The canvas is a workshop tool for product teams which links ethics with product strategy

The ideas I presented in Your Product’s Ethical Stack received a good reception, and from there I was able to gather some useful feedback.

I found out that the “stack” concept was an effective metaphor for talking about all the different facets of ethics in a way which spoke the language of PMs.

Yet to be more helpful, it needed translating into something tangible that could be used in workshops.

With that in mind, I’ve iterated on the ideas to create the Product Ethics Canvas.

Ethics is increasingly on the agenda of product teams.

Yet most product teams lack the…

A mental model update for product teams to think about ethics

Technology products shape the world we live in. They define actions we can make and influence how we interpret the world. Even the most seemingly innocuous product — say Instagram, or Pinterest — affects our behaviour in ethically relevant ways.

Nevertheless, few product teams include ethics explicitly in their decision-making, nor are there shared frameworks for doing so. What’s missing is a conceptual bridge between product strategy and ethics. I’ll try to bridge that gap in this article.

Even the most innocuous of products has ethical implications

With increasing societal scrutiny upon them, technology companies are becoming more alert to ethics. …

With great power comes great responsibility, right? I want to help technologists have more informed and fruitful discussions about that responsibility; namely, through getting more involved in technology ethics.

I used a recent vacation to do a deep-dive into the freshest literature on technology ethics. I’ll share my reading list with you in this post, along with an introduction to each book and some food for thought on the shared themes to finish off.

Here’s the reading list:

  1. Future Ethics, Cennyd Bowels
  2. Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, Adam Greenfield
  3. Technology and the Virtues, Shannon Valor
  4. The Ethics of…

Photo by Ben Sweet on Unsplash

‘Human-centered’ has reached peak buzzword. In design and innovation world, the term is now unavoidable — found liberally splashed over agency websites. Yet it is dangerously loaded.

Human-centred describes an approach employed in design and innovation, made up of the following ideas:

  • First, that a human-centred approach would prioritise the needs of human beings, perhaps over the development of technology or business concerns.
  • Then, it is used to describe an approach which avoids reducing people down to their function as users, consumers or customers, and instead of seeing them in a complete way.
  • Finally, the term is used to describe using humanistic methods, that is, typically qualitative and explorative, for research — a shift away from analytical, quantitative techniques.

These are well-meaning and often fruitful ways of…

The CPO will be our in-house devil’s advocate, tasked with asking uncomfortable questions, and ensuring we grow in line with our values.

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

At Unreal Co. we believe that it is the quality of our thinking which ensures our competitive edge.

As we rapidly grow as an organisation, we have created the role of Chief Philosophy Officer to ensure our growth aligns with our purpose and values, and our decisions are taken consciously and deliberately.

The CPO will be our in-house devil’s advocate, tasked with asking uncomfortable questions which ensure our business success.

We are seeking a practical, business-minded philosopher, with an advanced humanistic education and on-the-ground company experience.

You will work in a consultative role, networking across our organisation, with key stakeholders…

Introducing the two-storm.

Group brainstorms are inefficient and produce low-value ideas.

You may think this heretical, but in this article I hope to convince you on why I think a “two-storm” approach is more efficient, sustainable, and produces better ideas.

I’ll also give you some tips for how to do a two-storm, including an agenda you can lift.

First off, a few words on why group brainstorms are not fit for purpose — at least, when the purpose is idea generation.

  • Three is a crowd. Put more than two people in a room and a pack mentality forms. …

Tech discourse is using the term “humanise” to describe everything from designing more personable chatbots, through to ensuring an AI overlord doesn’t enslave the human race.

I find this use of the term confused. We need a more sharply defined understanding of what it means to humanise for the term to be useful.

Google for startups event in Berlin last night: “Humanising AI”

For example, at a Google For Startups event in Berlin this week, billed “Humanising AI,” the discussion was absent of any critical conversation around what it means to humanise AI. …

How long did I sleep? How many steps did I take? How many calories did I eat? These questions were the mainstay of the Quantified Self movement. While getting the data on your life was alluring — even addictive — it rarely revealed fresh insights. A new category, Qualified Self, built upon on AI which can analyse qualitative information, may take its place.

A new window to the soul. Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

The Quantified Self movement aimed to provide “self-knowledge through self-tracking with technology.” It boiled life down into questions of quantity. Mostly, the data would confirm to us what we already knew — I slept badly, I ate…

Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

I’ve started learning German. Right now, I have just about enough German to say that ich spreche kein Deutsch. That is, I’m a total beginner. But I’m already gathering a list of poems in the language, poems which I plan to understand and even memorise.

With this secret geeky weekend ritual, through Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and now German, I’ve found that poetry is my most useful tool in learning a language. So, fellow language learners, allow me to make a case for poetry.

Apps like DuoLingo and Memrise are great for cramming vocabulary. But damn, they butcher the language. I’ve…

Credit: Spotify Advertising

I’ve been putting some thought into the relationship between mood and technology, particularly looking at digital experiences which build in mood-orientated features. Previously, I’ve discussed why I think Spotify offers an interesting example of the digital world reacting to mood. To explore this idea, I ran a small qualitative study looking at how mood comes into play in users’ experience of Spotify. Here I’ll offer my findings as food for thought for those involved in creating digital experiences where moods might matter.

I’ll skip most of the theory but offer a bit of context. Spotify is an interesting example of…

James Lynden

Innovation Strategist, UX Researcher & Facilitator @ IXDS Berlin. Ethical innovation and systems thinking. Making space for deep work. Formerly B&O & O2.

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