We Get Real AF

Indi Young, Product Design Strategy Consultant: A Session On Empathy, Cognitive Bias, & Listening in an Overstimulated World

August 18, 2020 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 1 Episode 13
We Get Real AF
Indi Young, Product Design Strategy Consultant: A Session On Empathy, Cognitive Bias, & Listening in an Overstimulated World
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We Get Real AF
Indi Young, Product Design Strategy Consultant: A Session On Empathy, Cognitive Bias, & Listening in an Overstimulated World
Aug 18, 2020 Season 1 Episode 13
Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Indi is an independent qualitative data scientist who provides organizations solid data to guide product design strategy and spark innovation by better understanding human behavior.  

Find Indi Young Online:
Medium: https://medium.com/@indiyoung
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indiyoung/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indiyoung
Website: https://indiyoung.com/

Referenced:
Dr. Brene Brown: https://brenebrown.com 

Inside Out by Pixar:
https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Out-Plus-Bonus-Features/dp/B00ZZMEBFS

Practical Empathy: For Creativity and Collaboration in Your Work by Indi Young:
https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/practical-empathy/

Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young: https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/mental-models/

Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles:
https://www.amazon.com/Future-Ethics-Cennydd-Bowles/dp/1999601912  


We Get Real AF Podcast Credits:
Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Vanessa Alava
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessahalava/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanessahalava/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessahalava 

Sue Robinson
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sue-robinson-29025623/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memyselfandfinds/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sociallysue_

Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcleansounds/
Website: www.inphase.biz

Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite
Artist: Rachel K. Collier
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHnYgtOn8u9YovYplMeXcw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelkcollier/
Website: https://www.rachelkcollier.com 

Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronicahorta/

Cover Artwork Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@alicemoore 


We Get Real AF Podcast Online
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegetrealaf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wegetrealaf
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wegetrealaf/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wegetrealaf
Website: https://wegetrealaf.com 

Support the show (https://wegetrealaf.com/how-you-can-help)

Show Notes Transcript

Indi is an independent qualitative data scientist who provides organizations solid data to guide product design strategy and spark innovation by better understanding human behavior.  

Find Indi Young Online:
Medium: https://medium.com/@indiyoung
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indiyoung/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/indiyoung
Website: https://indiyoung.com/

Referenced:
Dr. Brene Brown: https://brenebrown.com 

Inside Out by Pixar:
https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Out-Plus-Bonus-Features/dp/B00ZZMEBFS

Practical Empathy: For Creativity and Collaboration in Your Work by Indi Young:
https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/practical-empathy/

Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young: https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/mental-models/

Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles:
https://www.amazon.com/Future-Ethics-Cennydd-Bowles/dp/1999601912  


We Get Real AF Podcast Credits:
Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Vanessa Alava
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessahalava/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanessahalava/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessahalava 

Sue Robinson
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sue-robinson-29025623/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memyselfandfinds/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sociallysue_

Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcleansounds/
Website: www.inphase.biz

Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite
Artist: Rachel K. Collier
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHnYgtOn8u9YovYplMeXcw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelkcollier/
Website: https://www.rachelkcollier.com 

Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronicahorta/

Cover Artwork Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@alicemoore 


We Get Real AF Podcast Online
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegetrealaf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wegetrealaf
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wegetrealaf/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wegetrealaf
Website: https://wegetrealaf.com 

Support the show (https://wegetrealaf.com/how-you-can-help)

Vanessa Alava 

Hello everyone. Thanks for tuning into We Get Real AF I'm Vanessa Alava. 

 

Sue Robinson

And I'm Sue Robinson. Please take a moment to subscribe to this show and rate and comment.

 

Vanessa Alava 

Sue and I are really excited to share we received our first message from one of our listeners via our website, we want to give a big shout out to Cristina Dobrin, who's a tech boss-babe herself working in Product Management at Magic Leap. Her message reads, I listened to the podcast episode dedicated to Ashley Tuan and I truly enjoyed the high quality conversation and all of the positive and constructive thinking. And Christina, thank you so much for your kind words. This is precisely our goal with the show. We want you all to feel equipped with knowledge that sparks curiosity and informs new conversations with your tribes. 

