The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Lydia Hooper 'Walking the talk of HCD Principles'

John Carter
October 25, 2022
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Lydia Hooper 'Walking the talk of HCD Principles'

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My name is Gerry Scullion and I am a designer, educator and host of This is HCD, based in the wonderful city of Dublin, Ireland.

Our goal here is to have conversations that inspire and to help move the dial forward for organisations to become more human-centred in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

If you’re new around here, let me tell you a little bit about This is HCD. It started life in Sydney, whilst I lived there for nearly 14-years. We have been creating content for over 5-years - all for the love of sharing knowledge to the global design community. At the moment, this podcast is my main focus in my career and growing it is my number 1 goal. If you want to leave a review (preferably a 5-star one!), I’d really love it - it takes a couple of minutes, but it’s one of the most important thing you can do to show support - every little helps.

Also we launched our College on This is where you can take courses now on visualisation, design research, UX and Service Design - check it out

In this episode I speak with Lydia Hooper, a humanity centred designer based in Colorado, US. We connected recently off the back of my stakeholder mapping essentials course, which is proof that I am always open to connect and interviewing people! Even on support tickets :-)

We chat about non-violent communications, Lydia’s own design principles and values that she uses to guide her career, and how she managed to form these at such an early stage of her career. We touch on Lydia’s work at the fantastic Design Justice Network also.

Let’s jump in..

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Lydia Hooper: I might have gone a completely different direction because there is something about human centered design, which I did not find when I was in college. That kind of drew me in. Yeah. And I think that something is what keeps me in. And I think it's, it's the human piece. It's the piece of, oh, all of these skills I have that I build in, not social work, but societal work, work with people is really actually important.

[00:00:31] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to this cd. My name is Jerry Scully and I'm a designer educator, and the host of this is AD based in the wonderful city of Dublin, Ireland. Now, our goal here is to have conversations that inspire and help move. Forward for organizations to become more human centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

[00:00:52] Gerry Scullion: If you're new around here, let me tell you a little bit about, This is hate cd. It started its life off in Sydney whilst I lived there for nearly 14 years, [00:01:00] and we've been creating content over five years. All for the love of sharing knowledge to the global design community. Now, at the moment, this podcast is my main focus in my career and growing It is my number one goal.

[00:01:13] Gerry Scullion: And if you wanna leave a review, preferably a five star one, folks, I'd really love it. It takes a couple of minutes, but it's one of the most important things you can do to show support. Every little helps. Also, we launched a space, and this is where we can take some of my courses and visualization, design, research, user experience, and service design.

[00:01:32] Gerry Scullion: Check it out. Now, in this episode, I speak with Lydia Hooper, a Humanity Center designer based in Colorado in the United States. We connected recently off the back of some stakeholder mapping essentials course, which Lydia had taken, which has proof that I'm always open to connecting and interviewing with people even on support tickets.

[00:01:51] Gerry Scullion: Okay, so we chat about non-violent communication and we talk about Lydia's own design principles and values that she uses to guide her [00:02:00] career and how she managed to form these at such an early stage of her. As an educator, we touch on Lydia's work at the Fantastic Design Justice Network also. It's a fantastic one.

[00:02:11] Gerry Scullion: So folks, let's jump straight in. Lydia Hooper, how's it going? How are you doing? I'm doing

[00:02:18] Lydia Hooper: great. It's so wonderful to be

[00:02:19] Gerry Scullion: here. Tell us, where are you coming from today?

[00:02:23] Lydia Hooper: I live in Denver, Colorado,

[00:02:25] Gerry Scullion: in the United States, Denver, Colorado. One of my favorite cities in the whole world. I've been there before. We were just chatting about how amazing it is as a city to live and, uh, the dangers of, of living so high in the the sky.

[00:02:40] Gerry Scullion: Um, I was there. Close to 10 years ago, and I remember I, uh, I nearly passed out with, uh, the altitude. How long have you lived in Denver? A long

[00:02:49] Lydia Hooper: time. About 15 years. Wow. Which is a long time for a resident. People come and go. It's grown a lot, .

