grow. It is optimized for your busy life, allowing you to spend as little as one hour per week, and still stay ahead of the competition. Get your 1-year-membership now!
How many products and services have you created? How many ends have you designed?
There is a gap in the consumer lifecycle that needs attention – the end. The problems are piled high in this gap: pollution, unwanted pictures on social media, risks to security…
– We talked to Joe Macleod back in 2017 about ends. Highlighting how companies are poor at creating ends… even poor at admitting ends exist… and scared to embrace endings as something natural. We focused mainly on highlighting the lack of good endings and that there was a gap to be filled. Then we talked to Krystal Higgins about onboarding in Episode 272. The beginning of a relationship, of adoption.
– Now it’s time to talk to Joe about offboarding, designing better ends. Endineering, as Joe calls it. What we can do – practically – to create good endings.
At Ambition, our mission is to help design and product professionals to grow, both in capability and confidence. Now, we’re starting up what’s probably our most important collaboration this year. Empower is growing, and it’s time to move beyond google docs, duct tape, and manual labor.
👋 So, say hi to Carl Rynning and Matic Tribe! Carl was one of our first Empower members, and Matic Tribe is a team of highly talented developers in Gothenburg. We’re so happy that they want to take Empower to the next stage together with us!
🥇 First up, we’ll implement a bunch of things to make it easier for Jane, Anders, Nathalie, and the rest of us to run the service. Later in the spring, we’ll also add several useful member features, not least making the service available as an app on your phone. So, yes, there will soon be an app for that!
🙋♀️ Right now, we’re getting ready for some really exciting co-creation and user testing sessions with members, so let us know if you want to help out!
With more than 2 million downloads UX Podcast is one of the world’s biggest podcasts for design and product people. There are just so many classic episodes with people like; Indi Young, Brad Frost, Erika Hall, Jeff Gothelf, Kate Rutter, Melissa Perri, Mike Monteiro, Alan Cooper, Brad Frost, and Luke Wroblewski. And more are coming!
Now… going forward… all the episodes will be recorded exclusively together with the members of Ambition Empower!
Join Ambition Empower and follow the UX Podcast track to get backstage access to James Royal-Lawson, Per Axbom, and guests. Get inspiration from a wide variety of the world’s most exciting design and product people – LIVE – at least once a month.
Psst. This track will not include weekly tasks or preparations, you just join the sessions and enjoy! 🌈
Knowledge about nudging, gamification, and behavioral psychology is absolutely essential. The more you and your team know and understand people and behavior, the better products and services you can create, and the more you can motivate people to take action.
I’m so happy that Susan Weinschenk, author of, e.g., “Neuro Web Design,” “How to Get People to Do Stuff,” and “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People”, will be leading a track on Behavioral Design at Ambition Empower!
Topics will, e.g., include:
How to design to encourage particular decisions The impact of social norms and how to use them in your designs
Unconscious instincts and how your messaging, wording, and images might affect the urge to take action
Habit formation and conditioned responses – how actions become habitual, and how to design for habit formation
When rewards do and don’t work, why gamification often fails and what to do about it
How to encourage the desire for mastery as a motivator through your design decisions
Why some things grab our attention, and others don’t, and how to design to get attention
Generational differences in thinking and behavior and their impact on the design decisions you make
System 1 and System 2 thinking and how to design for one vs. the other
Professional development in the post-industrial world is broken. The old waterfall model Learn→Work→Retire no longer applies. As we advance as design and product professionals, we need to keep growing beyond what we learn on the job. We continuously need to improve our “soft” skills, like leadership, and conquer new areas, such as AI – and we need to do this while working full-time jobs and living our best lives with our loved ones. Continuous growth sounds great, but the calendar is packed, so… how can we make it happen?
From a national and corporate perspective, professional development is all about competition. Countries need to develop and keep the best talent to ensure a prospering society, and companies need to outrun or keep up with their competitors. Yet, there are no national structures or systems to ensure that academics in tech or design continue to grow and stay on top after they leave University. This responsibility lies solely on the employers and employees.
