December 20, 2020

Ryan Rumsey - Design Leadership and organisational transformation

My guest in this episode is Ryan Rumsey who has worked for 20+ years as an executive leader and a designer building technology, teams, and organizations. He has a hybrid background in interaction design, front-end development, product management, and strategy and has worked for the likes of Apple, Electronic Arts, USAA, Nestlé, and Comcast. He is also the author of Business Thinking for Designers, published by InVision.

We talk about Ryan’s journey into design from the early days of the web, business thinking and design leadership, the human side of organisation transformation, and the 1980 film masterpiece, Flash Gordon.

(Apologies for the poor quality of my audio in this episode. A technology fail meant the proper version of my side didn’t record).



Transcript

N.B. This transcript is mostly done by AI, so there may be a few errors. Timestamps are included for accessibility and listening along.

Andy Polaine 00:09

Hi and welcome to Power of Ten – a podcast about design operating at many levels, zooming out from thoughtful detail through to organisational transformation and on to changes in society and the world. My name is Andy Polaine – I’m a service design and innovation consultant, educator and writer.

My guest today is Ryan Rumsey who has worked for 20+ years as an executive leader and a designer building technology, teams, and organizations. He has a hybrid background in interaction design, front-end development, product management, and strategy and has worked for the likes of Apple, Electronic Arts, USAA, Nestlé, and Comcast. He is also the author of Business Thinking for Designers, published by InVision, who are putting out some excellent material for the design community these days.

Ryan, welcome to Power of Ten.

Ryan Rumsey 00:57

Thanks for having me, Andy.

Andy Polaine 00:59

So they’re quite a list of well known names that you’ve worked for and a kind of a mixed background, tell us a little bit more about your journey to here.

Ryan Rumsey 01:08

Sure. My journey is probably very accidental, and probably saying yes to too many things too many times. My background was studying history. So I in sort of avoided going to art school, and flirted around with engineering when I first started university, you know, at a great time upon which the web was created. But I was bored, and didn’t particularly like engineering. So I moved over to history, because I found myself really enjoying the rabbit hole moments of research. But in the meanwhile, I was just playing around with the web and learning how to sort of code and design and continuing to work on artwork at home. And so while going through university, and then after I began just making things, or maybe reverse engineering things to make things

Andy Polaine 02:13

View Source was everyone’s friend back then.

Ryan Rumsey 02:15

That’s right. Folks began figuring that out, and then asking me to kind of make things And so began a journey into probably a, you know, a design career that I didn’t really take seriously until maybe 2003 or so. I had done quite a bit, but I hadn’t really done it full time until about then.

Andy Polaine 02:39

So did you sort of not identify as a designer?

Ryan Rumsey 02:42

I didn’t, actually between 2002-2003 I was a professional actor. And flirting with the idea of doing that and at night, then, because you’re when you’re acting, you’re not acting all the time. I was building websites for people and had a list of very interesting and intriguing clients, people who sold anything from you know, belt buckles at craft fairs to, you know, Pepperdine University Professors to, you know, early weed stores in West Hollywood, you know. Very interesting.

Andy Polaine 03:30

So, um, you know, also run an organization or company called Second Wave Dive, which has got a fantastic name.

Ryan Rumsey 03:38

Yes.

Andy Polaine 03:39

An interesting background. So, if anyone knows the film, Flash Gordon. So tell us about what it is exactly, right.

Ryan Rumsey 03:47

Yes. So one of the one of the best worst movies of all time, I think, is the 1980 version of Flash Gordon Queen has done the soundtrack for it. And so my favorite character is an actor named Brian Blessed, who, for those Americans, is a British actor, with the biggest bellowing voice in the world, and he has the beard in the movie to go with it. And he just plays a character who essentially says who wants to live forever and then commands his Hawkman to, you know, dive forward. And at this point, this is when Brian May is really blaring the guitar in a solo and so for me, it that movie is always resonated, but I kind of look at it as a second wave of me diving into some some new things, but then helping others who kind of want to see this second wave of themselves. Yeah, so anyway, to mix in some type of youth you know, affinity into a name.

