Two Wrongs…

Seeking reconciliation, not retribution.

My mom always used to always say, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” I struggled with this as a kid … and as an adult, I admit that it’s still not easy to internalize. Pushing back is a reflex. Revenge feels like justice. 

Of course, intellectually, I know that instead of seeking retribution, I need to seek first to understand, and only then seek to be understood. It’s Stephen Covey 101. But when I’ve lost patience with someone’s passive-aggressive behavior … it’s so tempting to just shove back with a little extra force, for interest. In business terms, I tell myself I’m holding my ground and demonstrating self-respect and authority. But then I hear my mom’s voice, and she’s telling me not to stoop to their level. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s basic math – when you add negative digits, you get deeper into the hole.

So, what’s the proper response? I try to re-channel the energy wasted on anger into understanding what is motivating the other guy.  I ask myself what’s driving their anger and frustration. Does it have to do with something that happened in the past? Is there a ticking bomb I need to diffuse? Have I somehow threatened them in a way that was unintended?

It helps to take a moment of objective reflection. Does this approach clear the air every time there’s a conflict? No, of course not. But two wrongs never make a right. They just make a bad situation worse.  The next time you’re tempted to fire back at someone with both barrels, listen to the little voice in your head. If it sounds like my mom, pay attention – she’s usually right.

Quantity X Capability = Exponential Possibility

#20 Design the Platform for The Power Double Double

This is an ongoing series, based on conversations with Bruce Mau, to help people working in the brand-experience medium embrace and apply the 24 Design Principles. I believe that spending time with these interrelated, non-linear habits of thinking can help us realize better outcomes – at work, in our personal lives, and in the world at large.

Human history is rich with moments in which massive change was made possible because an innovation that improved our capability coincided with a social movement that engendered increased quantity. For example, the English longbow gave England a decisive advantage during the Hundred Years’ War, but its use in battle was only possible because various English kings had encouraged their citizens to take up mastery of the challenging weapon for sport.

A very different type of bow — one perfected late in the 18th century by Francois Tourte — was embraced by violin virtuosi of the day. Its added length enabled the long, lyrical phrasing that made violin solos possible and popular. Its strength and balance better suited violins for concert hall performances. As the popularity of longer bows swept Europe, it supported a shift to the kinds of string-centric orchestral music we still enjoy.

Today, a similar effect is happening at an exponential level — which explains why even dramatic disruptions seem to gain acceptance overnight. It’s what Bruce Mau refers to as The Power Double Double.

“We start with putting two concepts together. One is the exponential growth in the sheer quantity of people…. the second is the doubling in capacity,” Bruce explains. “Over the last century, we’ve had a double double population. In other words, we started with about 1.5 billion people on the planet in 1900, we doubled to three billion, and then we doubled again to six… it’s the single biggest fact of the last century… we doubled and doubled again the number of people on the planet.”

Next, Bruce invites us to consider that the capability of each of these billions of individuals has seen a similar doubling, thanks to technology that allows people to connect, innovate and collaborate on the design of new solutions in ways previously unimagined. Think about how much we rely on our smart phone apps to accomplish the tasks we now consider routine — tasks that previously would have required us to be in a well-equipped office, or in a tech lab, or in a pricey film-edit suite, or even in another country.

“That’s what makes it a Double Double,” Bruce says. “The fact that the quantities are doubling and the capacities are doubling. So, we are literally producing millions and even billions of people with the capacity to change the world….This is a cool idea and very relevant to our business because it changes the people who show up at our shows…. they come with a new set of expectations; if we don’t meet those expectations, we fall short and we look outmoded, outdated and irrelevant.”

In other words, even if the “same” people come to our events year after year, they are “different” each year, because their expectations have changed. The annual doubling of technology across a vast population means that innovations that seemed mind-boggling at first — such as personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google — quickly become normal, price-of-entry features. And the people who rely on them come to our live events expecting that we will take it to the next level.

This prospect may seem intimidating, but the possibilities are incredibly exciting. Especially for those of us engaged in creating live brand experiences. Think of how many products, services, ideas, concepts, medical breakthroughs  and business practices we help to launch into the world. Think of how many people we reach and from how many regions of the world. When we design the platform for The Power Double Double, there is an implicit obligation to make it count. As design-thinkers, we must create our conferences, trade shows, exhibitions and events in ways that harnesses this vast power for a higher good.

