Fixed to Flow

By Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta

Flow / Fiero > Show your work, collaboratively. [June 2022]



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Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta
Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta
👋 Hey there,
“When we show our work, we are inviting our stakeholders to co-create with us. Instead of sharing our conclusions and inviting them to share their preferences, we are sharing our work and inviting them to assess our thinking and to add their own. We are leveraging their expertise and improving our process.” — Teresa Torres
There is an endless graveyard of great projects that died at the get-go. Many reasons can explain this reality, but today let’s focus on poor communication and lack of collaboration — when showing your work, they are one and the same.
Many people present their work like something that came out of a black box, and by framing it like that, they are opening the gates to an uninformed HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion). There is nothing wrong with someone owning the final decision, but your job is to assure an informed decision. In fact, independently of the decision mechanism, that’s your only job for that day.
How to avoid the HIPPO?
For starters, give context about what’s at stake, and clarify the desired outcomes. Outcomes, not outputs. Here’s a simple example of the distinction between outcomes and outputs. If a company hires someone to build a website, the website is the output, but the outcome is why they are buying the service (increasing sales, decreasing customer calls, etc.)
Don’t be afraid to repeat the desired outcomes during your presentation. Do whatever it takes to keep it on the stakeholders’ minds.
After the proper framing, guide the participants through your line of thought and show what led you to believe you have come to the best solution — given the time and resources available.
Adapt the detail level according to your audience, but always keep a strong storyline. Think of it like giving a walkthrough to your new house, where you share the ups and downs of building it, and give life to your story by providing concrete examples.
And then there is style.
Don’t be cold. Be authentic, be open, and, above all, show you care. We are all fed up with cold presentations by people who couldn’t care less about the result. We have machines for that.
Needless to say, after clarifying the context and outcomes, you should immediately create an open environment where everyone feels welcome to participate. To achieve it, simplify the building blocks of your solution, so everyone in the room understands them and feels empowered to chip in. And then watch the magic.
Assuming your work is solid, and you explained how the different parts play together, you’ll see the rise of a small collective intelligence, where value is added from countless angles.
In the end, you’ll have valid suggestions for improvement and a sense of shared ownership that will unlock many doors in the future.
The best form of communication is action. And you’ll reach new heights if you enable others to play with you.

Project Spotlight
Every time someone asks me to show a project where you can see the power of Web3 at the service of a better world, I think — ImpactMarket
They are enabling any vulnerable community to implement alleviation mechanisms. As I write these lines, they have distributed $2,808,790.18 to 45,598 people worldwide. They are making Universal Basic Income a reality while many others are still discussing the pros and cons.
Like many other Web3 projects, transparency is key, so you can follow everything on their dashboard and Twitter account  (where you can find many personal stories of their impact).
This technique works by mixing or interleaving various subjects to improve learning. So, instead of always studying the same thing until boredom kicks in, you alternate topics, giving your brain space and sparking openness to learn new things.
My endless curiosity is a blessing and curse, so I’ve adapted this tendency to the way I work. I can be in deep focus for days, but I often start to feel the momentum fading away. On those occasions, I change my focus to another project — or another task of the same project. The cherry on top is that I’m always returning to things I’ve already done some work on, so the resistance to starting is lower.
Five prompts for Srishti Sehgal
A quote worth reflecting on
From the book, How People Learn -
“The deeper the personal significance, the more reliably something is learned. We don’t often repeat our more embarrassing mistakes. It makes perfect sense for memory to work in this way: your memory needs to be efficient, so it only stores the stuff that matters. But which stuff matters? Answer: the stuff that has an emotional impact.”
A social media account you follow
Jeff Kortenbosch on LinkedIn. I love Jeff’s ability to take concepts around learning and training and convert them into simple and memorable visualisations. His posts brighten up my LinkedIn feed!
A newsletter you follow
Steal These Thoughts by Ross Stevenson because his newsletters are relatable and funny. He talks about skills and learning but using analogies and memes. The best part? They always make me reflect on how I’m doing as a learner AND as a learning experience designer.
A learning journey that made the difference
The Art & Craft of Designing and Facilitating Learning Spaces by Kaospilot. I’d attended this 3-day offline workshop in 2018. At the time, I was not working in the learning space, and it had the most profound impact on how I look at this space - making me switch career tracks from research to learning experience design.
A community where you feel at home
Hands down, the L&D Shakers. I came across this community last year, and in a short six months, it has become my favorite (virtual) hangout spot! I have been inspired by so many people from across the globe through the community. I’m currently building out the APAC chapter to spread the love and learning to this part of the world :)
Design for How People Learn is one of the best references you can find on facilitating learning journeys.
It’s a comprehensive take, covering all crucial topics, from identifying gaps (knowledge, skills, motivation, habits, environment, and communication) to designing evaluations.
On top of that, Julie Dirksen illustrates the concepts through insightful and straightforward drawings that will help you understand and retain the main takeaways.
Quotes worth pondering
“The answer is not to standardize education, but to personalize and customize it to the needs of each child and community. There is no alternative. There never was.” - Sir Ken Robinson
“You cannot get educated by this self-propagating system in which people study to pass exams, and teach others to pass exams, but nobody knows anything. You learn something by doing it yourself, by asking questions, by thinking, and by experimenting.” — Richard Feynman
Brian Eno on SCENIUS
Why I Hired Two High-Schoolers
On repeat
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Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta
Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta @gustavocpimenta

Thoughts and pointers from a proud generalist powered by radical diversity.

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