Andy Polaine 05:01

So there’s a there’s actually, I just realized, a little sort of nerdy segue there because there’s a bit when he says who wants to live forever. And Queen who also did the soundtrack, in Highlander the song There’s No Time For Us has it that famous line in it.

Ryan Rumsey 05:15

Yes.

Andy Polaine 05:16

I’m guessing there was kind of some common thread that went through that.

Ryan Rumsey 05:19

There’s a common thread. Yes.

Andy Polaine 05:22

So, and so a lot of this is about design leadership about or helping design leaders, right. This is a lot of your work.

Ryan Rumsey 05:30

Now it is. It is about design leadership. And I think it’s also about these weird things we call transformations. You know, ultimately, right now, for the last, maybe five, six years, the idea of digital transformation, or design, transformation, or cultural transformation have been, you know, key initiatives inside of organizations. And I think at the root of all those, we’re talking about people change. We’re talking about the idea of changing the way colleagues and co workers make decisions together, gain trust with each other, and really develop better relationships so that customers and the company and frankly, the employees all benefit, we’ve just given it fancy new names and billion dollar budgets.

Andy Polaine 06:25

Yeah, yeah. And that’s very true. I mean, that’s been my experience, too. And I think a lot of the, you know, the struggle comes from mismatched expectations that, you know, we get the tech, but you know, it’s been sold to them that way, we get the tech and we get the platform. And then now, you know, everything’s gonna be shiny in our world. But actually, the other bit of technology is the cultural and structural stuff of the organization. And without changing that, you know, they don’t get anywhere. In fact, it can be sort of worse.

06:58

Right? Have you read the book? Dark Matter and Trojan horses?

Andy Polaine 07:03

Yes, I have indeed, yes. Yeah.

Ryan Rumsey 07:06

A wonderful book that really describes a lot of that. And I’ll say, Dan is also a Liverpool Football fan. So that’s another reason to read that book.

Andy Polaine 07:20

Because I know him through someone else, an ex-colleague of mine, too, and just sort of other people. And, Dan, if you’re listening, it’s time to answer the call to come on the show. But there’s that thing he says, we talked about a lot of similar things for ages. And he had a lot of film references about the MacGuffin from Hitchcock, which is, that thing that everyone is chasing, that you’ll never find out, you know, the secret documents, or whatever it is be never actually, it doesn’t matter what’s in it, it just drives the film along because everyone’s kind of chasing it. But the dark matter thing, he says a thing in there, where if you’re not, if you’re not disturbing the dark matter of the organization, which is all the things like kind of process and procedure and the way things are done around here, the stuff that’s kind of not really seen, but makes its presence felt, if you’re not disturbing that you’re probably not doing things properly.

Ryan Rumsey 08:13

That’s right. And I think, particularly for design leaders, the last 10 years or so we’ve been asked by organizations to come in and lead some type of change, disruption, disruption, you know, innovation transformation, all these these names. And I would argue, and certainly in my experience, and those that I’ve talked to quite a few, these organizations don’t quite know what they’ve signed up for.

Andy Polaine 08:43

Yeah.

08:44

And in turn that design leaders perhaps may be struggling with, you know, within 30 days of taking the job going, “Oh wait. Maybe they didn’t know what they were signing up for either.” You know…

Andy Polaine 08:59

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s where it’s kind of a bit like, you know, we’ve got these dragons eggs, can you help us hatch them? And then we come in and, and do that, and then the predictable or unpredictable kind of breaks loose? Which, which kind of brings me on to the book. Right. So how did it come about actually, because InVision, have been putting out sort of really great guides, all sorts of things.

Ryan Rumsey 09:21

Yeah.

Andy Polaine 09:21

Aaron and Leah, were on the one of the early Power of Tens.

09:25

Yeah, so I’ve been attending for a few years. There’s a an event here in the US called design Leadership Camp. That’s run by Carl Smith of the Bureau of Digital and InVision is one of the sponsors. And so I’ve been going for a few years and last year, just about a, I’d say a year ago, a year ago, last month, we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and this is when I was just starting to think about leaving corporate life for a long time and I had, you know I had a relationship with Aaron and and I approached them to say, hey, I’ve got this, this weird concept of a book. I have a lot of writing about it that I’ve not published. But I’d like to structure it in a way that is much more pragmatic and sort of approachable for folks. And would you be interested. And so that’s where the conversation started, and threw together an outline, and they showed some interest. And away we went. And so I, you know, I spent most of last fall [2019 - Ed.] writing the book. And so that’s where it came about.

