I run a separate publication for Design, Innovation, and Human Behavior. The random writings here are on Life Lessons and Personal Development. Other publications have picked up 4 articles: Leaving Netherlands, Startup Hiring, Startup Life, and Women in Tech.

And these were the ones I wrote with my heart:

Image for post
Image for post

Who is the new You facing 2021? What are your lessons?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Fabian Kühne on Unsplash

I’m writing this with a reference to C.G. Jung’s concept of collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is — to put it in plain English — the archetypal way we humans behave. This influences how we go through archetypal events such as birth, relationship, mating, illness, death, etc. When a world event is ongoing, we could see how the collective unconscious is recognized worldwide. In order to grow as an individual, we need to consciously derive meaning from the collective behavior and make conscious efforts to not to be lost in the push and pull of the collective energy.

The very noticeable collective unconscious that we face in 2020 is the crisis and panic caused by the pandemic. Humans everywhere responds to it differently, but with a clear pattern. Some of them are shrinking/separating, some of them are growing/connecting. …


I’ m no longer your customer

In 2018 I signed up for Medium membership. Since then, I received extra (one or two) weekly emails on what to read. There’s really a lot happening on Medium and despite some interesting stories I still wasted a lot of time to reach the right pool of curated stories. In the end, I appreciated more of “from your network” and “related stories” than the curated stories from the editors. Many of them are written by authors who don’t need to get promoted anyway.

On the bright side, I could access stories with asterisk (*) sign that were previously inaccessible to me before my membership. I found awesome authors (who never made to the weekly curated stories) yet have a lot of followers and offer really different perspectives. They just don’t voice one perspective in an article — typical of the curated authors — but they combine multiple intertwined perspectives, find the holes among public discussions, and offer a synthesis, an out-of-the-box perspective. …


A Soliloquy on The Divine Feminine and The Divine Masculine

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

When I was 4 years old, I learned the word “God” in two languages. One language from my country of birth, and another one from far away. Half of my extended family inherited the language from their ancestors who came to my country of birth centuries ago.

Immediately upon learning the words, I saw two people in my pre-logical mind, a man and a woman, standing tall among the stars and galaxies. I associated one word for the man and another for the woman.

The man was holding the earth, and the woman was holding a book. Earth can be a symbol of provision or external supply (masculine) and book a symbol of nourishment or internal supply (feminine). …


Two Mountains, Many People, Similar Stories

Image for post
Image for post
Java, Sulawesi, Lombok, for your reference

Mount Lawu, Java island. Altitude: 3150 meters (10335 feet).

The mountain stood 3265 meters (10712 feet) high. I took a half-day climb from a high land on Java, Indonesia. Just before the summit, there’s a camp area where we could either set up our own tent or get inside one of the three big tents owned by the food sellers (two of them are only open in weekends, one of them is open year round — the owner lives there).

I shared a big tent with a food seller, her family, a group of men, and my small group of three. The group of men were roughly in their 30’s and 40’s, who came from all over Indonesia. They climbed as a professional community: mobile phone technicians (imagine designers climbing mountains together!). They said that it was the only time they went outdoors for fun. …


In a previous post, I have discussed why strategy is the most forgotten part of design. In this article, let’s talk about strategy. It could be a profession or a title/role in an organization a.k.a. Design Strategist, but any designers need strategic skills. Therefore, although I like to use the term Design Strategy, I’d rather call the general individuals Strategic Designers.

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration by Alice Lee — I’m a fan!

1. What Design Strategy is Not

Design Strategy is not Design Management

Design Management is about managing a design project or a design team or both. Their strength is in the organization design and their responsibility is in the operations of design. …


I was born to readily love anyone.

What prevents me from loving is fear. The fear can come from myself or other people.

My best moments are when I get rid of my fear and the only fears available between me and others are theirs.

People translate deep-seated fears into many endeavors, from gaslighting, politics, to public bullying. I am always amazed of how capable humans are in translating their fears into so-called intelligent attitude and behavior. I cannot understand how they do that without being aware of the pain it causes.

I am here in this world to readily love anyone. Such a bleeding heart that I have to use my body to sense who deserves my love and who doesn’t. Most People who need my love are physically around me. Only a very few are remote. That is why life makes me move, if not countries then cities. I have to keep moving because life wants me to touch more people. …


America is so internationally known yet so blind of what’s going on in the world

Image for post
Image for post
(image source)

America has people of all colors and sizes from all over the world as its citizens. That way, they forgot that there’s such a thing as American culture. When we say culture, it’s not the just the ancient traditions brought by each multiple ancestors like German, Ghanaian, Indian, Irish, Korean, Nigerian, etc. Culture is also about what the society has evolved into. It’s the daily practices, attitude and perception about each other as a human as well as a nation, connected to geographical situations like Mid West, Southern, New Yorker, Southern Californian, etc.

Such culture is the biggest filter Americans use in seeing humans. You think the brown person from another corner of the world is like a typical brown American person. You think the white person from Netherlands is supposed to behave like a white American. And this problem cannot be solved by the political correctness of trying to protect certain identities from being discussed. …


Earlier I wrote about three roles of design: research, strategy, craft. In this article, I’m addressing research for a particular industry: digital service industry or #DesignInTech. Within the community, there are many practical guidelines about iteratively crafting a digital prototype. We see so many tools built to support such activities, but we don’t see enough practical guidelines about iterative research to obtain insights.

When it comes to HCI or social science graduates, they might have learned many research methods that allow them to practice solving different types of problems , but most tech companies are interested in solving only problems that generate capitalistic revenue. We get to see so many common problems — with slightly different contexts and customers — being solved by the billion dollar industry. …


Know that research is just one role of design, and there are other roles to perform in order to complete a design work.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Dubberly et al. ACM Interactions — Volume XV.2 2008

The above picture is called Analysis-Synthesis Bridge model. It describes the three processes of design:

  1. Bringing the concrete to the abstract
  2. While in the abstract, interpret the current for the future
  3. Bringing the abstract to the concrete

Research is process #1, where we study the concrete human data (real human condition), and derive abstract models (insights) out of it.

Prototyping (or I’d rather call it Crafting) is process #3, where we develop a concept into artifacts. This is what is addressed as Design by the proponents of Research-Design dichotomy.

The Research-Design dichotomy is widely known in the digital product industry, where most designers came from technology background. With their engineering mind, they’re very inclined to doing the crafting part of design. When they need human data, they ask the help of researchers, who mostly came from social-humanities background. …

About

qonita

[a storylistener | a connector] on a journey to spend the privilege of living among the multitude of humanity in multiple countries

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store