 

Sue Robinson 

Absolutely. Yay, Cristina we so appreciate you and I have to tell you that we have had to be really scrappy starting this show out. And when we interviewed the woman that we'll be speaking with today that you guys will be hearing today. It was at the beginning of COVID-19. And we were quarantining. So I was in the North Carolina mountains, I couldn't get signal. So I had to drive around in my car and finally ended up on the side of a mountain interviewing for this episode in my car with a little blue bird sitting on my windows. So we really appreciate Cristina and all of our great listeners for supporting us as we get this podcast off the ground and bring you all these amazing ladies. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Definitely! Actually feel that, if I'm remembering correctly, Sue, you may have been driving at one point asking me Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?

 

Sue Robinson

Probably so! 

 

Vanessa Alava 

Yes, yes, very scrappy, but doing it. And would continue to love to hear from all of you out there. So whether that be through social media or sending us a message through our website. We definitely want to engage. So keep ‘em coming. 

 

Sue Robinson

Yes, please. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

Today's episode is going to give you all the feels! We're diving in and digging deep into the layers of our cognitive thinking as it correlates to empathy, a very common word here on WEGRAF. And as per usual, we found an accomplished girl-boss, Indi Young, to shed her brilliant light on this very interesting topic, and I am so here for it, Sue! 

 

Sue Robinson 

So am I, Vanessa. Indy is amazing. Can't wait for you guys to hear from her.

 

Vanessa Alava 

Empathy is something Sue and I reference often in our many conversations with leading women in all realms of emerging technology. Human connection seems to be a common thread that we naturally yearn for and will come to expect from our devices as software and hardware continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. So how do we bridge the gap? It was only fitting for us to invite empathy guru, Indy Young, to be part of this conversation. An accomplish qualitative data scientist, Indi coaches organizations on understanding people, how to listen deeply, and provides solid data to guide product strategy and to spark innovation. Indi, welcome to WEGRAF.

 

Sue Robinson

Welcome, Indi. 

 

Indi Young 

Well, hey, thanks so much. I'm happy to be here.

 

Vanessa Alava 

Let's start kind of at the beginning here, explain the differences because there are several types of empathy, from my research and what you do, the differences between affective empathy and cognitive empathy. 

 

Indi Young 

Okay. Certainly. A lot of people try to use the empathy word to mean one thing. It means I'm feeling your emotions, or I have sympathy for your emotions, or I have compassion and I'm going to do something nice for you because of your emotions. And so it gets all twisted up with compassion and sympathy quite a bit. Dr. Brene Brown has done a lot of good TED talks that tries to explain the difference between empathy and sympathy but even within empathy, there are more multiple kinds. There's like eight or 12 different types of empathy, and they don't argue about which one is the right empathy. There's just different types. Cognitive empathy, by definition is understanding somebody's inner thinking, their emotional reactions, and their guiding principles. So that's depth, if we can understand how we how people's minds are ticking, right, especially in the present moment and what the history is of it. We will get along much better I do a workshop with various teams who are having issues with the other team. Let's say for example, the product managers versus the designers. They just can't seem to talk at each other in a way that isn't upsetting teach group. And so I'll take an example. conversation or semi argument, right conflict. And I will, I will show the team how to recognize what's being said. Look, here's the guiding principle. Look, here's your guiding principle. Look, neither person is recognizing the other person's guiding principle. And instead what we're doing is we're firing off commands. another is praising someone. Another is judging someone. Another is probing. This is all not listening, this is all driving a conversation toward a particular goal, which is I'm going to try to persuade you to do it my way. Right? And what I do is I teach people how that is that surface surfaces, opinions and preferences and explanations and statements of fact. And that's how we normally try to talk to each other. as soon as the team recognized what those pieces of conversation were, I gave them a couple of rules about how to run a conversation. And then I rewrote that conversation in a way that worked. Affective empathy, on the other hand, has morphed a little bit. There's something called emotional contagion, which is close to affective empathy. That is, when you say, I feel you, and like you're getting tears in your eyes because you feel that other person's emotion. That is emotional contagion. What my psychologist buddies are saying, how about the word that we like to use is called empathic listening. Empathic listening. And it's beautiful because listening is the key. And it's not something that we are adept at. We don't teach our kids how to listen. We teach them how to write and how to read. But we don't teach them how to speak or how to listen. How to take time and make space so that you can actually hear the other person as opposed to just hearing your own thoughts going on while the other person's going blah, blah, blah, so that when they're done going, blah, blah, blah, you can say what your own thoughts are. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Wow. I completely agree with you. And Sue and I have these conversations all the time where we're saying, you know, listening is a practice. And I've done a lot of self-work, especially the last couple of years of just trying to talk less and listen more. Just doing that is so hard and you're right, it should start at such an earlier age. And you know, just this this practice of meditation and being okay with silence. We had this conversation recently with a very young entrepreneur about how she's recognized that as such a young age, which I applaud her for, but the power in silence. And I think that just is in the realm of becoming a better listener and listening deeply. 