Here’s an example that features a Freeman client: the people at IFT (The Institute of Food Technologists) are actively working to elevate the industry they represent and the career outlook of professionals in the field of food science. At their show last year, organizers created an incubator to showcase, launch and even sell new food technology businesses — right from the expo floor. Even more impressive, they are leveraging the The Power Double Double to help solve for the challenge of how to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Understanding that the new culture of food technology is a distributed culture, they have redesigned their IFTNext sessions to highlight the stories of individuals and institutions making a huge difference in solving for things like global food security, sustainability, and reducing carbon footprints. As a result, participation in these breakout sessions has tripled. More people attend; more people leave inspired and equipped to feed the expanding global population.

We are privileged to work in an industry ideally positioned to advance massive change, solve thorny problems and create prosperity for people everywhere. And as Bruce points out, it drives a fundamentally optimistic outlook: “That’s The Power Double Double,” he concludes. “It’s super exciting. This is the best time in human history to be alive.”

The Value of Valuing Others

Early lessons in leadership – #3.

One of the things I find valuable about taking time for reflection is that it helps us understand how we became who we are.  The key values that shaped me as a leader can be traced to encounters that happened early in my career. Here’s a story about learning the value of compassion; it goes all the way back to my days as a hotel manager in Cincinnati.

One of our most loyal, hardworking housekeepers, Georgina, hurt her back. She was no spring chicken, and it was clear that she could no longer handle the physical labor of cleaning rooms. The problem was, she needed that job, and she didn’t really have any options.

So, I created an option. Back then, hotels used a PBX switchboard to handle all the phone calls that came into the hotel and to connect calls between rooms. We had an opening for a PBX operator. The qualifications required a clear, hospitable speaking voice and knowledge of the PBX system. Georgina had the loveliest voice you can imagine — I can still hear her slight drawl and the sincere warmth of her greeting. But when I proposed the job to her, she panicked. She was afraid of the PBX machine, afraid she’d mess up, and afraid to move away from the familiar work (even though it was killing her) to try something new.

I had the weekend off, so I convinced Georgina to come in and, for two days, we ran the switchboard together. By Monday, she was ready to fly solo. Her sweet greetings made customers glad they called our hotel, and she continued as one of our best employees.

Georgina was grateful, to be sure, and that felt good. But in truth, I am in her debt. In that weekend, she taught me the value of compassion — of recognizing others’ vulnerabilities — and the satisfaction of finding the right solution for everyone.  It was one of the best weekends I can remember in a long career. Today, when I’m tempted to ignore my feelings and just “stick to business,” I think of Georgina. I’m still trying to be the man she thought I was back then.

Designing the Real Design Project

#19 Design the Platform for Constant Design

This is an ongoing series, based on conversations with Bruce Mau, to help people working in the brand-experience medium embrace and apply the 24 Design Principles. I believe that spending time with these interrelated, non-linear habits of thinking can help us realize better outcomes – at work, in our personal lives, and in the world at large.

Bruce Mau tells a self-effacing story about the time, as a young designer, his group was called in to do some vital brand identity work for a client. He laughs when he describes the unstated assumption by everyone on the team — the designers, the consultants, the clients — that “this time” they would achieve an ultimate, lasting solution because, of course, “this team” was smarter, more intentional and more strategic than the previous one. What makes the assumption so funny, Bruce explains, is that he was commissioned ten years later to conduct a re-design of that same project.

“It’s sort of a weird experience, to dismantle the solution that you created,” Bruce says. And he explains that it led to the insight that the essential concept of “relevance” exists on a continuum that demands constant design. “In fact, the world changes so radically, all the time,” he adds, “… there aren’t that many things that are truly ‘for the ages.’”

When we create brand experiences, it’s essential that they are relevant on both a personal level and in the context of what’s going on in the community, business sector, and technological environment.  By definition, if we are truly relevant in the here and now, we should assume that we will be obsolete in the near future; that’s why it makes sense to design the platform we are using to allow for constant redesign. Bruce explains that as the world shifts, we must shift to stay relevant.  “You have to understand what the transformational context is for the design work that you’re doing, and understand where the new opportunity is situated…. And for many practices … it fundamentally changes the assignment …. how I am going to deal with a design, so that I can keep servicing the stable and flex the other things, so that each year I can refresh it.”

