From Design Thinking to Design Living: Re-imagine Your Today

In this Inbound Speaks interview, we chat with Ibrahim Ayub about re-imagining your day and transforming from design thinking to design living.

We chat about who should be at his INBOUND 2020 session and why. He shares a tip, hurdle, and myth that needs to be busted along the way.

My Cheat Sheet: From Design Thinking to Design Living: Re-imagine Your "Today"

Products, services, experiences - they’re all designed. From the apps on your phone to the layout of this conference. But who’s designing your day? While we can’t control all our obligations, we have more power than we realize over the routines and mindsets that drive our daily experience. When it comes to our lives, we are the user, designer, and product.

This session will introduce a fresh approach to re-frame well-being through a design lens and an empowered view.


About the Expert

Ibrahim Ayub

Ibrahim Ayub is an experience strategist and design consultant based in New York, advising a wide range of clients on how to empathize and understand their users to create new meaningful products, services, and experiences. He works at the intersection of strategy, design, and technology. He’s driven to address individual and social problems through collaborative design methodologies. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an executive degree in Social Innovation Design, an MSE in Systems Engineering, and a BSE in Computer Science. He also holds certifications in User Experience, Cultural Ethnography, and behavioral-based coaching.

Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:00
Alright, inbound attendees you know, it's your boy George B. Thomas from sprocket back with another inbound speaks episode where we talk about inbound speakers who speak at inbound or we speak to inbound speak Anyway, you know, I always like to go micro. That's my answer. But without further ado, because this time, I know I always say it, but I am really excited. So let's hit that bumper and get into the good stuff. All right, so today, I gotta be honest, I'm a little bit of a nerd. I'm a designer and I like design. I like life. I also like to reimagine things, which makes this one very interesting. But before we get started, why don't you kind of explain to the inbound attendees who you are, and maybe a little bit about, like, what makes you tick?

Ibrahim Ayub 0:47
Yeah, definitely. Thanks, George. I'm Ebrahimi you. I'm based in Brooklyn, New York. I by day, do UX and design consulting. So I work with a lot of companies, nonprofits, individuals, on really understanding who our users What are they looking for? And how do we design better products services to kind of meet their needs? So a lot of a lot of interviews, a lot of observation of understanding, really, from each of us as people, what are we looking for? And then how can we make the things that we're interacting with more meaningful and relevant for our living each day? So that's been kind of overall the day job in terms of what makes me tick, I think, you know, especially when I think about design that really, everything in this world is by design, right? A lot of times, it's not intentionally done, but if you take it from that perspective of the way things are, our habits are a function of how we are living our day. So like if we can kind of take that more of a designer to think about what can I change? What can I potentially, you know, mess around with to make that day to day a little bit better. And then and then I guess, as someone who lived in New York for five years, so the subway, I have a little Love hate relationships. So anytime someone says, what makes me tick, I'd say the MTA in New York is also up on our list.

George Thomas 2:07
People are going through the agenda, they're trying to figure out what sessions they should go to. There's just a lot of content at inbound always, especially in inbound 20. Why and who or maybe better yet, who should attend your session? And why should they attend your session?

Ibrahim Ayub 2:26
I think two major kind of buckets of people are that people. One people who work in design in some capacity and are kind of familiar familiar around. things around design, design thinking and how we're using that for products can be very well versed, right? Like we can make a very useful app, but can taking those approaches and applying it for you as an individual is then ultimately very, we can design better our overall day. And then second, regardless of your experience with design, I think for really anyone who's been thinking about Are they operating on a day to day basis right now and think especially right now everyone's life is kind of turned upside down and in a lot of ways that people who are trying to think about Okay, what is my just the way that I'm operating on a day to day basis? And then is there opportunities to take more control or more drive the day in a way that's useful for me. I would recommend this session as well for them as something that's, you know, gives the the approach and the mindset but then also get really tactical around, you know, now, the only time we have is is the Now Is today, let's start doing things immediately. So it's not, you're not meant to be just kind of theoretical or conceptual, but really things that we can start implementing right now.

George Thomas 3:42
Yeah, I love it. So your session again, is my cheat sheet, from design thinking to design living reimagine year today, so maybe and again, without giving away the whole farm here. Give us a little kind of understanding of what do you mean from design thinking to design living? reimagining like today, like, where what journey are we going on during this session?

Ibrahim Ayub 4:06
Yeah. So it's maybe might be helpful, I can give a little context to about how this kind of came about. So I, you know, personally had my own journey around personal development and well being and that just felt like I wasn't really living the way that I wanted to. And a lot of that was like mind and then just my overall approach and the things that I was doing. And then I noticed the more that I was doing this design work for, you know, corporate clients with fortune 500, whatever types of organizations that we went through, it's very methodical approach of, there's this product or service that is supposed to be for certain users. So let's take this, this approach to make sure that it's designed for them really well. I realized that like kind of a way that I was going through my own iterations of improving how I was living each day, we were doing something very similar with companies like this design thinking, let's take that from You know, here's the strategies to what's kind of embody it. So that's really what what I talked about, but it's the what are the the principles of design thinking? Not kind of going through all of the detail, but what are the mindsets that we want to be thinking about on a day to day basis? And then how do we start embedding more intention on the way that we live on our kind of day to day schedule? And and based off of kind of where we are right now? Or what is my current schedule look like? And what type of interventions or things that I could do thinking stemming from, you know, behavioral science, design and all those elements around really making something tactical around, not just what you want to do today, but how do you want to kind of be so that's, that's kind of what the what the session is about.