 

Indi Young 

The definition of empathic listening is four steps. The first step is to recognize that something's going on for another person, maybe they've got furious thinking going on or deep in thought, or they look quizzical. Or maybe they look like they're having some sort of emotional reaction. Or Or maybe they're having an argument with you about how to do something. And it turns out, it's based on their guiding principle that you haven't understood yet. Second step, this is the hardest one, recognize that it's valid for that person. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Hmm. 

 

Indi Young

Okay. Don't try to change them. Okay, third step, offer, offer yourself, offer your ear. Offer to listen, you can do that in a lot of different ways. There's this Pixar film called Inside Out. It's about…

 

 

Vanessa Alava

Oooohhh!

 

Sue Robinson

Love that film! That is woke. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

That is amazing. I remember watching that for the first time and looking over at my husband with tears in my eyes. Just like I'm literally I we hadn't even had our daughter yet. And we watched it just because there were such great reviews about it. And wow, wow!

 

Sue Robinson

My daughter and I watched it the other day for the first time like maybe two weeks ago and we both had tears in our eyes at the end. It's incredible.

 

Indi Young 

Oh Fantastic! Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So they actually hired a psychologist and someone who understands all of this to make sure that they got it right. And there's this one scene, there's basically these emotions are represented by characters. One character's Joy. One character is Sadness. Joy is very judgmental about Sadness. She doesn't think Sadness has any value. And they have teamed up with this little pink elephant and they're chasing around trying to catch a train to fix something right. So that's time dependent. This train is coming down the track that got to get there. And this pink elephant has a wagon. That is his favorite vehicle, favorite toy, and it falls over a cliff. And he's shocked with emotion. There's no getting that back and he stops. What Joy does is let's get him moving. Let's switch his mood. So I'm going to tickle you tickle, tickle, tickle, want to make you laugh. Come on, come on laugh and then we got to go catch strain. Sadness does the four steps: First she recognizes something's going on for the pink elephant. Second, she says it's valid. I'm not going to try to change your mood. Third, she offers her ear. She says “that meant a lot to you.” Fourth, he accepts her invitation. He starts talking about the wagon about the memories. He cries candy tears, and 42 seconds later, he stands on says let's go get that train. He felt heard. Okay, this is the first time that Joy looks over at Sadness and says “How did you do that?” She was doing empathic listening, it was the four steps it’s beautiful.

 

Vanessa Alava 

And that's how you become better listeners, guys.

 

Sue Robinson

Right. Every technology professional, every parent, every person needs to watch that movie. This is like basic training for life. 

 

 

Indi Young

Yeah, yeah. I think the one of the things that I teach my classes, is that I, you know, a Chinese Dragon has a big beautiful face with the beard and the tentacles and all the stuff. And then this long sinuous body and it kind of flies through the air, right? That face is what you are focused on, there's a lot more to the dragon. And what I tell people is, hey, the present is the face of the dragon. The history, all the rest of the experiences that that Dragon has had in the past is the rest of its body and it's attached to the face. Let's switch it up, then. Let's say it's a co-worker, and the co-workers all like No, we are not going to do it that way. Instead of getting upset about this face of the dragon right here in the presence, find out where that comes from. Find out what the body is, like, find out what the history is like, what were the experiences that led that person up to saying, no, we're not going to do it that way. You can say, oh, okay, let's I'm not going to argue with you. It's probably the right thing. I want to understand it better? Where did this come from?

 

Sue Robinson 

Wow, if we all were better at that our organizations would be such better places for it, we probably have more ideas that people feel confident to bring forward that are good ideas, we would have probably better collaboration between teams, everyone would feel safer, and just, I can only see this being good. And every every possible way we need to learn it. 

 

Vanessa Alava

All those are so important to an organization. Sue, right? But also at the end of the day, whatever product, whatever service that you are offering is better because of all of those things. Because you are more human, because you've taken time, the time to research and the time to understand not just your one narrow perspective, but everybody else, everybody else around you and me, far from that as well. You know, deeper into that. 