Andy Polaine 10:35

So in it you talk about business thinking, you flip the design thinking thing around and say designers, just learn business thinking. And it’s something you know, I’ve always kind of slightly irked me about design thinking, which is this idea that we sort of don’t really talk in that way about other stuff. We don’t say, we’re going to send all of our designers on an accountancy thinking course. You just hire more accountants, right. The thing about design thinking or wanting to be more design driven, which is if you want more design, thinking in your organization, well hire some designers, right? But with it, you kind of talk about this translation thing. And actually, quite a lot of at least the first chunk of the book is kind of like a phrase book, for designers about business.

Ryan Rumsey 11:24

Right.

Andy Polaine 11:24

So, what underpinned that?

11:27

I think it was more my personal story of, you know, taking over, when I left Apple, I had an opportunity to actually lead product design and front end development at Electronic Arts. Yeah, for a brand new organization. So we had this weird combo of creating a role that had never existed inside a organization that had not yet existed. And financial accounting wasn’t helping me, right? Some basic MBA skills of market analysis or industry analysis wasn’t helping me get alignment with some of the other senior leaders.

12:09

And so I found that happening kind of over and over again, where there was, there are these great principles that I think are espoused to designers have be a better partner, learn business, you know, self reflect, those are all really complicated, difficult things to do. And so a lot of these these concepts were, you know, design thinking, not wanting to get into the debate, whether it’s good or not, how has in fact, risen, the level of awareness, and sort of vernacular around design. And what I noticed was that, you know, my MBA friends hadn’t done that for me, nobody was doing that for me. And so I had to kind of start doing it myself.

Ryan Rumsey 13:06

I knew it had some legs when I had some people on my own team, who would say things like, I can’t get into your brain, how did you even get to this point? So that I had to, like, you know, unwind my brain and make it more practical kind of activity led, and how might I use a design structured process like a loop to, you know, start teaching, hey, here’s how we can maybe use some of our research skills to understand our colleagues, here’s maybe how we can use some of our visualization skills to take those Cliff Notes that I’ve included in the book of like these weird business model names and actually draw them out as circles and lines to see what they might mean.

Andy Polaine 13:55

So that colleague that said I can’t get inside your mind that was not a designer colleague?

Ryan Rumsey 14:01

It was a designer on my team, where she and this is a she’s a wonderful designer and design leader now. Her name is May Ried. And this is after me kind of just doing it on my own for quite a few years where I think she saw me in a meeting talking about these things that weren’t designed things and resonating with folks who weren’t designers. And so she she stopped me afterwards and said, I can’t get into your head. How did you how did you even get to that point? I want to know how to get to that point kind of thing.

Andy Polaine 14:41

Right. Okay. No, I understood it the other way around, which was the business people were kind of saying I don’t understand how you got there. And so that that’s the translation. So can you unpack that a bit? So what what kind of things were you talking about? What kinds of language or ways of thinking did you then start to think about exposing? Like unwinding your mind.

Ryan Rumsey 15:03

Right. So I think there are a lot of reasons… So my experience is working inside large organizations. And I think at the crux of it were things like, “Hey, we want to move to product management,” or “Hey, we want to be Agile,” which were words that were said that did not match up to the do of the decisions being made. And so if you look at it, you know, and basic empathy map type things. There were mismatches there. And so, we also looked at other things like great service blueprints or journey maps, you know, really detailed, complex work that everybody seemed to love. And yet, they put four months worth of work into a drawer because they didn’t know how to action them.

Andy Polaine 15:59

That’s really common.

