Exploration x Design

About

Empathy is key in the design process, especially when you start expanding outside of your comfort zone to new languages, cultures, and age groups. If you try to assume what those people want, you're likely to get it wrong.

- Mike Krieger

de·sign·er
dəˈzīnər/
noun

A person who plans the form, look, or workings of something before its being made or built, typically by drawing it in detail.

You are a designer when you can produce an idea and articulate it clearly to another person. Design is not about perfection. Design is about fulfilling an intentional purpose. Exploration x Design helps you go deeper into your design practice and explore how to produce the most impactful and meaningful ideas. 

Exploration x Design is your coach and partner in defining a way of working that breeds fresh ideas. Cultivating a healthy, creative culture by maintaining the beginner’s mindset. Let go of ego. Let go of rigidness. Embrace vulnerability and humility. 

Through creative working sessions Exploration x Design challenges you to unpack your behaviors and mindset for greater self awareness. Our approach incorporates Design Thinking as a methodology for collaboration and Mindfulness to fully listen and be present.  

 
Jess Photo.png

Jess Lowry, Design Researcher, Facilitator & Coach

Jess is a design thinking facilitator and researcher living in Austin, TX. Currently, she teaches UX at General Assembly. Additionally, she coaches individuals, teams and organizations on how to cultivate healthy design practices while making meaningful products and impactful services.

Previously, she worked on design and research teams at MU/DAI, National Australia Bank and Stamford Interactive. She was the recipient of the 2013 "Made in Banff" Artist in Residence Prize for delivering a winning pitch at SXSW Interactive. During her residency at the Banff Centre in Canada, Jess designed a prototype called Key to the Street, a collaboration platform enabling citizens to co-design public space with an emphasis on improving walkability. Key to the Street was a finalist at the 2013 SXSW Eco Place by Design Contest and featured in Fast Company's online blog.

“As a design thinking facilitator, I’m interested to explore what design means to you. Creativity is a state of mind - not a job function or title. I want to help people explore design as a practice in order to cultivate deeper levels of empathy for themselves and others.”

Design Thinking is a process to help people work collaboratively and reach below the surface to uncover deep insights. The best solutions are designed by teams who allow themselves to think beyond limited points of view.  When teams are equipped with self awareness and acceptance that can perform at an optimal level. Creative exploration is a practice and requires the ability to maintain a beginner’s mindset. 

Too often we stay on the surface and rarely dig deeper to uncover meaningful insights. We do this for a variety of reasons - often we’re dealing with constraints of time and budget, other times; we fear what we might uncover because it might reveal something about ourselves that we’d rather not address (or maybe a business flaw no one knows how to change). 

In her work, she has witnessed that when it comes to designing meaningful solutions we have to get better at reaching beyond our own limited points of view. As human-centered designers it’s our job to design for other people - not ourselves. 

Jess believes you can only understand others by understanding yourself. Empathy is the hallmark of design thinking. Cultivating empathy requires an ability to be vulnerable; which is isn’t typically a comfortable state of being. Her experience has been that during our challenging moments we truly learn who we are. But feeling challenged is uncomfortable so we typically try to avoid it. This is why practice with a supportive coach is so important.