 

 

Indi Young 

With respect to taking time and that empathic listening, right? I think we are, especially in the US, and especially in tech, we're in this culture, of getting to solutions fast and that's our problem. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Yes, agree! 

 

Sue Robinson

It's interesting, Indi. Because I think you wrote something else that compared the idea of haste to getting things done quickly. And I see in our world today, we feel very pressured. We have so much information. And I say this a lot on the show, but information is bombarding us all the time. Our Twitter feeds fly by that little piece of information, you know, is gone in a flash and it creates a sense of urgency, right? And so, in that atmosphere in that ecosystem of urgency, we don't leave a lot of space to do exactly the things that you're teaching us we should do, which is to slow down to listen empathically. To break down our reactions into those productive steps and really think through how we're going to respond to that person, and that just seems to be almost a challenge that's exacerbated by the pace of the world that technology has enabled around us.

 

Indi Young

Yeah, um, you are right. And I think the key phrase that you use is that it gives us the sense of urgency. And that's not our sense. It wasn't generated from us, it is generated from those things. So if we can own our own approach, if we can own our own relationship to it, I think this is what the people who are trying to teach meditation are trying to help people understand is that you can have your own reaction. Let the reactions then percolate. So creativity is this well studied thing. It takes a while. You need things to percolate. You get your best ideas in the shower. Why? Because it's been sitting there in the back of your mind for a little while. And then when your mind relaxes, you give yourself a chance to relax your mind. It'll pop out. I think the pressure comes from money. I think most technologists are not money driven. But the people running the companies are and what, what that speed is is to, you know, make the market bigger get more people looking at our stuff through a glass pane. So I think, I think what's what what the solution is is self-awareness, and group awareness. So we are unaware of our own biases. we're unaware of the fact that as a team, when we're speedily trying to solve this, and there are some teams who take time. But by and large, I will speak about the teams that don't have the self-awareness and don't have this autonomy and don't have the trust of the people who are trying to push them along. Okay, so I think listening and trust are at the key of the solution. And self-awareness is another big part of the key. So the self-awareness is recognizing that you have cognitive bias. All humans have cognitive bias no matter where we come from no matter what culture. This is filtered down into our real world now, modern day where we're seeing certain things like on a Twitter feed or something to make an instantaneous decision firing off a reply, right? That's that reply is, is our unconscious bias or cognitive bias? Speaking cognitive bias is actually a slightly different thing. And that is our pattern recognition. So we're really good at recognizing patterns in our brain loves patterns. And so when somebody hands you some quantitative data, we love to see it broken down into chunks into patterns. But those breakdowns don't mean anything. And in fact, if it does show some sort of correlation, you can only apply that correlation to another large group. You can't apply the correlation to a single individual just that's not how statistics work. And yet we get these teams who are being pushed who don't know about this, just going ahead with their first reaction going ahead and saying yeah, look at that. There's this example that I love to talk about. And it's from a time when I was working with a team at an airline. And they would, they were working on the front end of all sorts of different pieces of software. But they were also being fed data, quantitative data in the back end. And there was this set of data about one day for that airline and all the people who checked their bags, and then presumably all the people who didn't check their bags, maybe possibly carried it on. And of course, they got that data broken down. It was broken down by gender. It was broken down by age, and think it was broken down by where they checked the bag, in the airport. And so I look at the team and I'm like, okay, You guys, what do you think of this? Or like I don't know the the bosses thinking that it's really significant that the women are checking a lot more bags than the men. And the boss is saying that it's probably because the women can't get their makeup through security or maybe they have a lot of shoes that they have to pack. And of course, thankfully, the team was rolling their eyes at this. And I'm like, Okay, so how can we fix this. They were like well, you know, what if we looked at the data in terms of how long the trip was, we have that we have that information. So if you're taking a longer trip, you're going to pack more and probably check in your bag, and and they were going to keep going in that vein. And I'm like, okay, hold your horses there. And then I said, guess what you are channeling your own approach here. And we are guessing you you're you're giving data based on a team of what, six. So let's go find out. So we actually did a study, we went and asked people what went through their minds. And the reasons for checking a bag were completely different. So here were the four things that we found. From that small study, one was, we call this group the My precious. This is an item that is very precious to me. One of the other examples was Yeah, you know, I, I do, I've got a connection and I want to drag my stuff through this connecting airport with me. There was also the never agains, you know, a wheel broke off the guerrillas back there, you know, broke my zipper. And the clothes were all like hanging out when it came out on the carousel, all of those types of things. So that was what we actually found. And it had nothing to do with the demographics. Sure, some people were talking a little bit about, like, Oh, I'm gonna go on a long trips, I'm packing a bigger suitcase. But some people were going on long trips and packing very small suitcases. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