Ryan Rumsey 16:01

it’s really common. And so what I began to do was look more at behavior change and behavior design. So this weird thing of sort of studying almost like an academic, these other fields of study, and how they weren’t necessarily pragmatic, but then this design process was fairly pragmatic, how can we kind of blend those? And so I began to just start basically, by observing meetings of when decisions were made, and in what format and who was in the room to start to understand, you know, “Oh, this one leader only makes decisions when this other person’s in the room,” or, you know, “this one leader has to be the last person to talk,” right? To begin more understanding the human side of colleagues, much like we do customers. And, yeah, but then also learning about capex and opex. And learning inside large organizations that there’s still this quarterly or annual fiscal process around projects. And even if they call it product management, they still might need a, you know, 200 page business requirements document in order to sign off on a digital product that’s going to take three years to build, because really what they’re talking about is funding it as a capital expenditure, which means you need all the money up front and all the requirements up front, and you can’t deviate from the plan in order to spend the money that way. So it’s weird.

Andy Polaine 17:56

Yeah. Which really hampers teams. And I mean, that’s that sort of whole thing about funding the, or trying to get into fund the team rather than the project. Right?

Ryan Rumsey 18:05

Right.

Andy Polaine 18:06

Which we might come back to, because I’d like to come back to the sort of preconditions and bit in a second, actually. But just why you were on about the communications and decision making bit, there’s a whole chapter on communicating the options and how you should this is where you quote Dan Hill where he says, “For all the value they create, too often, designers appear naive in the face of genuinely understanding cultures of decision making, and of how an inability to generate political capital can undermine their ability to deliver change.” And I’m going to defend designers a bit. This isn’t just designers, but this is definitely an area… that thing that you’re talking about, have, we did all this work, and “Can’t you see this is the, you know, we’ve got this, these beautiful concepts and blueprints and the rest of it. For us, it’s so obvious that we should go ahead with this.” And yet, you know, if we fail to take the people on the journey, who might have to might also have some kind of professional skin in the game, something to lose, or at the very least have to kind of, you know, tell the benefit to other stakeholders, or, you know, maybe even shareholders, it just doesn’t go anywhere.

Ryan Rumsey 19:18

Right right. And, you know, I think you mentioned, Leah Buley, she didn’t report a few years ago while she was at Forrester, and she talked about, you know, this specifically to design, but I think it’s the case for anything. I talked to Product Manager friends, and I talked to engineering friends, and they have the same struggles that the sort of barriers that prevent more strategic impact are not market analysis, or, you know, financial accounting. They are, you know, kind of a lack in understanding, silos, politics, lack of, you know, maybe leadership that’s already in place and this concept of overall culture. And so this is when I began looking at it and saying, when it talks about our communication methods, why is it that we’re successful in one way with our narrative storytelling, but then it completely crumbles say in the decision making process? And then I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the phrase, your mother is the way she is because your mother is the way she is?

Andy Polaine 20:33

(Laughs) No I haven’t.

Ryan Rumsey 20:34

So the the phrase is, you know, generalized, of course, and this is not about my mom or yours, but it’s basically saying, we can’t see the patterns of the people we’re closest to, to understand, you know, why our frustrations of why aren’t they doing something differently when they’ve always done it the same way kind of thing. And so when it comes to things like communication, if I’ve been communicating with a particular method, and it has not been successful for two years, why am I continuing to communicate with that method? More importantly, why are we teaching others that that’s the only method to communicate with, right? And so this is, you know, getting into, there’s a time and place there are different scenarios when one method may be more useful than another. I think it’s always been around research that particularly, we, as researchers, we as designers, maybe aren’t the most effective at. We’re always struggling to get research funded. And yet, maybe talking about the validity of the research, or the academic approach, or the research is not the way to actually get that funded.

Andy Polaine 21:59

Yeah. It’s a… there’s a lot of solace to be had complaining about, “they just don’t get it”.

Ryan Rumsey 22:06

Right. Right. I, I gave a talk a few years ago about.. it was a Creative Morning’s talk. And it was essentially “Why does this keep happening to me?” And so if we talk about moving from job to job or company to company, and if I find myself always saying they don’t get it. If the same problem is following me from role to role, I’m the constant variable there. It’s me, right? And so I’m the only one who can sort of adjust and change. And, really, this was, my wife is a psychotherapist. So…

Andy Polaine 22:48

Oh, mine too.

Ryan Rumsey 22:50

So, if you ever heard the phrase, you know, breaking down to break through, I didn’t intentionally go about this, because I thought myself smart, it was because I was like, really struggling with my mental health and really being affected about not, not sort of getting through to people. And so it was almost like my own breakdown, just trying to try some new things.