Bruce references the work he did with David Butler at Coca-Cola, where this practice of templating the work was dubbed “freedom within a framework.” They established a set of parameters that worked much like the rules for game play. “For me, it’s a game of sameness and difference,” Bruce says. “So, what are the things we’re going to keep the same? And where are the things we’re going to allow to be different? …. You want to keep as much as you can stable, so you can carry that forward and reinforce the identity, but have enough things that are constantly being refreshed, so that you can remain relevant.”

Think about what newspapers and magazines do. Whether we experience them in print or digitally, the content changes with each publication, while the essential identity — the design of the masthead or banner, font and layout — remains constant. This is the approach we should consider when designing the scenic elements and properties we create to define the spaces in which we host brand experiences.

“The interesting thing for events,” Bruce says, “is that, when you start to apply this logic, you realize, I don’t have to reinvent the whole thing. I can reinvent one thing every year, and in five years, the whole thing is new. It’s a method for sustaining relevance and optimizing the business.”

This approach is equally true when we’re designing less tangible things, like processes and organizational structures. The only hope of “permanence” is to define when and where the updates will happen. Designs that work with Lego-like modular components – content that can be swapped out or upgraded without dismantling the whole thing – offer a possible solution. Maybe the updates happen digitally – or through software upgrades. But they must happen by design.

That’s the secret to designing the platform for constant design. We have to resist the temptation to assume we can “design it right the first time and forever,” as if business is static and nothing ever changes. The beauty of this design principle is that it doesn’t require us to predict the future or know where the winds of change will push public sentiment. It just requires the discipline to accommodate continuous change within the design. It’s a matter of deciding which aspects of the design will remain constant and which will require flexibility.

Plus, there’s a bonus for following this methodology. “It introduces the opportunity to do the Madonna Curve,” Bruce explains. “And for me, this concept is really about understanding the nature of change that we’re moving through. You can’t predict what’s going to happen so you have to build an open platform so that as things happen, you’re ready for it. You’re built to accept new things if you take this approach.”

Here’s the irony —If we think our design is impervious to change, we won’t be motivated to look for change, and are likely to miss important opportunities. But if we design the template (for our organization, exhibit space, e-zine, process, branded experiences, etc.) with the assumption that things are always changing, we naturally form the habit of anticipating and watching for the trends that will drive the needed upgrades. We continuously redesign before we lose relevance. This means that we are ready and waiting to pounce on opportunities before anyone else —which is a pretty solid roadmap for sustainable growth.

Briefly put, designing the platform for constant design is a fundamental growth strategy. It’s how proactive, successful businesses keep their edge.

When “Sorry” Isn’t Good Enough

A version of this article originally appeared in Entrepreneur 

If you know me, you know I believe in unconditional love. I believe we owe those who’ve messed up a shot at redemption. But what should we do when people fail to learn from and correct bad habits — when they act as if saying, “I’m sorry” is a get-out-of-jail-free card? I call this the “Sorry Pattern.” I believe it calls for a little tough love and a reminder that bad habits are a choice and have consequences.

We all have people in our lives who have played the “sorry” card too many times. (Maybe we’re guilty ourselves.) There’s the person who is habitually late for a meeting and mumbles “sorry” as she slides into her seat.  Or the guy who apologizes for exploding his lunch in the communal microwave (again) but can’t seem to clean it (ever). Or the kids who leave their skateboards at the bottom of the porch stairs, where it taunts fate, time and again.

Here’s what my dad told me back when I was young: “Sorry isn’t good enough.” He knew I felt bad when I messed up, but he wasn’t interested in my remorse. He was interested in results.  Since I wasn’t taking responsibility for my actions, he insisted that I own up to whatever the problem was and make a plan to correct it. Good parents, good friends, and good leaders call us out when it’s necessary. They put us on the path to redemption before serious resentment sets in.

By now, you probably already have someone in mind — someone who’s caught in the Sorry Pattern. Plan to have a friendly chat with them. But before you do, look in the mirror. How often do you have to apologize for a repeated offense? More often than you’d like?  Don’t feel sorry about x, y or z. Solve for it.

Getting Schooled on Serious Matters

Early lessons in leadership – #2

Here’s another lesson in leadership… from when I was just a punk kid running housekeeping for a major hotel chain.