[00:02:59] Gerry Scullion: Lydia, [00:03:00] tell us a little bit about yourself. How do you describe what you do?

[00:03:04] Lydia Hooper: Well, it depends on who I'm talking to, to be honest talking

[00:03:07] Gerry Scullion: to me. But to you say you were talking to you are, you were at a Thanksgiving party, which I know is going up soon. So when you didn't know and they were like, So Ludia, what do you do? How would you describe it? Yes.

[00:03:21] Lydia Hooper: I think I usually just simply say I'm a designer, Knowing that folks might or might have an idea of what that is or might not, but usually they might ask you to do a logo.

[00:03:32] Lydia Hooper: Yeah, that's true. They usually do think graphic designer, they actually usually ask, What do you design? And I'll say, I design experiences. And that starts a really interesting conversation.

[00:03:45] Gerry Scullion: It does, and especially when you add another lens on top of that, which you, uh, have in your website of a Humanity Center designer mm-hmm.

[00:03:53] Gerry Scullion: Um, tell us what you mean by Humanity Center. And a lot of listeners will probably have a decent stab at that, but I'd to [00:04:00] your understanding, interpretation.

[00:04:02] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. I think I've taken to some aspects of human center design and I think like many designers, I also. Quest, have some critiques and questions. Yeah.

[00:04:14] Lydia Hooper: Um, I feel the term human centered is not specific enough because I've seen different humans be centered. Sometimes it's not the user, sometimes it's not the person who's being impacted by the design. Um, so some of it comes down to that. I think the other part of it is I'm someone who's concerned with the collective good.

[00:04:38] Lydia Hooper: Hm. I'm someone who wants to design things, um, as much for people as for, um, kind of hesitate to use this word, but progress. Mm-hmm. , who wants to see, um, the best or better angels prevail. Yeah. In technology specifically. And I [00:05:00] feel that that is a little bit more accurate, that I'm concerned about, you know, the various impacts of what we're designing.

[00:05:08] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. You're touching on a few of the short shortcomings there for human center design. Um, what other elements of human centeredness do you feel is lacking? Like you mentioned there about the framing of which human is at the center when you're designing, but. There was other pieces there that when we were speaking in the prelude, we were talking a little bit more around where, where me currently, I'm apathetic towards design because the design that I fell in love with in the nineties when I started in university a long, long time ago, folks, um, it was, it's a different design to what it is today.

[00:05:43] Gerry Scullion: Like, you know, In your experience, um, how has design changed for you personally over the last decade?

[00:05:51] Lydia Hooper: That's a great question. I think it has been an exploration of both, you know, looking [00:06:00] outward and seeing what's possible for the field, what's possible for someone who calls themself a designer. Mm-hmm.

[00:06:07] Lydia Hooper: and seeing the field evolve. And I think simultaneously it's been an inner journey of what's important to me about this work and how do I continue to be true to that. Um, and also in some sort of internal inquiry. About what's important and how I'm making sure. That's a very profound aspect of my

[00:06:31] Gerry Scullion: practice.

[00:06:32] Gerry Scullion: I mean, from my own personal experience, I did industrial design, so, um, I remember. My first job when I was, you know, just out, we, we finished universities in, in May in Europe. My first job, I started in September and I was like so excited to go on day one. So I was so naive, like, you're gonna design a blister pack.

[00:06:53] Gerry Scullion: And I'm like, What's a blister pack? And like to hold the batteries. And I'm like, Whoa. A double edged shit sword. Where I'm gonna be [00:07:00] grading, uh, batteries to go into landfill and the package to, into landfill as well. Right. I remember saying this. This is kind of not where I want to be. And I then get in, get into ux or at that stage it was, you know, kind of, um, computer interface stuff.

[00:07:17] Gerry Scullion: Uh, but it's, it's evolved from that into something that. It's kind of murky and something that's a little bit more dirty for me anyway. It is personally, um, where businesses have got hold of it. This process that is just contributing to or compounding the problem really, that we're, we're all seeing in the world.