Andy Polaine 23:15

You know, I think this is the thing that encouraged me to be more just put, can really go out there and offer design leadership coaching was, I’ve seen that happen a lot. And I’ve seen it happen at very junior level. Even in students going through their projects and masters students, which I’ve also, you know, had in tears in my office, and seeing that it’s not… right the way through to, you know, design leaders within larger organizations. Which is that it’s not a well, it’s not just a sort of, structural sort of practical problem that they’re dealing with. It’s this real kind of intertwined combination between them in a personal sense of self, and, and the kind of environment situation they find themselves in. And I think that some of that is because – I’m going to put this out there as a thesis – which is, I think that designers make the, the sort of barrier between… or they have far less separation between the kind of professional life and personal life than say, someone who does, you know, says, “Well, I’m going to go into business.", I mean, you know, the classic separation is not business, it’s personal. But I think for a lot of people who choose a career in the arts in general, that’s much, much more kind of entwined, and therefore, it’s, you know, there’s a lot more separation. There’s a lot of great stuff that comes with that, I think, and I would love to see sort of a lot of business folks go the other way. But I think that’s one of the reasons why it becomes a very, very kind of personal journey.

Ryan Rumsey 24:51

I would agree and resonate with that hypothesis, if you will. There’s a great podcast. based here in the States called the Hilarious World of Depression.

Andy Polaine 25:05

(Laughs). Sorry, I don’t know why I’m laughing at that, but it’s a good title.

Ryan Rumsey 25:07

And and the host is, he’s a famous.. Well, he’s a well known, you know, public radio personality, but he interviews creatives who suffer from from depression and other mental health stuff. And they will talk about, you know, this weird dynamic of sort of separating the professional life from the personal life and and how it’s really hard not to take things personally. Yeah. So that’s another podcast, I recommend, because you, you will kind of see there and resonate. And, and by the way, I am a big, huge advocate of mental health go get some help, if you need it. And, but I think you’re right, I think you’re right. And I’ve found that to be the case. And, interestingly enough, I’ve managed more than designers and lots of folks struggle with this. You know, particularly when they get into roles where they’ve put a lot of pressure on themselves. So when they move from that, say, IC into their first management role or say, even into a Director role, where now they’re really spending the majority of their time outside their craft, you know, it’s like everything but the craft, and put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed because they’ve succeeded thus far up to that point. And it can be pretty draining.

Andy Polaine 26:50

But I mean, it’s quite a 90-degree turn in many respects. And it certainly, you let go of a lot of your previous identity in order to go into that next one. And that’s, that’s not to be underestimated.

Ryan Rumsey 27:01

That’s true. I’m writing right now – and I it’s not ready to be published yet – but I’m talking about inertia. Yeah. So, you know, I think there’s been a lot of talks about starlings and murmuration, you know, and how the birds as an individual are different than the birds as a as a flock. What’s always interesting to me about murmuration is none of the wings of the birds touch ever. And so the concept of inertia that I’m talking about is, when you’re starting out a career, a lot of that inertia pole is towards your individual self. It’s about your own identity. But as you move through the career, there’s all these forces, all these pulls, if you will, to be more about the organization. And so especially if you get into like an executive role. There are many companies who don’t want you to be very authentic, or your individual self. And, and I think a lot of creative folks, designers struggle with that balance.

