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Photo by Vlado Paunovic from Pexels

2020 was a year like no other. Uncertain. Unprecedented. Unbelievable. I’m sure that I’m not the only one sitting here thinking, “Was it even real?” And yet, here we are.

But while it’s true that 2020 has been marred by constant disappointment, heartache and fear, it has also been a year of reflection and renewal. Almost everything we once thought was certain has been challenged. How we work. How we socialise. How we date. And, more recently, how we do Christmas. Many of us, myself included, have gotten more in touch with who we are and what’s important to us. …


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Photo by Luis Villasmilon Unsplash

Let’s start with a few questions:

  • Do you constantly feel exhausted no matter how much sleep you get?
  • Do you have a sense that nothing you do will make things any better?
  • Do you find that you care less about things that are usually important to you?

If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions then you might be suffering from burnout.

It wouldn’t be surprising either. A study published last year found that 90% of participants reported feeling stressed “most of the time”. This was the case before the pandemic which we know is having a significant impact on us, and only adding to an already stressed and overworked population. If ‘unprecedented’ is the top word of 2020 then ‘burnout’ is definitely in the top 10. It’s even been recognised by the World Health Organisation who have classified burnout syndrome as an “occupational phenomenon”, describing it as “work-stress-induced emotional and physical exhaustion”. …


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Photo by Pille Kirsi from Pexels

It’s been a good 5 months now since the spike in activity around Diversity & Inclusion, as well as the renewed focus of the Black Lives Matter movement. In June, we saw floods of diversity statements on company websites, black squares appeared all over instagram and inclusivity organisations were bombarded with requests. I’m really glad to see all of this enthusiasm for something that I believe is one of the most crucial world problems to solve. But many people, including myself, are asking whether all of this excitement has led to any real change?

Sadly, the outlook is pessimistic. Hustle Crew — a company focused on making tech more inclusive by consulting and designing training solutions for businesses — recently did a poll of nearly 200 people in their network and asked whether people felt that their workplaces were more inclusive since the resurgence of BLM. The vast majority said that things had stayed the same, while some said things had gotten worse! …


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Graphic created by the wonderful Emma Potter!

So here we all are, it’s 2020 and we’ve all been thrust into a digital transformation whether we like it or not. We’ve all had to rethink how we work, live and play in a world where physicality is strictly limited. For many of us, this has meant changing the way we collaborate, such as shifting from physical workshops that were primarily face-to-face to fully digital ones.

I’m not going to lie, this freaked me out. I have long been a dedicated advocate that workshops MUST be in person and I’d loathe the question, “is there going to be a dial in?” It would take everything in me not to shout “HELL NO!” and, instead, to politely yet forcefully suggest that the workshop simply won’t work if you’re not in the room. …


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Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

I have no idea how to start a blog like this. I guess I’ll just get straight to the point.

This week, I sent an email to my team regarding the large and appropriate response to the murder of Black Americans by police officers, which has taken place over the last several days. I realised that I’d been sharing and taking action on my personal social channels, but had been silent in the workplace, except for a few one-on-one conversations. This had to change.

The purpose of the email was to respond with a stance on the current situation and restate our policy on racial discrimination (which is of course zero-tolerance), but also to launch a call to action, acknowledging that we could have and should have been doing more in the past to build a diverse organisation and actively support our local communities. I wanted to create a shortlist of resources to share with our team so that they could individually take action, while also making commitments for what we will do differently as an organisation going forward. …


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Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash

Last week, I was fortunate enough to join Tech Circus on one of their Design Leadership panels, where the topic of conversation was leading through a crisis. If you’d asked me whether I’d be comfortable speaking about this a few months back then I’d have probably said, “errr nah, thanks”, but fast forward to now and it’s something I’m actually desperate to talk more about.

Why? Well, I strongly believe that now more than ever, and during a crisis in particular, a different type of leadership is needed from what we’ve been taught in the past. It’s a strong “see ya later” to overly assertive, and often aggressive styles of leadership that are devoid of emotion and empathy. That means that it’s a big fat “hello hun, where you been all this time?” …


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The classic service design analogy. Graphic created by Tom Tyler of SPARCK.

On Friday 24th April 2020, my good friend Alicia and I were astounded to have 187 awesome people, including both my mum and dad, join us from around the world for a chat about why we think everyone should, and can, think like a Service Designer. During the hour long event, titled “Yes. We. Can! (all think like a Service Designer”, we gave a bit of context around what service design is, why it’s so great and then shared our tips for shifting your mindset. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

It was a great session, with lots of engagement, especially in the chat — thanks to all the keen beans who got very involved with the +1 activity. Unfortunately, time flies when you’re having fun and it certainly did for us. We were left with a measly 5 minutes to answer questions and wrap up which meant that, for most, important questions went unanswered. …


A guide to goal-setting greatness

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Photo by Markus Winkleron Unsplash

A note since I first published this article in Jan 2020:

It’s safe to say that this year [2020] has turned out like none of us could have anticipated. So it’s likely that the goals you may have set at the start of the year aren’t so relevant anymore. I know the feeling. But this isn’t something to feel disheartened by. Whether you’re a business or an individual, revisiting your goals and adjusting them on a regular basis is super important. It’s never too late, or too early, to start over. I wrote the approach below at the start of the year, as part of my personal, annual goal-setting cycle, but you can apply it at any time. Taking a moment halfway through the year is a great time to use the following approach to consider what you’d like to achieve for the rest of the year. It’s even more worthwhile in light on unexpected circumstances (I was about to write ‘unprecedented’ there and I had to check myself). If you’re feeling cloudy about what’s to come in the future, or you need clarity around your priorities, have a read of the below. …


Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on May 5, 2017.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS?! There’s going to be another UK General Election!

Of course, you knew that already, unless you’ve been living under a rock.

But, just in case you have somehow missed this virtually unavoidable piece of news, let me fill you in. On Tuesday 18th April 2017, Theresa May, or TRESemmé as my mum enjoys calling her, announced a snap election that will take place on 8th June in a surprise statement outside Number 10.


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We are en route to a dystopian, jobless future where super advanced technology will make us humans obsolete. Or, as summed up in one word by WIRED, we’re heading for a Robopocalypse.

At least, that’s what we’re led to believe, if the recent hype around robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) is anything to go by.

About

Natalie Pearce

Head of Culture, Strategist, Service Designer at SPARCK. I’m all about empowering womxn, sustainability, inclusivity, kindness & not taking life too seriously⚡️

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