[00:07:38] Gerry Scullion: But the follow on from this question is, am I in a bubble? And are we at a point in time where designers collectively are doing more introversion, where they're thinking a lot more around their place in the situation we find ourselves in?

[00:07:55] Lydia Hooper: I think that is important for us to be asking. [00:08:00] I feel like I might be in a bubble too, but I also, when you ask that thought, I think people in general are asking questions they haven't asked before.

[00:08:11] Lydia Hooper: Just because of the state of the world. Yeah, because of where we're at collectively. The things that have transpired over the last couple years, um, through the pandemic. I think people in general, I mean in America we hear about this, the great resignation. I mean, that's like one. Signal to me that people are asking themselves questions.

[00:08:34] Lydia Hooper: So I think there's reason to believe that that's happening. I also feel like there were some critiques of design thinking for really the last several years, but it feels like in more recent years there has been responses. So not just critiques and saying This doesn't work, but like folks trying to say, and how about if we try doing it this way [00:09:00] instead?

[00:09:00] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. And I

[00:09:01] Gerry Scullion: find that that encouraging. I mean the, the Natasha Jane. Story when a, when a broke in 2018, it had collective gasps, amongst the design community of like, you can't say that. You can't say design thinking is bullshit. Um, but you can, Um, and I don't, I don't necessarily believe it, by the way. I don't believe that design thinking is, um, is bullshit.

[00:09:25] Gerry Scullion: I think it's done a huge amount of good for, um, the de design collective globally. But how it's being used in the hands that it's being placed in, um, and who is championing it as well. Like, you know, a big consultancy begins with I and Ns and do, um, they all have roles to play in and how that has been seen and how it's actually been evolved.

[00:09:51] Gerry Scullion: Um, but in my own sense, I can talk more and more about this. Mm-hmm. , but we spoke there a little bit earlier around, um, [00:10:00] p. Hmm. And, um, I said to you, What are you, what project were you most, uh, proud of? Hmm. Maybe let's take the conversation back up from that point. Um, how did you respond to that question?

[00:10:13] Lydia Hooper: Yeah, I said I think what I am most proud of is that I have kept my principles really vital to my practice, and so I have not, I've stepped away from opportunities, um, and work that I felt would compromise them. And I, I think it's interesting that you speak about this word privilege because it does make you, of course, anyone hearing that would ask, you know, must be nice.

[00:10:49] Lydia Hooper: And to be honest, Jerry, I, I do wanna communicate. It is hard. I have not done it without difficulty, and I'm not gonna go into [00:11:00] a lot of my own personal stories about that difficulty. Mm-hmm. . So I am kind of asking listeners to just take my word for it, that I have the scars, . Yeah. I'm certainly not trying to stand on a pedestal and say I'm so great.

[00:11:14] Lydia Hooper: I'm trying to say I've survived. Yeah.

[00:11:18] Gerry Scullion: It's proud. Are you okay to talk a little bit more? Not about the personal side of stuff? Sure. I, I wouldn't wanna, um, sort of put myself in that situation and also I'll ask you, put you in that situation as well. Yeah. But, um, The principles piece is something that I teach about when I'm teaching my portfolio course, usually with emerging talent who attends that course.

[00:11:42] Gerry Scullion: Mm-hmm. , you talk about, um, aligning yourself to your principles and trying to stay true to them, helps with a career trajectory and and so forth. What are your principles and how did you define

[00:11:54] Lydia Hooper: them? Yeah, so I think when I started, there were a couple [00:12:00] things. It was not clearly articulated. But I wanna be clear, I had these principles before I even was thinking about my work as design.

[00:12:09] Gerry Scullion: Okay. So it was before you went to uni or before you Yes. Maybe, maybe when you were in school. So you're, I'm, I'm making a, um, a pocketbook psychology. And you were, you were a deep thinker.

[00:12:20] Lydia Hooper: Yes. Um, I read this article that James Victoria wrote, wrote in Print Magazine a few years ago, and in it he talks about how designers should have careers before they go into design.