That's so interesting. And that ties in greatly with an article that I love that you wrote back in 2018 for Medium, and it was how to become woke in the tech space and talk about woke when you take the time to do a study like that, where you're all these bias and, you know, almost like judgments of people and what they're doing. And then you do it and you find like the top four reasons and you're like, oh, wow, I was like wickedly off. So, can you please kind of highlight some of those? I mean, you covered one being that don't fall prey to cognitive bias. But can you cover some of those other items on like, how to become woke with user experience and product development?

 

Indi Young

Yeah, because not everybody's dealing with the public like passengers on a plane, right. So I don't need to worry about cognitive bias, do I? Well, you do have other things to worry about. There's something that's called a systemic bias. And this is really, really buried in our culture. It comes historically. It crept into our laws, our it crept into our business practices, and it's still there in our laws and our business practices. So yes, we're in technology, we don't have history, everything's new and, and everything we're going to do is new and nobody's ever done it before. So I don't need to do that either. The problem is, is that we're not making technology for brand new things. We're making technology to help us do things that we want to do that we have been doing by other methods before. a data center is something that represents a collection of information. collection of information has been done for centuries. Let's go back and see what kind of historic processes have crept in there, right? How you know what, what is it that we're unaware of? So do some research. I think that's important. Don't let demographics creep into your speech. Take them out entirely. See if you can take them out entirely. People will push back on that no end. But it is such a helpful exercise, make thinking styles instead of personas. 

 

Sue Robinson 

It's such a foundational shift in the way we think as humans. And I'm wondering, you know, there's algorithms out there that help us diagnose illnesses that help diagnose problems within a computer. Is anybody working on an algorithm to help us identify where those biases might be creeping in. 

 

Indi Young

That's I believe up to us. There are a lot of people who have written about this, but it's not creeping into business so much. I think it is, found a foothold in government. So there are a lot of digital government teams who are aware of this, who are investigating this. But I think in for profit business, it isn't finding a foothold yet not a very strong one. So I think it's up to us because what we can do is use some of the tools. I've developed a bunch of tools, there are other people who have developed tools to actually put a point on it. So there's a book called Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles, and he represents the whole discipline of ethics that apparently the whole discipline of technology has never been introduced to. And there's a there's a cone sort of a diagram that he uses where you are you consciously go through this exercise of broadening your perspective of who we are serving and who those individuals are, and who is it that we're ignoring, and who is it that we're making unintended outcomes for? And then you start focusing in on those very specifically. I do something called listening sessions As the way I gather data, and those listening sessions are very carefully cast, I do very careful study framing on a purpose. So the difference between a listening session and say a user interview is that word user. A user is someone who has a relationship to your organization. Okay, so I don't use the word user, I say customer, I say member or I say passenger, those are all still people with a relationship to your organization. What I do is I look at people without a relationship to your organization, but with a purpose that they're trying to achieve that you are indeed trying to serve. That's your focus, so it's on the purpose instead. And this listening session is a very deep, broad way of getting empathic listening. So that we're using that as a tool so that we can form cognitive empathy.

 

Vanessa Alava

Tell us a little bit about your background and your career journey. 

 