George Thomas 5:45
So, um, let's go down this journey. And again, we will keep it succinct one, maybe two, what tips or principles you used to word principles in that last segment, that people can actually See kind of leverage or harness to help them move forward in this reimagining, today type mindset, I would say the first

Ibrahim Ayub 6:08
thing is, as well as concept around choice architecture, right, that we all have, the choices that we make are a function of the environment around us. And that if and this is usually done a lot of studies around how we're we're designing cafeterias or physical environments, but we can think about the choices that we're making on a day to day basis. What is the architecture in which you're making it right now? So like, for thinking about even your workspace, like if you're someone who's very distracted, what Where are those distractions, right? Like, what's Let's forget willpower, like we're not focusing on willpower motivation, we're thinking about just Are you going to be more likely to do something or less likely to do something based off of how you have your environment kind of set up? I got a specific tips. Another thing we can think of is like you add friction to things that you want to stop doing and then you add Remove friction and things you want to start doing more. So even another I guess I do get I don't give too much. But another kind of quick tactical example is apps on your phone. And this is one thing, like people are always on their phone, usually under their thumb. So what are the apps that you have in that bottom right corner? And are there certain things that you want to be doing more, checking more putting those there versus like clearing the home page of all the kind of things you're distracted about? Even right to like, add a little bit more friction. If you have to go through you know, swipe three times, then go into a folder to check Instagram, something, you can still check it but you're just you're creating more, be more intentional around like the choices that you're making. To get to add, add or remove friction where it makes sense.

George Thomas 7:48
I love this so much because keeping the things that you want to do close to you and the things that you want to stay away from far from you is a very simple process. I'll tell you one of things Personally is leaving my cell phone down in my office versus my cell phone ever making it upstairs for me, right? When it's bedtime, it's bedtime, just like from a human standpoint. But also I want to drink a lot more water. So keeping bottles of water closer to me where I can just kind of grab them and go. These are simple things right in there. They're just normal things. But even what Abraham is talking about here, these are things that we can kind of lean into. So it's funny because I get where you're going. And I'm so glad you're like, I don't want to give you everything cuz folks, you're watching this because you're trying to figure out if you should go to the session, but literally teasing you as we're doing this interview. I know this is definitely one that I want to be part of I want to engage with so I will for sure be there. Here's the thing though, because I know people when you start to talk about this, like reimagining and designing and it always ends up in this creative mindset. Which it doesn't necessarily have to be. So what do you what have you seen that has been like a hurdle for most folks, when they're trying to do this thing that you're talking about that you could use a couple minutes, just be like, yo, let's eradicate that right now. In between now and my inbound session, here's what I want you to start to think in this direction versus this hurdle that I've seen kind of in place before.

Ibrahim Ayub 9:24
Yeah, so I think there's kind of three things that I've seen and they're all kind of interconnected. But the first one which I would want people to kind of think about first is like, start here like where you are, right? Like, again, like we're thinking about today, nothing about like what you used to do in college, which is like before or like, it's really if we're we start the design process of days, not based off of something that we had been doing in the past, but basically what what is your schedule look like today? Right like it to start their baseline and, and then we have that kind of grounding, and that's obviously it's familiar To us, right, because that's kind of what you're doing. But I think the big, the big kind of challenge is initial just reframing around like our relationship with a well being and as our personal development of it's much more around routines over the results. And it's like we're not really focused on even, I want to lose 10 pounds or something like that, that can be a moving target. But what are the daily routines that would help us enable to get to those results, but the results are really the byproduct. But it's like, we want to just focus on what's creating a system that is getting rooted in today. And that helps us get to the place where we want to go Oracle vows will help us get somewhere where we need to think about but just by the nature of creating this kind of system, it lets you you'll kind of move in that direction. And then the third I would also say is that it's never it's not done, right. Like you don't design the day and then it's like okay, I've designed my day I you know With this, like our identity, our priorities are in a constant state of evolution. So any type of designer things that we're doing, also should be in this constant state of iterations, right? And something that could be really useful for me for a month. Next month, maybe it's like, my priorities change. Like, I'm just like, kind of sick of that thing. And that's totally fine, right? Because like you're designing for yourself, like you in this situation. It's like this magic situation where you're You are the user designer and product of this kind of relationship, right? So that you have full control. And you can, it should be aligned to what you're looking for. And it's totally fine for things to change. It's really just about being intentional and focusing on those routines. And what's in your control.

George Thomas 11:50
So much good right there. I mean, really so much good. I would say that's the rewind point, I would rewind and listen to that section again, because I can tell you there have been Things that have changed dramatically in my life, that it all comes down to sure I wanted to do this thing, but I only got there or I'm on the journey of getting there because of these little micro pieces of a system that are in place that that honestly, it makes you consistent. And it's just this rhythm that you can get into anyway, I don't want to go too esoteric on this interview. So here's the thing. Um, historically what I would ask and the way I would ask this, I would say okay, the audience stands up, they give you a raving round of applause. Well, that ain't happening this year, because it's digital, will be hitting the applause button that we buy off after our session goes live in inbound, but still my curiosity is what is the big takeaway? What's the one thing that you hope after the inbound attendees, watch your session or attend your session? What's the big thing that you hope that they take away with them as they move forward in their life?

Ibrahim Ayub 13:00
I think the the biggest takeaway is that you, we have more control over our day to day experience when we realize and we can be in the driver's seat, and however much we put ourselves there will can have huge just compounding changes to our day to day and overall our life. It's how you spend your day. It's how you spend your life. So I would say that's, that's kind of the takeaway, I would want people to go away with that feeling empowered and that this is something that I can, again be designing my day. Regardless of how crazy our days may look like or may, may feel out of our control that there's much more we have much more influence and say over over our spending that

George Thomas 13:49
I can't say it any better how you spend your day, is how you spend your life and I hope in between now and the session at inbound 2020 they You are actually focused on designing that day. Because in that you'll be designing your life and while you're designing your life and your day will be here waiting for you in the next episode