[00:12:33] Lydia Hooper: Hmm. And it was the first time I'd heard someone in the design field who I highly respect, basically validating that that was my journey. And it absolutely has informed my work. My first careers were in informal educat. Primarily early childhood, so very young children and therapeutic body work. And through those careers, I established [00:13:00] ethics.

[00:13:01] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. About how I wanted to show up in the workplace, who I wanted to be at work. And I carried that in. In fact, Jerry. Interesting story when I did go to school, um, which was a whole journey in and of itself that we can go into if you want. Um, I resisted going into design studies. Okay. Because what I saw in the folks who were in those tracks was a lack of that, and I was kind of repelled.

[00:13:33] Gerry Scullion: I agree. There's, there seems to be, um, a lack of. Ethical piece across the board and in many of the academic institutions where they, they teach about research and um, sort of, it's like an excavation process of mining data, mining humans. And, um, not enough of that work goes on, like in fact, Only recently I spoke to [00:14:00] Ricardo Martins, who's in Savannah College in, um, the US mm-hmm.

[00:14:04] Gerry Scullion: They do it, and it's the first, it's the first time I've heard someone who really explore, That side of design and the position of design and the deposition of trauma and, and lots more. We, we, we could probably delve a bit deeper on. Um, but on terms of you, you know, you've explored lots of different roles.

[00:14:24] Gerry Scullion: You explored who you were as a person before you entered into that world. Yes. That, that sounds like it takes, um, an awful lot from a person to, to be able to do that kinda work. How has that stayed you in in the last, I don't know, maybe decade, I suppose I'm just, you know, looking through your, your website here, how had you not had those principles in place?

[00:14:50] Gerry Scullion: Where do you think you'd be? It's

[00:14:52] Lydia Hooper: an interesting paradox because I think I probably wouldn't be in design either.

[00:14:58] Gerry Scullion: Mm-hmm. . Well, that's [00:15:00] a really interesting one. Okay, so without the principles you believe, You

[00:15:05] Lydia Hooper: just, I might have, I might have gone a completely different direction because there is something about human centered design, which I did not find when I was in college that kind of drew me in.

[00:15:18] Lydia Hooper: And I think that something is what keeps me in, and I think it's, it's the human piece. It's the piece of, oh, all of these skills I have that I build in, not social work, but societal work, work with people is really actually important. And I can kind of build on that and come from that place and be able to have a impact or influence.

[00:15:45] Lydia Hooper: It's more than just a one to one. Yeah. Cause I love working with children and, and even adults, you know, um, in that one to one way. But design has such potential for collective [00:16:00] impact.

[00:16:00] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. It's funny, um, for me bringing it back, it's all about me, folks today, , it shouldn't be, but it should be about Lydia.

[00:16:08] Gerry Scullion: When I look at where a design is at, and, um, you know, I, I educate businesses. I, I educate practitioners as well and how they can actually do things a little bit better's. My, my doorbell folks, it's, I'll turn this one silent. The, the place where I tend to land when I think about the future design is not working with businesses and in longer form.

[00:16:30] Gerry Scullion: It's usually in schools and it's usually in not high schools. It's usually in primary schools or I dunno what they're called in the us. Um, what do you call schools where some five elementary. Elementary teaching ethics and teaching design skills and exploratory skills. Mm-hmm. at that age group. So it's fascinating for me to hear that you've come from that world.

[00:16:55] Gerry Scullion: Um, I spoke to somebody at Greater Good Studio called Rennie Albrecht, [00:17:00] who came from, um, teaching background as well. I, I wanna explore that one a little bit further if you'd allow me to. Sure. Um, what skills did you learn. Um, working with kids apart from patience, ,

[00:17:17] Lydia Hooper: I mean, that's definitely part of it. Yeah.

[00:17:20] Lydia Hooper: What I like most about working with children and what I miss is their innate curiosity. Yeah. And I know some adults, some adults might actually find that annoying. Like they wanna know why about everything, and they're always asking, How does this work? And why do you feel that way? And, um, But I just love that.

