Ideally, your team should be shaping and creating future products and services that are increasingly designed around people’s needs.

1. Social media is about building relationships

The world is entering a super-interconnected era where, thanks to the internet, everything is plugged in and online, BERG chief executive and cofounder Matt Webb told the conference.

He says the ‘network’ is not simply about Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but about creating relationships between people and your brand.

It is about establishing a strong reputation within the online world. In other words, businesses that cultivate meaningful relationships with their customers rather than simply collecting friends will outlast their competitors.

2. There’s an opportunity for startups to target changing needs

A cultural anthropologist at Intel Labs, Genevieve Bell says there are a number of stable and ‘in flux’ attributes that make up what it means to be human that businesses should try to appeal to.

These ‘in flux’ attributes relate to the need to manage our reputations, a human desire to be surprised, a desire to be different, an ability to be forgotten and a need to feel time.

Ideally, your team should be shaping and creating future products and services that are increasingly designed around people’s needs. Your aim should be to centre these products on desire rather than focusing too heavily on design or technological capabilities and losing track of the human aspect.

While many startups and technology companies have appealed to stable attributes, ‘in flux’ attributes have been neglected to some extent, and that presents an opportunity for new startups.

3. Trust among team members equals great products

Google UX designer Jonny Mack had a stimulating insight into team dynamics after working on two projects, one with a large group that struggled with teamwork and another with a smaller team of three, where each individual went out of their way to push through the challenges.

Mack’s own assumptions and expectations changed after he witnessed group dynamics moving through a series of stages he identifies as “forming, storming, norming and performing”.

While designers tend to want to jump right in and get to work, it’s necessary to first think about how to foster a great team and encourage engagement by tackling these four separate stages.

The first ‘forming’ stage marks a period where the team get to know one another and the project, and make decisions about high-level goals.

The second stage – ‘storming’ – occurs once the team has built up enough initial trust for everybody to feel comfortable when sharing ideas and views.

The third stage is ‘norming’, where people have aired their grievances and have now committed to the direction in which the group has decided to take the project.

The final stage is ‘performing’, and involves all members of the team collaborating closely and operating with less oversight from managers.

Mack argues that steering people through these steps of group establishment will encourage a cohesive working method for honing a powerful and productive team.


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