Andy Polaine 28:04

Yeah. So that brings me nicely onto this, this idea of sort of the preconditions of design maturity. So you talked about the Design Maturity Index, which Leah and Aaron put out the InVision report, which is excellent. And like you, I’ve been involved in a lot of kind of transformation projects, I’ve been involved in teaching clients, or coaching and mentoring clients at the higher end of things. And one of the things that there’s a mismatch about is, I said before, the expectation of what this process is. This is going to be fairly easy, we’re now going to start doing you know, whatever it is. Agile, we’re gonna work in sprints, we’re gonna, whatever, go digital, and yet that actually, you know, those are the dragons eggs. And that actually unleashes this massive stuff, which, if you’re lucky, there’s this kind of moment of realization across the organization and leadership of “Oh, my God, we actually have to completely rewire restructure wherever we are and how we work for this to work.” But the other thing that pretty commonly happens is the seed falls on barren ground, you know, where you’re brought in to kind of help those people and then it can end up being an exercise in frustration for all around because they see like, this would be a great way to work, and we want to work this, but we just can’t because, you know, process, procedure. I mean, I always kind of blame these sort of four or five Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which is an HR, IT, facilities, finance, and procurement, which all kind of – that’s the dark matter, right? – which just is there doesn’t change much. And they butt up against that all the time. So, here the thing. A lot of the business thinking for designers is around getting designers to kind of understand that language of business, which I think is very valid. And I hear you know, Jess McMullen talks about kind of designers learning kind of business, as a language and so forth, which I get and we’ve talked a lot in design and you do at the beginning of the book, about you know, now we’ve got to seat at the table and so forth. I once gave a talk and kind of like to flip this around a bit because I then wonder is well, is that is that the table we really want to have a seat at for starters? And have we now that we’ve talked about, we’ve earned a seat at that table as if they’re the sort of grown ups and we’re the kids. And that we’ve kind of, you know, we’ve now they’re letting us in, whereas I kind of wonder the other way around, which is, have those organizations have those been businesses earned the right to work in the design led way?

Ryan Rumsey 30:32

It’s a really good question. And now that I no longer work at large organizations, right now I can be very authentic. My answer is maybe going to be placed as a phrase that is commonly known with parents that you get what you get, and you don’t have a fit. Meaning that not every organization needs to be designed-led, or whether that’s even a thing of really being design-led, you know, and maybe, perhaps not every organization deserves it. And that’s okay. I think one of the biggest things that I’m trying to just sort of point out in the book is every company goes into business, whether big or small, to sort of survive as a company. And then if you are hired, whether as a designer or product manager, or HR or procurement, you’re hired, because the company expects you to produce some type of competitive advantage to keep it as a sustainable company to keep it in business. And that’s that sort of shift. And what I want, or what I hope for, is that designers become aware of this stuff to sort of see is this the right organization, for me, is this a match for my own integrity system, my own value system, because I think that’s where the rub happens. Look, there are there are companies all over that are gonna make a lot of money and make a lot of decisions that we don’t agree with, as individuals and as employees, and they kind of get to make those decisions. That’s especially if you live in a capitalistic world. That’s what happens, right? And I think the the transition that is happening, especially with companies that are, say, born of different types of value systems of wanting to bring sort of societal or environmental value back, rather than just financial, that’s now resonating with what we see demographically, with with folks who are coming into the market. And there’s always going to be this weird mix. And I think it’s going to move from this weird transition—or I’m hopeful—where design was really in demand. And companies thought that we just need designers. And then the magic will happen…

Andy Polaine 33:20

Magic fairy design dust.

Ryan Rumsey 33:22

Right? Magic fairy design dust. Where perhaps not just designers, but those entering the market are more aware of what they need, as an employee in order to exist in one of these companies, and almost say, like, come get me, here’s what I need from you, in order to be an employee at your space, and I need you to prove that. But I don’t think that all companies deserve to be, you know, quote, unquote, “design-led.”

Andy Polaine 33:57

Yeah, no, but that’s very wise advice. And I think the idea that you will… when you went back to that thing of all your problems following you around, or part of the kind of design maturity for designers, and other people, too, is, is to realize, “Oh, it’s not me, it is them.” And, you know, but occasionally to go, “Oh, no, it is me.” And actually, one of the things you kind of talk about there are companies, you know, who clearly are… They do want to go there but they don’t really kind of really know how. And right at the beginning actually of Business Thinking for Designers, you talk about map out that kind of vector of your stakeholders understand where they’re going and where you can meet them on the way and I think that goes a lot. That goes a long way to kind of helping people understand how they can communicate, and not just… there is some time where you I think you probably do just go “Do you know what, they just don’t get it and this is never going to happen here.” Versus “Oh they really want to get it I just need to kind of put this in language that gets them there.”