[00:17:42] Lydia Hooper: I just love the openness that they have to new experiences. And so it's interesting because your question is kind of what I've learned and, and maybe you expected me to answer like as a teacher, but actually I think I was, you know, inspired and learned from those [00:18:00] children. Those children

[00:18:01] Gerry Scullion: taught me. Yeah, that's what it sounds like.

[00:18:03] Gerry Scullion: It,

[00:18:04] Lydia Hooper: Yes. They taught me about being present in the moment. How much is possible when you were there? In the moment they taught me about how emotional humans are. You know, a child just, I, I mean, you have young children, so you know, just within a moment can completely turn an emotional corner. Yeah. You know, they're not guarded.

[00:18:27] Lydia Hooper: They're not, they're not yet socialized to not do that. Yeah. And that, you know, but they're so present to what is coming up for them in the moment.

[00:18:39] Lydia Hooper: I learned a lot about how to hold space for that and how to honor that. That's part of the human journey to have those raw emotions and. There's a vulnerability in being a child. You're, you're so dependent on the adults around you

[00:18:56] Gerry Scullion: and Absolutely. Well, in just bringing it back to the, the [00:19:00] principals piece, like you worked, um, with young children as well and you may hear some young children in the background.

[00:19:05] Gerry Scullion: Folks, it's getting to that time and of the day where my children arrive and I love leaving the sounds of my home into, into my podcasts, so, But how did this affect your, your principles? Cause we, we mentioned there that if you hadn't nailed your principles, and I'm sure your, your principles by the way have have evolved and iterated over the years.

[00:19:26] Gerry Scullion: Um, for people listening there, there's an awful lot of people that I've coached and stuff that really. Having taken a step back and kind of defined what their principles were. Mm-hmm. , and it's really interesting to me that, um, what you've said there around, um, having lots of different roles and different opportunities to, to help kind of shape those principles.

[00:19:49] Gerry Scullion: Was there anything else that you did in that, that period that helped you? To find

[00:19:55] Lydia Hooper: those, You know, I'm remembering, um, that that was also the time when [00:20:00] I started it. It comes back to that piece around just being present and in the moment. And that was the time when I started some mindfulness practices, which have, now, now I feel like it's more, it's not weird for me to say that and people won't know what I'm referencing.

[00:20:16] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. But at that time it was, it was fairly obscure. I grew up in Kentucky. Um, So, you know, Buddhist principles are there, but certainly not as predominant as, you know, Christian practices. So yeah, I think that was also pretty important to me, integrating what I was learning in those settings and feeling like I could, um, carry it forward.

[00:20:43] Gerry Scullion: It's, it's interesting you say that because. I see the role of designer being very asymmetrical. If you want to other professions such as, um, doctors or nurses, or anyone in this space where there's some self [00:21:00] care or psychologists mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Um, whereas in design, when you're forced to do I say forced, we're obviously we're not forced out the door to do research, but we don't have those self care principles taught to.

[00:21:13] Gerry Scullion: At university that really allow us to get in touch with, um, the triggers and understanding like the, the precursors to why we might find resistance in our careers. Um, I've been in a therapy K and I've done an awful lot of internal work, which has allowed me to explore who I am as a person. And I know what I'm about, what I'm not about.

[00:21:37] Gerry Scullion: Mm. , um, that's helped me on that journey. So it sounds like there's a, there's, there's an opportunity there for design, um, that I'm hearing in, in your story to include that, that work, that internal work, which obviously for you, has led to a greater outcome in, in your career. Is that a fair assumption, do you think Lydia?[00:22:00]

[00:22:00] Lydia Hooper: Yeah, there's a lot I could say about that. I think as a field, what I see is a lot of folks thinking about the practice as the ability to execute specific deliverables. Mm-hmm. and potentially to apply specific methods. And I feel like the principal's piece is what's lost. I'm remembering that interview you did with Rachel Deus and Tad Ted Hirsch Yes.