Indi Young

Ah, I'm pretty far along in the career journey as it is. Surprise, all of a sudden you find yourself there I started out as a computer scientist. And this was back when we were just starting to have user interface. And so I was in charge of designing the front end for a compile debug and edit system for a large supercomputer back in the day. So that was kind of where I came from, what the way that my path ended up going toward empathy and going toward this connection between humans and the machines that we designed to support us is kind of hinged on this one time when I was working with a large team at Visa, the credit card company, and they head's tasked us with fixing the call center software. And I developed a state machine out of it because I didn't know any other tools to represent what each of the call center reps was going through and the different scenarios that they faced, and then the rest of the team use that state machine to drive not only like the data design for the database, but the software architecture and the interface and it just, you know, people would come up to me and say, Hey, this really held this thing together. And that was the real stepping off point. And so it only grew from there. Then I started creating better diagrams than a state machine. And then a little bit more readable. And you can actually use them in software strategy as well as software design. And those are called mental model diagrams. And they have all sorts of bits of information that we carefully build from the bottom up. That's another lesson that I learned as a computer scientist is you don't take a top down point of view, you have to try to understand everything, all the possibilities and make room for everything. And so the diagram represents the way a group of people think toward achieving their purpose. Sometimes they have different thinking styles. And those thinking styles show up in different contexts. But the key is that underneath this diagram, you can then map what you are doing as an organization to support the different things that a person is going through. And so we're including in That diagram, items like Oh, hey, I'm a female IT person and I constantly get pushback from the people. I'm trying to help that I don't know what I'm doing. And then when you go to do your gap analysis, you can see, oh, look, there's a gap there. How do we support this? How do we help this person? How do we make a change, or make what she's trying to get done more easily achievable. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

That's such a gift to have your intense data brain and then also have that capacity to break it down into relatable terms for people, whether it be a model a diagram, or explaining going into organizations as you do to really analyze and break things down and bring things to light that people can't naturally see themselves. I think that's such a great gift to have both pieces of the puzzle. 

 

Sue Robinson

Mmmhmm.

 

Indi Young

Yeah, it's taken a while.

 

Vanessa Alava 

I'm curious, Indi. Because you come into these organizations and it's someone who's said, Hey, this amazing scientists that researches all of this human centric, forward thinking we should bring her in so she can do workshops with us. I'm curious as to leaders that might feel threatened. how do you handle that? And what is the feedback once you've gone in and conducted these types of studies? 

 

Indi Young

I don't end up touching leaders that often anymore in the early days, I did. Oftentimes, that dynamic was, Okay, wait, I hired you because of this promise. And now I'm seeing what you're doing a couple weeks into it and it has nothing to do with our product. I feel like you're breaking your promise. Right. Um, and the way I had to handle it was to say we're we're building something here. One of the things that I do is, is emphasize that this is not a one and done thing. This is a practice that your organization so corporations, companies, organizations, government agencies, they last a long time, longer than the human lifespan. And when you look at it in that length of time, you do have the time to take to really investigate things you start to think of Okay, what I'm generating here is knowledge. That I am going to pass to the next person who is running this company. All right, this is the kind of knowledge. Research is knowledge creation, we're creating knowledge. And the kind of knowledge about people and their purposes, is long lived.

 

Vanessa Alava 

I love that message.

 

Sue Robinson

I do too. And so much, honestly of what you're talking about, to me seems to boil down to the concept of patience. Right and just being patient, with yourself being patient with the people around you organizations being better patient with the process and giving that time to grow and develop so that they can see where all the principles and practices that you're teaching them will result in fruition where they'll lead to. 

 

Indi Young

Yeah, yeah. It's Um, I think that's a harder message for someone who's more junior to do so the other thing that I, the other message that I have is, let's develop relationships. So, right now say that leader doesn't trust you. You are a cog in the wheel that you he expects you to tick in this certain way. And if you're like, Okay, wait, ticking that way is not going to get us where we need to go as an organization, for the future for the people who have a purpose that we want to support. If, if that person isn't willing to let you tick or show how a different way of ticking could work. Instead develop a relationship with that person. Listen to that person, go make sure that person is heard time after time, month after month, and you will develop a trusting relationship. This is how office politics works. Right? You develop relationships with people. If you don't develop a relationship, you're not going to be able to get things done. And to develop a relationship of trust means the other person feels heard feels like you understand them. They will if they're not a complete narcissist, then start returning the favor to you. And it'll be a two way trust relationship. And that's where collaboration happens.

 

Sue Robinson 

Love that, well put. 

 

Indi Young 

So the book that I wrote, Practical Empathy, is for creativity and collaboration. It works for both it works for the team that you're working with building these relationships, understanding that maybe you're just throwing commands back at each other, instead of understanding what each other's guiding principles are finding out what that history is, why they're saying no. And then also on the creativity side, understanding people who have a purpose that you as an organization want to serve. 

