Method Podcast, Episode 6

From sketching to Legos, UX Researcher Sydney Hessel talks about the creative benefits of serious play

In this episode, Aidan Simpson interviews UX Researcher and Sprint Master Sydney Hessel about her unconventional research background, the ins and outs of the sprint methodology, and getting people out of their comfort zones to generate creative ideas. Subscribe to get more episodes on Google designers’ creative journeys—directly from Google Play, iTunes, or RSS.

A few highlights:

On using toys to brainstorm business policies, 9:35 “We recently trained to do something called Lego Serious Play. It’s basically using team building with Legos to solve business challenges.”

On pushing sprinters out of their comfort zone, 15:11 “As long as you can get someone started with something small and low risk, they can cover a lot of ground very quickly. It's always the people [who are afraid of the creative exercises] that end up being some of the best builders and the best artists.”

On getting Sprinters to open up, 15:55 “People have to have their minds open to other peoples' ideas and solutions. If you can bring in humor or play or lightheartedness, I think it helps people open up to each other a lot.”

Handy info and links for this episode:

  • Corp Eng: The team responsible for inventing, building, implementing, and supporting all of Google’s internal tools and systems
  • Design Sprint Kit: A five-phase framework that helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing.
  • Jake Knapp: A design partner at Google Ventures and author of the New York Times bestselling book Sprint.
  • IC: Individual Contributor, a non-management member of a team
  • Squiggle Birds: A five-minute exercise to help participants get in touch with their visual thinking.
  • Sprint Master: Someone trained to run a design sprint.
  • .org: is the company's philanthropic arm, which partners with innovative nonprofits.

Sydney Hessel is a San Francisco-based UX Researcher and Design Sprint Master who loves creating awesome experiences through collaborative, user-centered methods. Sydney has a varied background that blends human-centered design and engineering, art, and sociology.