[00:22:32] Lydia Hooper: About practicing without a license and how thinking about licensed professionals are accountable for doing that internal work because. The impact that they have on others, you know, they need, they need to be accountable for that. And I

[00:22:49] Gerry Scullion: do agree, actually, just to give, give credit I not Wascher and, and Rachel, another [00:23:00] person in the alluded me, I, sorry, sorry to go to Coral you there, but I wanted to give credit to that episode as opposed to letting it slide

[00:23:08] Lydia Hooper: Yeah, I appreciate that. Um, so. I very much think that this is something that needs a lot of attention in the design profession and where we're at maturity wise. Hopefully it's folks are aware and ready, um, because it's not like I'm advocating that we all need to have licenses, but we don't need to have a legal requirement, you know, to lean into the reality, which is if we are engaged in any kind of user research, And even without that, even if we're just in an organization in which we're butting up against status quo norms and a variety of different personalities, we can absolutely use more skills around relational skills, [00:24:00] is what I call them.

[00:24:00] Lydia Hooper: I don't like calling them soft skills. Yeah. Um, relational skills. And that includes a relationship with ourself.

[00:24:09] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. I think that's, um, It probably leads us into a, into a talk that you, you did for Inclusive Design 24, um, where empathy is broken and the sort of interconnectedness of compassion. Um, are you okay to talk a little bit more around that one?

[00:24:26] Gerry Scullion: Cause I know you were, you're meant to give that talk recently. Um, but there's a, you, this talk is on, on YouTube as well. It was actually Rachel Deka who, who pointed me this to towards this, um, when I mentioned that I was speaking, um, to you today. Where did this, this talk come from?

[00:24:45] Lydia Hooper: Interesting. It came from a practice that I've developed that I'm starting to see as really integral to my design practice, and that is a practice in nonviolent communication.

[00:24:57] Lydia Hooper: So

[00:24:57] Gerry Scullion: I talked non violent communication, is that what you said? Nonviolent. [00:25:00] Okay.

[00:25:00] Lydia Hooper: Excellent. Nonviolent communication. So I talked about how . You know, my roots are in education. That openness, that curiosity. Right. And that has really been the bleeding edge for me. I'm gonna go out there and with my set of principles and I don't know what's gonna happen.

[00:25:21] Lydia Hooper: Am I gonna call myself a designer or not? I don't know. Right. Yeah. And, and slowly over time, there's this evolution of what I'm able to attract and. Find that helps me maintain that journey. And nonviolent communication has become so critical to that for me, that I started and I was hearing a lot in the field, particularly from design leaders of color.

[00:25:50] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. That empathy is something that gets talked about and design, but it's not really a reality. Yeah, and I started really [00:26:00] recognizing how, I mean, that's so core to the practice of nonviolent communication that I started to realize how much that practice is so critical and how much I want to share it with others who.

[00:26:15] Lydia Hooper: Again, might find that they have a need for that, not from a place of, y'all need to know this because that's actually antithetical to nonviolent communication. More from a place of if you find yourself burnt out. Yeah. If you find yourself having really intense emotions about your work, whether it's your workplace, your profession, your colleagues, your users, You know, how, how can we care for ourselves, as you were saying earlier, how can we care for ourselves?

[00:26:46] Lydia Hooper: And I, I pull from a wide variety of tools and that one has become like a pillar for me.

[00:26:55] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Can you give, um, Can you give examples of, [00:27:00] of, of violent communication?

[00:27:02] Lydia Hooper: Oh, yes. Because that's always what comes up when they hear that phrase. They're like, Huh, I'm so confused by this

[00:27:08] Gerry Scullion: phrase. I, I like to play. Um, the role of the person driving along at the moment listening to the podcast and bevi communication and a way of self-identifying is just playing it back to them.

[00:27:22] Gerry Scullion: So I, I'd love to love to. Some examples if you

[00:27:27] Lydia Hooper: can. I think some of the reason I like that phrase is it does cause you to have a pause. Yeah. Um, nonviolent communication is a field that's come out of the teachings of Marshall b Rosenberg. There are many teachers today, um, that are carrying his message forward across the globe, and he identified that in cultures.