 

Sue Robinson

Awesome

 

Indi Young

With the data that I collect, I actually do very specific type of analysis. It's bottom up instead of top down. So one of the other ways that you can be woke is to recognize that half the time you're putting things in boxes that you already made up so if you're curating. And if you want to truly let the data say what it has to say you have to work from the bottom up. it's letting the data say what it has to say without your unconscious bias influencing, it without your culture influencing it. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

Very true. A lot of these things are hitting home.

 

Ind Young 

So, the other thing is that this is the practice, We're human. So this this idea of listening, I tell people, it's a very heavy hat. And you're going to put it on and you're neck’s going to get real tired after the first few seconds, you have to take it off. And then you put it on again the next time, you can add a few more seconds to take it off. You cannot put this heavy hat of actually actively listening on you can't keep it on for very long unless you practice. if you're just starting out, give yourself a break. Also recognize that some of the things you're going to hear are going to affect you emotionally. And you need to pay attention to that you need ways to decompress. If it's going out for a hike and seeing wild raspberries growing and connecting to the earth, if it's chatting with a friend, if it's playing with your pet, if it's sitting in your hot tub or going for a swim. That's the one thing you might be missing as a beginner, is the way that you have to decompress. So, get in touch with the things that make you feel right, relaxed or relieved. 

 

Sue Robinson 

Right. Great advice 

 

Vanessa Alava

Indi, you have been so insightful and given so many amazing tips for anybody. I mean, obviously we focus on tech, but like anyone who runs a business who is human in general, who has stressors who deals with people every day, can you know, I think take value from what we've covered today and learn from you. 

 

Sue Robinson

I agree with that 100% and one of the hardest things for us as humans to do is to slow down so the more that we can be reminded that there's so much value in that and then being intentional with what you're doing when you slowdown is just a great gift to all of us and a great reminder. So with that, we're gonna finish up here with our lightning round. Our first item for you is to ask you to finish the sentence. Women are 

 

Indi Young

Humans.

 

Vanessa Alava 

What are three pieces of advice you'd give your younger self?

 

Indi Young 

Well, what I would tell my younger self is you know, you worry so much about stress, and you think you should slow down. But actually, slowing down hasn't helped you over the last 30 years, and what helps you is actually that feeling that sense of accomplishment. So focus on that focus on the doing.

 

Sue Robinson 

what is your current favorite application of tech for good?

 

Indi Young 

I think the most amazing thing that's come out is the fact that we have smartphones, mobile phones, little computers we can carry around to accomplish our other purposes. Like connecting like paying each other, like figuring out the answer to something like, you know, finding direction all these other things, right. I think that's been fantastic because that has filtered into so many different cultures, so many different thinking styles. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

What issue do you most hope technology will help resolve in the future?

 

Indi Young 

I really hope it technology can help with climate change mitigation or cleanup.

 

Sue Robinson 

Mm hmm. What inspires you, Indi?

 

Indi Young 

I think other people. I get a lot of energy from other people and the way they think

 

Vanessa Alava 

What do you wish to learn more about

 

Indi Young 

I have a confession. I have not been listening to music for the past 15 years or so. And I need to learn more about how I can actually find music and listen to music now because I've been completely left behind.

 

Sue Robinson 

Describe the future in one word.

 

Indi Young 

The word I love is hopeful.

 

Vanessa Alava 

All right, last one, fill in the blank blank like a girl.

 

Indi Young 

I'm gonna say choose again. It's just like there are you know, some people recognize that we can choose again. And I think that as, as teams, as organizations, as leaders, as as people who will become the next leaders, we need to be open to new things, be open to ideas. That is a part of the empathic mindset and choosing again is the action that comes from it.

 

Vanessa Alava 

That's a beautiful note to end on.Indi, thank you! And I almost feel like we need to end with like, nama stay or something. It has been a session. Where can people find you online? Connect with you? You've mentioned your book a few times. So where can they find the book, etc? 

 

Indi Young 

On Rosenfeld media, I've got two books. The first one is called Mental Models. And the second one's called Practical Empathy. Practical Empathy is kind of a newer version of Mental Models, and it's written for people who are not researchers. So it's a little bit easier read. 

 

Indi Young 

Find me on my website indiyoung.com. I'm also on Medium under inclusive software. And you can find me on Twitter, Indi young, and LinkedIn, Indi young, as well. 

 

Sue Robinson

Indi, thank you again so much for your time today and all your wonderful insights. I know our listeners are really going to enjoy listening to this, this episode. 

 

Indi Young 

Thank you so much. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Yes, amazing. Thank you!