One of the supervisors who worked for me came in to complain that a housekeeper I personally liked was acting out: not putting washcloths in the rooms and generally being belligerent. I knew this was not normal for her. She was a great person and a hard worker who was obviously having a bad day. But I pulled up my boss pants, called her into my office, and told her in a stern voice, “this is serious.”

She then put me in my place by explaining that “what was serious” was being beaten up by your drug-crazed son in the middle of the night because he wants your cash to get his next fix. What’s serious is having to pull a loaded weapon from under your pillow to keep your own child from killing you.

Oh. Right. Like I could even relate to that. I apologized and told her to just go home and get some rest, and I promised to clean her rooms myself — which I did. But to this day, 30-some years later, I wish I’d started that conversation by asking her what was wrong, and what could possibly have happened to make her have such a bad day. Of course, that kind of learning only comes with spending more time on the planet. But it’s a lesson in empathy that I’ve never forgotten.

The next time you “can’t understand” why someone is behaving in a certain way, make the effort to understand. Then formulate your plan. It’s one of those things that distinguishes a leader from a boss.

Designing for the Crisis of Trust

#18 Design What You Do to Tell Your Story

This is an ongoing series, based on conversations with Bruce Mau, to help people working in the brand-experience medium embrace and apply the 24 Design Principles. I believe that spending time with these interrelated, non-linear habits of thinking can help us realize better outcomes – at work, in our personal lives, and in the world at large.

It’s a sign of the times that the word “optics” — which refers to the properties of light that let us see things — has been hijacked to describe “how something seems.” It’s used as shorthand for situations in which the actions people witness don’t jive with what they’ve been told. Countless celebrities, politicians and brands have been pilloried on social media for #BadOptics. Public shaming via memes, Facebook rants and #twitterstorm posts are the new norm.

This wasn’t an issue 25 years ago, when the sausage-making part of the working world was hidden in the factory.  Today, however, living in the age of social media and ubiquitous camera phones, everything is recorded and published. Progressive enterprises understand this phenomenon and are intentional about designing not only their brand narrative, but everything they do to tell their story.

“This concept rests on the insight that the connected world fundamentally transforms communication,” Bruce Mau explains. “The everyday crisis that we’re having right now in America is a crisis of trust, that we can’t believe what they say and what they do are the same thing…. The real thing that you should be designing is what you do.”

The examples in our industry are easy enough to find. Many convention venues have been renovated to achieve LEED certification. As part of their conferences, associations often create charity events that support relevant causes and support the host community. Groups like Gender Avenger act as watchdogs that collect, report, and broadcast information about gender balance in conference presentations.

Bruce describes this as going from a paint culture to a transparent culture. “The new world is a world of total transparency,” he says. “We should work as if everyone can see everything, because they can…. what you do is actually who you really are, and what you say is often of little consequence…. So, designing how you do that is really a critical piece of defining our product.” Another way to think about it, he advises, is “Turn the sound off and just watch the action — that’s who we really are.”

This is the perspective we need to adopt when considering each opportunity to design a brand experience. If a car manufacturer talks about the quality of their brand, everything about how they engage with people must reflect that quality — the exhibit itself, of course — but also every sensory experience that contributes to or detracts from the message.  We must be mindful of the fact that we reflect who we are from the moment we approach the assignment.

Here are some examples specific to our industry: Organizers for an information technology trade show cannot afford a snafu with registration software. But they can proactively survey attendees to learn about favorite conference apps.  A teachers’ association would look silly if they published anything with typos or grammatical errors. But they could create a space on the show floor where they reveal the process used to check for errors, and even invite teachers to share and collect strategies that work with students.   As design-thinkers, we should never offer our clients products or services that violate fundamental design principles. But we can bring them fresh ideas on how to proactively remediate past oversights or outdated exhibits. And we can use tools and systems that reflect our design perspective.

At Freeman, if we want to be known for inventing the meaning of live experience, we have to do it.  That’s why we’re investing in new display systems, new technologies, new ways to collect and understand data, and new acquisitions that bring fresh ideas and approaches. It’s why we established the Design Leadership Council. It’s why we are aligning our organization to better surround our customers with multidisciplinary support.

When I first got into the business, we were urged to “walk the talk.” Our new mantra must be, “design what we do.”