[00:27:52] Lydia Hooper: Where there's high incidents of violence, violent activities, violent crimes, things that people think of when they think of [00:28:00] violence. Yeah. Highly correlates with use of language that is inherently judgmental.

[00:28:09] Gerry Scullion: Okay. That's interesting.

[00:28:12] Lydia Hooper: Yes. That's exactly what his thought was. And so he follows this thread of.

[00:28:19] Lydia Hooper: What would it mean for us to think about communicating without that layer of judgment? Hmm. What would, what would that look like? And if you start this practice, My, my experience has been it's incredibly humbling. Yeah. Because you realize how much, you know, blaming, even agreeing, even things that are just inherent, like anything that's inherently evaluative.

[00:28:46] Lydia Hooper: Anything that's ascribing value to what someone is saying, um, is what he's referring to, what, what he's referring to. And if he was to say violent communication, I think would be more about [00:29:00] communication that tries to exert power over a person. Okay. That is essentially about having a. Attitude of not allowing that person to have choice and wanting to control or force their responses and their actions.

[00:29:26] Gerry Scullion: Okay. That's, that's kinda blowing my mind a little bit at moment. Cause I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm trying to think of other parallels to that, that, that can, that can build on this. It sounds like it's, it's a really. First of all, it sounds like it's changed your, changed your world. Um, cuz when you were talking there, it was doing an awful lot of kinda deep thinking as you were trying to convey what you were trying to say.

[00:29:54] Gerry Scullion: So this is, this formed the basis of the talk that I linked to in the show notes folks, [00:30:00] um, for inclusive design 24. Um, how did the talk go down and what, what kind of, um, feedback did you have at the end of it? Yeah,

[00:30:08] Lydia Hooper: I think what I learned from the feedback was that there's a lot we don't know about empathy and people are very curious about it.

[00:30:17] Lydia Hooper: I was very honest that people had questions that I didn't have answers to it. I actually, after the talk started going out and trying to find research literature around the questions that were being asked because I was like, you know, I know there's some folks out there researching this, so let's, let's dig out what we can.

[00:30:36] Lydia Hooper: And reference. Um, and that's, that's another part of my practice is I, I do try to reference research

[00:30:42] Gerry Scullion: and credit credit where, where, where you can like, and when you can. Mm-hmm. . It's funny that you say, um, about compassion and drilling into empathy a little bit more. Cause in the design thinking framework, as most people know, and they'll be Bob and along, there's a, there is a stage in the design think and framework called empathy, which I used to.[00:31:00]

[00:31:00] Gerry Scullion: Always religiously have the same joke. Whenever, um, we'd finished doing research, I kind of go, What time do we start doing empathy at? And it was, it usually got a s or a laugh from a couple of my peers. But then other people throw their, Do we start the at two today? Is that the time? Empathy and, um, which is a complete dig at the whole kinda framework.

[00:31:22] Gerry Scullion: Cause it's Yes, yes. It's a little bit shallow, shall we say. Um. I, years later, I, I gave a talk about, um, moving from empathy to sympathy and, um, the sympathetic, sympathetic mind and how when I was researching groups of vulnerability, um, it moved, empathy moved for me. Like, and I was like, sort of looking within and I was like, suddenly I wasn't objective enough.

[00:31:52] Gerry Scullion: I, I didn't feel like I could be rational. And I felt there was a lot more, um, [00:32:00] a lot more emotive pieces happening within my body when I was researching as opposed to, you know, some of the, the normal stuff you might have to do, like ty, typical research, like working for banks and stuff like that. Mm-hmm.

[00:32:13] Gerry Scullion: it wasn't stimulating my core, whereas this kind of research was having a triggering effect. Mm-hmm. , um, I wanna hear how you feel, um, sympathy differs to compassion because from my, my understanding of, of the two, they're, they're different. Um, but I'd like to get your thoughts on, um, when empathy shifts into different areas of the collective minds,

[00:32:43] Lydia Hooper: it goes back to the piece about judgment.