Ryan Rumsey 34:55

Right. There’s there’s a new map that I’ve put out into the world. called the Good Partner Map, you can go to ryanrumsey.com and grab it, it’s for free. I’ve put it up as a creative commons license. But what I do in that is I found that there were these weird maps, if you will, like, you know, the Strategizer stuff, Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas and sort of the business, folks were adopting those things. And then design folks were adopting things like empathy maps and service blueprints and customer journey maps. And sort of just crossing each other overnight and overlapping. And Dave Gray and the Xplane team have kind of merged that. But what I found was that neither really addressed behavior change. And so this Good Partner Map is like, what if we do a little bit of that value model? What do we as a say, function, provide to our colleagues and friends, not as a means to like try to convince them but just if we’re a self aware of what we’re offering, and then introduce a little Fogg, Behavioral Map type of stuff. Or Fogg Behavioral Model type of stuff of where we’re saying like, are they excited by this? Or do they think it’s really hard? What we’re we’re trying to propose and do? And then how might we adjust our say prompts, or make things a little bit easier for them? And so this is this weird remix of, can we take some of these tools and blend them together to say that really what we’re talking about, is improving the relationships, that at the heart of this is improving how we work together, so that we can make decisions where we can all live with them. It’s not like I have to give up my soul in order to get that right.

Andy Polaine 36:59

I’m smiling, because I’m definitely hearing the husband of a psychotherapist. It sounds like the kind of thing… you started sound like a couple therapists there, which is maybe a good sort of frame to kind of think about it in a way actually, if two people have got quite different needs, but actually want to coexist together. And bring up children, if you think of the kind of products and services as the kids.

Ryan Rumsey 37:23

Yeah, I’m influenced by a lot of things. And as the the husband of a psychotherapist would say that I am no way qualified to provide, you know, couples therapy or child psychology. Yeah.

Andy Polaine 37:39

Yeah. But it’s an interesting kind of parallel. I share, we share a lot of the bookcase that’s for sure. Hey look we’re coming up for time. As you know, the Power of Ten is named after the Eame’s film Powers of Ten, which is all about the relative size of things in the universe and sort of scale. So I ask all the guests, at the end, what’s the one thing that you think is overlooked or needs to be redesigned? Or maybe it’s it’s a brilliant thing that people sort of underestimate that has or would have an outsized effect on the world?

Ryan Rumsey 38:13

So I think the one thing for me is that when it comes to tools, when it comes to process, when it comes to method, a lot of designers already have what they need. I like to call it Weird Al Yankoviching, right? Your process or your tools, that everything is a remix, there’s a great video series called Everything Is A Remix. So when it comes to understanding your colleagues, when it comes to understanding, say the systems that are in play at work, whether the behaviors or skills of people, we have a lot of the tools were trained in these tools of how to work for the interactions of people. And so we are mostly focused on say customer stuff. But if we were just to remix that and sort of gauge the perspectives of our colleagues in the same way, we have the tools. So it’s there to help sort of ease some of the pressure and tension that we put on ourselves and maybe increase our confidence. It’s just to kind of go back and say, how might I remix my tools?

Andy Polaine 39:25

That’s not as scary as it might sound.

Ryan Rumsey 39:27

Not as scary.

Andy Polaine 39:29

So where can people find you on the internet?

Ryan Rumsey 39:32

Well, they could find me pretty much in two places. So ryanrumsey.com where I share just a lot of my my personal writing and things there. And then secondwavedive.com. There’s some exploring I’m doing sort of as a business and seeing how I might be able to live a life that I want to lead, so yeah,

Andy Polaine 39:59

And on Twitter or LinkedIn or any of those places?

Ryan Rumsey 40:03

Easy to find me @RyanRumsey – Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. I’ve been lucky enough to grab those, you know, usernames pretty quickly.

Andy Polaine 40:14

Ryan, thank you so much for being my guest on Power of Ten.

Ryan Rumsey 40:17

Thanks so much for having me Andy.

Andy Polaine 40:22

As I’m sure you’re aware, you’ve been listening to Power of Ten. My name is Andy Polaine. You can find me at @apolaine on Twitter, or polaine.com, where you can find more episodes and sign up for my newsletter Doctor’s Note. If you like the show, please take a moment to give it a rating on iTunes. It really helps others find us. And as always get in touch, if you have any comments, feedback or suggestions for guests, all the links are in the show notes. Thanks for listening and see you next time.