When Empathy Trumps Authority

Early lessons in leadership — #1

I’d love to tell you a story about myself as the child prodigy who led a fund drive to acquire new life-saving equipment — that I helped invent — to support the local children’s hospital. But for me, the path to leadership has been less Hollywood and more humbling. Leadership, in my experience, is about earning the trust of the people you hope to lead. Trust begins with empathy. And I had to learn this a few times over in my career.

My first gig out of college was with a big hotel chain in Cincinnati, where I was quickly put in charge of Housekeeping. It really made no sense. It was the toughest department — with purchasing responsibility and hundreds of employees — and I had the least experience of anybody. Plus, the housekeeping staff was already disgruntled; there was a lot of tension and some talk of unionizing when I took over.

Two things you should understand about this situation: First, I was a twenty-something 150-pound kid from Indiana, trying to manage a group of much older, tougher inner-city women who could easily have wiped the floor with me. Second, it was my job to convince them that they should love their jobs — that they should be personally invested in cleaning some entitled guy’s room and creating a welcoming experience for our customers.

Lacking any real experience of my own, I had to lean into “me.” I was raised to be an empathetic person. So, I tried to put myself in their shoes. And when I walked around in those shoes, what I saw was dismal. The Housekeeping Department room where we had our meetings every day was dirty and ugly. There were no tables, no chairs… so people who were on their feet all day had to either stand or sit on the grubby floor. The housekeeping caddies they took from room to room were old and broken. The supply cupboards were a mess. These women were not being treated with respect. So how could I ask them to show respect for the hotel and the work they were doing for our guests?

One weekend when we knew things would be slow, I called in my managerial staff and we personally fixed or replaced the caddies, cleaned the break room, organized the supplies, and brought in furniture and plants. I personally ran that giant floor polisher — actually, I think it ran me.

And when the Housekeeping staff came for our next meeting, they saw what we’d done for them and they felt the respect. They saw that they mattered. And many of those women remained my friends long after I left the hotel. And by the way, they voted not to unionize.

That was an important lesson. I didn’t do anything profound. I didn’t spend a lot of money. I treated people the way I wanted to be treated. Ultimately, I guess they empathized with me, too. And those women made me successful and jump-started my career. Lesson learned.

All Designers Are Entrepreneurs

#17 Think Like You’re Lost in the Forest

This is an ongoing series, based on conversations with Bruce Mau, to help people working in the brand-experience medium embrace and apply the 24 Design Principles. I believe that spending time with these interrelated, non-linear habits of thinking can help us realize better outcomes – at work, in our personal lives, and in the world at large.

Imagine you walk into the woods to enjoy a picnic lunch. You look for a nice, flat, shady spot to spread your blanket and then turn your attention to setting out the tasty treats you brought along. Instead, imagine you are lost in the deep forest and your cell phone is dead. Immediately, your priorities shift, and you begin searching for anything that can help you find your way out: Footprints or well-worn paths; moss growing thickly on the north side of the trees; maybe the sound of a stream that leads to a more populated spot? You begin looking for clues as if your life depended on it.

A successful businessperson once told Bruce the secret to being an entrepreneur. He explained that, when most people sit down to eat, they attend to the meal. But an entrepreneur instantly scans the table, the room and other patrons to see how anything there might advance his business.

“That concept of constantly looking for opportunity is a designer mindset,” Bruce notes. “Which is an entrepreneurial mindset. And what you realize is that designers are entrepreneurs.”  Designers may not monetize their observations in the same way, but they continuously search for clues that will lead to a better design. Entrepreneurial thinking is essentially a design methodology.

Entrepreneurs and designers also share a focus on the question “why.” People often frame up their problems by asking for a solution: “I need a ladder.” An engineer will want to know what kind of ladder, how tall, and how heavy. A designer – exercising the value of empathy – will ask “why do you need a ladder?” They’ll ask questions until they understand the real need.  The final design solution could involve a pulley/winch system, or an elevator, or a trampoline, or a trebuchet or, in fact, a ladder. An entrepreneur will consider how to monetize ladder alternatives. But both will begin by gathering information so they fully understand the opportunity to find a better solution.