[00:32:47] Lydia Hooper: When I think when I'm in a sympathetic mode mm-hmm. , there is an evaluation. Usually my evaluation is along the lines of, that person has [00:33:00] it worse than

[00:33:00] Gerry Scullion: me. Okay. Yeah. And that's, that's an interest. Yeah. That's, that's kind of where, where my mind is. Yeah. During, during that. And

[00:33:09] Lydia Hooper: what that does is it creates a barrier between myself and that other person, because I'm now looking through that.

[00:33:18] Lydia Hooper: When I see them and I'm responding to them through that lens. And that is a power dynamic. Yeah. Because my belief is that I can help them, that I, that I have more power than them and I can help them. I think there's a lot of that in the, specifically in the field around design for good.

[00:33:38] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, I was gonna say, isn't that, um, I can help them, I can fix this, I can contribute to Good.

[00:33:45] Gerry Scullion: Are you saying that that's, um, and I don't mean to put words in your mouth there, but saying, are you saying, But I'm interpreting that to mean that that is, there's a risk factor associated with that.

[00:33:55] Lydia Hooper: I think there is a risk factor associated with that in, [00:34:00] in comparison compassion. Is I'm allowing that person to have the experience.

[00:34:06] Lydia Hooper: That's their experience. Mm-hmm. . And by doing that, I'm actually demonstrating to them my belief in their inherent ability to be themselves and. That that is enough. Does that make sense as kind of an example between the two? Yeah, it

[00:34:27] Gerry Scullion: does. I mean, like there's, there's a whole world of conversations we can probably go deeper into, um, on this topic.

[00:34:35] Gerry Scullion: But I know from just looking at your LinkedIn, um, I dunno when you post that, it's a couple of weeks ago, um, there was lots of people chatting about. That talk in particular. So I'll put a link to that and I'll put a link to a link to the video on LinkedIn as well so they can join that conversation as well.

[00:34:53] Gerry Scullion: So it's not just separate threads all over the place. Melting your brain, Lydia, . Um, but I like, I've [00:35:00] really enjoyed. Chatting with you, with you today, like, you know, um, I wanna thank you for, for being so open and I know some of the questions were quite probing, um, and thanks for responding to them with, you know, with Grace.

[00:35:12] Gerry Scullion: Um, so I really, really appreciated giving me that time and, and that focus as well. If people wanted to reach out to you and connect with you, um, how might they do?

[00:35:22] Lydia Hooper: Yes, please do feel free to reach out to me. The best way to do that is either through my website or LinkedIn. I do wanna say, yeah, I do wanna say one more thing that I didn't mention with principles.

[00:35:34] Lydia Hooper: I, I did talked about how there's been this evolution, there's been these pulling these threads together and all of these things that have come from largely that fields outside of. That have really supported my practice. But the thing I didn't mention is that in the last couple years, the articulation of the Design Justice Network principles has been absolutely pivotal for this field.

[00:35:57] Lydia Hooper: I wouldn't even just say for me. [00:36:00] Yeah. And so if I think that folks who are younger or newer to the profession have a huge leg up in that they might not need to come up with things from scratch. Those principles are really robust informed by the design practice. So it's not one person who invented them, they came out of a collective conversation and are being practiced the world over.

[00:36:27] Lydia Hooper: Yeah. So it's not impossible to find people who are trying to put them into application and be able to have conversations with those people. So Absolut.

[00:36:37] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, that's absolutely, yeah, to totally warranted. And we'll put a link to the Design Justice Network, um, and the fantastic work that they have done over the last number of years as well.

[00:36:48] Gerry Scullion: So that's a great shout out. Lydia, thanks so much for your time. Have a great weekend and I'll chat to you soon.

[00:36:54] Lydia Hooper: Thank you, Jerry. It was wonderful to be here.

[00:36:59] Gerry Scullion: And [00:37:00] there you go folks. I hope you enjoyed that episode and if you enjoyed it and want to listen to more, why not visit? This is hate where you can learn more about what we are up to and also explore our course as whilst you're there. Thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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