Demand for tech and design people has never been higher, recruitment costs are soaring, and employees stay shorter and shorter. Nevertheless, access to valuable professional development is still not a given.
– “What happens if we invest in developing our people, and then they leave us?”
– “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
This is an old saying, but it’s still true. Investing in your people is not only the right thing to do to ensure organizational development; it’s also a cheap way to attract and retain talent.
However, when companies do decide to invest, they often resort to internal learning platforms to teach you about… corporate values, sustainability, and GDPR. This is all good, but it doesn’t really address the challenge we’re focusing on here. In all fairness, sometimes these organizations will also provide access to a traditional video-based online learning platform, e.g., LinkedIn Learning, or send you on a conference or 2-day workshop.
This is… something. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
Here’s what’s wrong
Online self-studies like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and others are not responsive enough to cater to the participants’ needs. And “do it when you have time” is often a bug, not a feature. Unfortunately, later often turns to never. On top of that, the content quickly gets old, and the quality is often so-so.
Conferences are great, for inspiration (and parties!). And don’t get me wrong, we really need that, but in terms of professional development, they’re the wrong solution. Believe me, I’ve organized quite a few.
Traditional 2-5-day courses… First, it’s tough for most of us with busy schedules to take that amount of time out from work and away from our families. Second, if we manage to get away, it’s really hard to remember what we learned a few weeks later. It’s a bit like cramming for an exam at Uni. A few intense days of study, pass the test, and… what did I learn again? And, back at work, we’re caught up in the same routines and ways of working as before.
Longer formats, with a few weeks of space between the course days/sessions, are also hard to prioritize. But since you get to reflect and practice between the sessions, they can work well when, e.g., shifting into a new role. But, change is constant, and we need to keep growing. Every day.
Ok. Professional development is broken. So what? Do we have a solution? I think so. It’s definitely not perfect yet, but we have a few really promising ideas.
Ambition what? Empower.
Ambition Empower is a subscription service for continuous development where thought-leaders within product and design help you and your team grow. It is optimized for your busy life, allowing you to spend as little as one hour per week and still stay ahead of the competition.
It is still early days, and the service is changing and developing as we learn more about what works and what doesn’t. It’s not perfect by any means, but both our members and we are very excited about it so far.
Fundamental success factors
So, what does it take to create a continuous learning experience that helps people grow, if not every day, so at least every week? We’re currently trying out lots of ideas, but here’s a list of what we, so far, believe are fundamental success factors, and that we are experimenting with for Ambition Empower.
For professional development to really work, it needs to be:
Continuous. Learning new things needs to be continuous and integrated into our everyday lives. We need something new, if not every day, so at least every week.
Organized. It needs to be planned. We need that time blocked in our calendars, with elements that cannot be pushed to “later.” We also need weekly plans and to-do lists.
Supportive. When we get stuck or fall behind, we need an occasional supportive message or two.
Bite-sized. It needs to fit into a busy and fragmented schedule. We can’t dedicate days, but an hour is fine. Or at least a few minutes here and there.
Highly curated. Time is scarce, and we need to be highly selective. If you google, e.g., “design leadership,” you get 845.000 hits. With a 5-minute average reading time, that’s 3.000 years. We don’t have that. We need help finding and prioritizing what to consume, preferably from the greatest experts on the very topics we’re interested in.
Accessible. It needs to be online so that everyone can participate. Vilnius, Varberg, or the Vatican. It does not matter.
Live, and in real-time. Meeting other people, even if it’s online, is underrated. Doing together is growing together, also on a Miro board in a break-out session.
Agile. The topics and content need to continuously adapt to the latest insights and, of course, to the members’ needs.
Affordable. By coordinating and pooling our resources, we can make this happen and hire the best coaches and experts to help us develop our skills.
These are just a few thoughts, originating from our work with Ambition Empower. There’s much more to be said, but this will have to do for now.
What would you add to the list, and what are your thoughts on continuous professional development? E-mail me at . I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!