Consider, once again, our plight while being lost in the forest. A map might help — but only for that forest and probably only for that year, because the forest is always changing.  Bruce clarifies: “What you want, ultimately, is not a methodology to get you out of that forest, but out of any forest.” At Freeman, the forest is the everchanging medium of brand experience, and our methodology is the Freeman Learning Cycle. When you can’t see the forest for the trees, try looking for new opportunities.

We Are All Time Travelers


#16 Design the Time of Your Life

This is an ongoing series, based on conversations with Bruce Mau, to help people working in the brand-experience medium embrace and apply the 24 Design Principles. I believe that spending time with these interrelated, non-linear habits of thinking can help us realize better outcomes — at work, in our personal lives, and in the world at large.

Have you ever watched a time-lapse study of a flower blooming? Have you ever noticed the ever-shifting pattern of shadows created as the sun moves across the urban landscape? We don’t experience the world as a snapshot, as something static — we experience it across the expanse of time.

That’s how we need to think about the medium of live experience. It’s what Bruce means when he urges us to “Design the Time of Your Life;” he’s reminding us that things unfold in seconds, minutes and hours. Participants at a trade show don’t interact with exhibits and displays in a single instant, but over a prolonged sensory engagement. As professionals in the medium of brand experience, we need to shift how we approach our work and think about designing for time travelers, instead of simply creating an object (display, exhibit, booth) that is fixed in space.

“Experience is a time-based medium,” Bruce begins. “When we do our work, the real value we create is the time of our exhibitors and attendees…. and really making the most of that time is the design objective.”

The implication here is that we need to rethink a few givens that are manifest throughout the world of conferences and exhibitions. For example, we know from countless surveys that professionals value the time they have at conferences to exchange ideas, network with colleagues and learn what’s new.  Why, then, would we isolate them in front of a row of computers to earn education credits they could as easily earn from home? Why not let them interact with a live expert and benefit from their classmates’ questions? When we make attendees pay money to do something at our event that they could more easily do at home, we have failed to add value. We are wasting their time.

Conversely, we can design participants’ path across the overarching experience — plan the emotional and sensory course they will take over the time they have together. Bruce describes this as orchestration. “What we’re trying to develop as a methodology is really orchestration, which is having the shape of the time lead to something. …  to create a crescendo. The crescendo is a time-based event…. You have to be there to be part of it.  If we do that, what we’re really doing is designing the time and maximizing the value. At that moment, everyone is thinking, ‘I don’t care what I paid to be here, this is awesome.’”

Disney understands about designing the time you spend within its gates. As noted in Design Principle #14 — Design the New Normal — even standing in line becomes part of the planned experience. When we apply this approach to the brand experiences we create, we can imagine people wanting spaces to discuss, collaborate, rest their feet, and share what they’ve seen on social media. We start to think about how activity in the space changes over time, and how to keep the experience fresh, unexpected and inspiring.  And we start to think in terms of storyboards, like a film director, instead of in static snapshots.

This can be a big leap for event planners, especially when they are rewarded for selling space, not time. But here’s where the magic can happen. “If you start to think of yourself as being in the time-selling business, you can sell the space more than once,” Bruce explains. “That can change the economics of what we’re doing…. If your product is space, it’s fixed. If it’s time, it’s dynamic.”

That’s a game-changing thought. If we design our space to showcase an ever-changing series of experiences, and find sponsors for those experiences, we can generate new revenue and create an audience magnet on the tradeshow floor. If we think of ways to stretch time – the way 10-minutes in an intense VR experience can feel like an hour on the show floor – we change the value equation in profound ways.

In this sense, sponsorship becomes a tool to fund the design of time. And beyond that, it becomes a metric that helps prove out the value of our concepts.  If our idea for something doesn’t earn sponsors, that item may not add value. This brings us back to the core proposition, that what brands require out of any experience they sponsor is quality time with their audience —time to establish a relationship.

Time is the currency of brand experience. It’s our job to design brand experiences that make the most of the participants’ time and stop doing things that are a waste of time.  We need to think of the time that’s been invested by attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and hosts as the ROI that matters most. This dovetails with the design principle that invites us to break through the noise by consolidating, thrifting and aligning our communication efforts.

When we learn to consider the medium of live experience as a time-based medium, it changes our understanding in fundamental ways. It touches everything we do.  It dimensionalizes our designs. It brings empathy to the equation. And it builds a basis of trust by respecting that people are giving us the thing they value most — their precious time – and hoping to watch it bloom.