Background: Better by design / NZ trade enterprise.

Helping NZ companies being successful internationally, culture of sustainable growth

Human centred design (HCD) is now essential no longer optional. In order to have a successful product and business, HCD needs to take place. It is designing on a social level, community level, entrepreneurial level and empathy level. It is human focused.

” Be real, be bold, be human and know why your doing it. ” – Nicky Toresen

Culture of design has evolved in the last 20 years, it is less head more heart. Rise of social consciousness and awareness. Understanding people and empathising, do not assume you know their bias and situation. There is no expert of each individual human, the only way to understand someone or something is be fully involved. Example – If you want to know how lions hunt do not go to the zoo you go to the safari. If you want to know how something works, emerge yourself in it. Do not just stand on the sidelines and observe.

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Consumers do not just buy products anymore they want to have their own input towards the creation. They want to be a part of the solution, as it is their situation designers are attempting to solve and products that will do this. Customers and creators co creating together

PURPOSE – Have a culture of purpose, have something to say, not just something to sell. Not about profit anymore but about purpose. What makes it meaningful?

” Defining your purpose is difficult because its hard to read a label from inside the jar.” – Nicky Toresen

This reminds me of the riddle “ What do you use every single day, but never pay for? What is truly yours but came from somewhere else? What is very personal but shared with everyone? “ – Your name. Your purpose is hard to identify yet it is a core of your identity, you go through life striving towards it, learning about it, working and improving it. It is individual to you yet openly apart of your life.

What makes you, you? What gift can we give to the world that other people can’? What are you the only of?


Last thoughts: Being different enough to be rememberable and to have peoples attentions. But this can mean that there is more pressure. To be confronting and different but prepared- individuality. How to work with teams? Duos – who do you trust? Seek collaboration over competition.

Nicky recommended a human centred design studio SY PARTNERS, founded by Keith Yamashita who works towards several things that Nicky does but on a larger, global platform directly with brands (Examples -Starbucks, Nike and Dove).

Keith Yamashita – Chairman and founder of SY Partners

SY Partner Motto – “ In a world that too easily settles for less, we believe it is worthy to envision, believe in, and fight for greatness. That’s the work we do alongside our clients, everyday.”

You > Duo > Teams > Your organisation > Constituents > Society

From duos you make a team.  If you have a trusted duo, no work is isolated and everything is beneficial. Completing each other. There domino trickle effect to the rest of the society. The key thing is trust. Even in a duo, individual gift that is your essential duty as a team member that specialises you.

Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habit of great creative teams – Speech from 2012/2013 Bechance conference.


Common passion and belief: Greatness. Greatness and creativity go hand in hand.

Paradox – We tend to think of creativity as the work of a soloist. Interesting virtually of all acts of greatness is the work of an assumable. What is the importance of the role of a soloist and the role of assumable?

How to improve the way the world works.

SY Partner e.g IBM all about data and data collected in the system. A project about their team doing real time grabs of data from all over NYC putting them up on a digitised walls that teaches people what do and what they can do. 40 screen versions of an immersive film that you can walk into, where you can dive more deeply into what scientists, mathmations, programmers, designers, project managers, scientists from IBM do were displayed in detail – diversity of people within the assumable all working towards a common course from their each individual purpose.

On Starbucks: “100 year old businesses are rare, evolving companies is essential for survival”. So much happens within a century, issues change, society changes, trends change, a company must change with it always being current and cohesive yet remaining in line to it’s own identity.

Collaboration, virtual or in person. Areas where people feel comfortable to communicate and share knowledge is important in an work environment.

Unstuck app

For the Soloist – brilliant people who are soloist. Genius of creation, encounter the moment of spark. People who try to do the most and aspire to the most, usually get stuck all the time. As they hit a boundary every time you engage. How vital it is as soloist to get unstuck, an easy way to pinpoint why your stuck?  Helps you focus on what your feeling, if you are feeling ‘I don’t know how to go forward’ – allowing you to understand what the road blocks are. Helps dig out of you what you intuitively know about how you wanna get unstuck. Which then gives you why your unstuck and 11 ways to help solve it.

Teamworks Website

Assumable – Great teams do not just come about by chance. Cultivate of specific habits of what people do that makes them great. It is built on the key habits of great teams, start with foundation of each member of the team understanding their ‘superpower’ – what they do better and extraordinarily at then any other team member. If everyone is playing to their superpower there is great purpose making of their roles, which is essential for satisfaction. Purpose building – What does this mean? Why should we care? Why is this interesting? Essential to how teams become great as they have a reason to answer these question/solve an issue with their individual ‘superpower’.

SY partners has created tools for the modern designer and team on how they approach common challenges like getting moments where you hit the wall and to beneficially collaborate and assemble a team. In the fast pace industry like design it is essential that designers and creatives know how to quickly start and continue to work efficiently and have ways to solve the moment when they can not. Most importantly finding a way to do this all with purpose.

It is no longer just a list of things to do at work, but a series of peoples purposes working together towards innovation.

FORCES – Great teams see the forces at play, and learn how to capitalise on them.

Creative people commonly focus so narrowingly on one task and one view,  seeing the forces at play takes a much broader view. Seeing vs looking. What is seeing? What lens you decide to put over yourself for how you view the world. Do you see possibility when you come to a new situation? Do you see waste that could be eradicated? Do you see how team interactions work? Do you see the flow of things? Do you see how things get stuck and how issues occur? What lens you choose to use is directly correlated to how effective you are as a individual and how collectively as a team what you can do. The ability to switch lenses from belonging, to waste, time, to flow in any given situation you encounter is critical to your success. Not just looking at the world but seeing what is going on and calculating how you can be effective to the situation. (Yamashita, “The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams”)

When you have a purpose what becomes vital is understanding the forces that come at play around your team. Whats going on that might prevent you from living up to that purpose? What is going on in the dynamic of the team? What’s going on in sometimes the bigger institution around you? Your team has to see vividly whats going on in that landscape. From there you can make bold moves. Try and do everything and instead of focusing on the most important things.

The world throws all unpredictable things that plans do account for.

Being able to reframe things, resilience and rework things to be positive is essential for teams. Teams determine trust of action of others. Determine a belief in others to take action. Whether small or large definition of greatness it almost always requires building belief in others to take action.

Duos -‘The smallest atomic unit of trust you can have as a team. If we are connected as a duo we must work it out. You and me we have no were else to shove the blame.’

Decision making – Deciding how we work together becomes vital,how to use you time, capital, challenge your passions, imagination. This may be intuitive to some people and come as a steady flow of progress or a list of steps to complete, an equation to solve with clear outlines to take. Intuitive vs step by step.

Keith Yamashita basically explains what Nicky covered just more in depth as we ran out time in our session. He really approaches design thinking in a hands on, work related context that revolves around group thinking. Dissecting each persons involvement and input within a group and how each persons ‘superpower’ can benefit the situation resulting in a great outcome.


Albert, J. D., & Karn, K. S. (2014, February 7). 5 steps to USABLE Product Design [Digital image]. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from

Yamashita, K. (n.d.). The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams. Lecture presented at 99% Behance Conference in United States of America, New York City. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from


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