Vi fortsätter att knyta till oss de allra bästa inom UX- och produktledarskap, tjänstedesign och verksamhetsutveckling.
Johanna Strömberg har arbetat som design lead i både stora, multinationella, organisationer med över 100.000 användare, och i små verksamheter med mer nischade användare och kunder. Digitala arbetsplatser, e-handel, och AI-baserade tjänster är bara några exempel på spännande saker som Johanna har i sin ryggsäck.
En av Johannas främsta styrkor är en grym kombination av struktur och engagemang. Det här gör det möjligt att röra sig framåt blixtsnabbt – inte bara för Johanna, utan också för hennes team.
Att arbeta med Johanna är alltid kul! Hennes härliga energi och driv gör varje dag på jobbet både rolig och givande!
Johanna – det är så kul att ha dig ombord – välkommen till Ambition! 🚀
Vill du också vara med på vår resa – som kollega, kund, eller samarbetspartner? Följ Ambition på LinkedIn, och skicka ett meddelande till , så tar vi det därifrån. 😊
Vi fortsätter att knyta till oss de allra bästa inom UX- och produktledarskap, tjänstedesign och verksamhetsutveckling.
Hej Kristina! Du imponerade stort på Cecilia, Nathalie och mig under anställningsintervjun. Ditt sätt att koppla design till affär, din orädda attityd, och dina resonemang kring arbetssätt vittnar om otroligt hög potential. Utöver din designutbildning från Chalmers så har du skaffat dig ledarerfarenheter från både Loughborough University, och från ett internship på Infineon i Tyskland och USA.
Hur kommer det sig att du redan så tidigt i din karriär intresserade dig så mycket för ledarskap? – Svårt att säga. Kanske är det för att många i min närhet jobbar med ledarskap i olika former. De är allt från lärare till VD:ar. Dessutom har det nog mycket att göra med mig som person. Jag drivs av förändring, och att vara med att skapa den. När intresset för UX växte så insåg jag snabbt att jag utöver att identifiera behov och designa lösningar, också måste ha förmåga att förmedla dessa insikter, och arbeta tillsammans med övriga delar av organisationen på ett bra sätt. Design, och verksamhetsutveckling, är ett lagspel. Jag tror att det är därifrån det kommer… att det är därför jag är så intresserad av ledarskap.
Under de senaste åren har du arbetat på en liten SaaS-startup inom byggsektorn. Vilka erfarenheter tar du med dig från de här åren, både till Ambition, och de kunder du kommer att arbeta för? – Att jobba på ett litet startup skiljer sig väldigt mycket från större bolag. Ta bara det där med vilka rutiner som finns, som ligger till grund för hur företaget fungerar. I ett litet startup skapar man dem efterhand. Man lär sig att tänka snabbt och lösa problem utan att det finns någon manual. För mig har detta varit väldigt nyttigt. Jag har fått en väldigt bra känsla för helheten, och hur UX och design vävs samman med bland annat affärsstrategi och kundservice. – En annan sak som jag tar med mig är hur otroligt viktigt det är att få till ett bra samarbete med utvecklarna, och det här gäller säkert oavsett storlek på bolag. Man vinner så otroligt mycket på att ha en gemensam bild av varför man gör en viss förändring, och vilka behov hos användarna man vill tillgodose.
Till sist. En kort fråga. Vad ser du mest fram emot nu när du börjar på Ambition? – Kaffet 😉, och sen så klart att få jobba med ett företag som ser helheten när det kommer till UX och organisation! Ni, och nu får jag äntligen säga VI, är ett otroligt gäng som jag ser fram emot att lära mig av – och bidra till – så att våra kunder i sin tur kan leverera ännu mera värde till sina kunder. Det här skall bli fantastiskt spännande!
Tack Kristina! Välkommen till Ambition! 🌟
Vill du också vara med på vår resa – som kollega, kund, eller samarbetspartner? Följ Ambition på LinkedIn, och maila mig på , så tar vi det därifrån. 😊
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We help designers and innovative organizations to grow – both in capability and confidence.