Past Meetup

Embedded Research, Design Sprints, and Failing Fast!

This Meetup is past

222 people went

Price: $1.00 /per person


5 Cambridge Center · Cambridge, MA

How to find us

Enter the glass doors, smile and wave, turn left, and head up to Floor 5.

Location image of event venue


1. The Benefits of Failing Fast & Quick (6:45-7:05)

by Stacey Dyer | LinkedIn (

Trial & error is a commonly used phrase, but perhaps it's used half-heartedly. We always hear praises for the success behind a 'trial' but rarely do we hear about the 'errors'. Let's talk error, failure, and ask 'how could this fail?' together – early and often. From emails to feature work, this tech talk will combine an in depth look at how software development can apply the "fail fast" mantra along with a quick workshop where everyone will experience the benefit of conducting a project pre-mortem.

About Stacey. iZotope’s ( Product Design Director, Stacey Dyer manages a team of product designers and pushes the team to go beyond their usual boundaries. Previously, Stacey worked with a variety of brands such as Force Factor, Oliva Cigars, Shields MRI, and Kidcity Children's Museum. You can find her branding expertise published in Logo Lounge 5, Initials & Crests: LogoLounge Master Library Series, and Type & Calligraphy Logos: LogoLounge Master Library Series, as well as insights behind the land of freelance in Cathy Fishel's Freelance Design In Practice. Prior to moving up to Boston in 2013, Stacey was an active member of the creative culture within Connecticut, acting as co-chair for the Arts & Industries Council as well as speaking regularly at her alma mater, the Hartford Art School.

2. Design Sprints! (7:10-7:30)

by CTodd Lombardo | LinkedIn (

To be successful at creating digital products you have to reduce the risk of failure though it’s almost impossible to do that. Traditionally design leads have tried planning their way out of that conundrum, only to find that no amount of planning can guarantee an outcome. Our grey hairs should stand testimony to the failure of waterfall and even Agile project management methodologies. The traditional approach to product design is broken. So what’s the alternative? The answer lies in people and process, not in new project management tools. Design Sprints are time-boxed mechanism that have evolved to meet these needs. This talk will cover how to can adopt this practice in a team as well as share case studies on how others have had found success using design sprints.

About CTodd. In a world of hyper-specialization, C. Todd stands in the intersections and sees the connections that revolve around us. As an Innovation Architect at Constant Contact's InnoLoft, he facilitates product and service design sprints for a wide range of external startups and internal product teams. C. Todd is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Madrid's prestigious IE Business School where he teaches courses on Creativity, Innovation, Design-Thinking and Communication.

3. Embedded Research! (7:35-7:55)

by Dani Nordin | LinkedIn ( | Twitter ( |

In cultural ethnography, researchers go into communities and live among them for months or years, learning the local language and customs. In organizational ethnography, a researcher goes on site visits and observes meetings, trying to simply observe the patterns of behavior expressed by the workers. In both cases, the ethnographers are disconnected from the subjects of study, positioning themselves primarily as unbiased observers.

But what about when you’re already part of the culture you're studying? How do you continue as an active participant in this culture while still making space and time for observation? In this presentation, UX Designer and active Drupal contributor Dani Nordin will discuss her experience conducting Master’s thesis research on the roadblocks to collaboration in the Drupal project. You will learn:

• Benefits of the embedded approach

• Moving from “I’m noticing this” to an actual research question

• Making time for both participation and reflection

• Strategies for keeping bias in check

About Dani. Harvard Business Review ('s Senior UX Designer, Dani Nordin works with a cross-functional team of designers, technologists and product managers to integrate UX into an Agile development process. She is also an accomplished speaker, teacher and writer, teaching courses for General Assembly - Boston and Skillsoft International. Her book, Drupal for Designers, is available from O'Reilly Media.

Show Schedule

6:40 - 6:45: UX Opener by Akshat

6:45 - 7:05: Embedded Research by Dani

7:10 - 7:30: Failing Fast by Stacey

7:35 - 7:55: Design Sprints by CTodd

8:00+ Kika Tapas across from the CIC

Why are you charging one dollar?

We're not looking to make money from this. Making you go through the checkout process is really an extra gyration to verify your attendance. We get a pretty accurate headcount and a much better networking experience this way too!