Thank you for Noticing
There is a joy in seeing a child’s face light up when a product has been designed just for them, particularly children that may be different. Brands often design for the mainstream, yet Mattel and Target are two brands that have Noticed the gap and taken the extra steps to be inclusive of children who may not always feel like everyone else.
Ella Rogers, a two-year-old with Spina Bifida, was overjoyed to receive a Barbie doll in a wheel chair that felt just like her. Artist Crystal Kayes creates custom hand-painted dolls with vitiligo, a rare skin condition, to spotlight the unique and diverse attributes of real kids, help break down barriers, and boost self-esteem for children.
And a photo of young Oliver Garza-Pena’s reaction to an in-store Target display went viral inspiring thousands, reminding us that while we continue to consciously focus on diversity, let’s also ensure we are also well representing people with different needs and challenges.
Have you ever Noticed what your instinctual response is when encountering a person Experiencing homelessness? Do you put your head down? Act busy? Or perhaps LOOK the individual in the eyes, with a warm smile.
In this piece, Kayla Robbins shares “The first time you see a person Experiencing homelessness as fully human, equal to yourself, and deserving of the same safety and security you enjoy is a unique Experience. It’s also an Experience that we need more people to have.”
This behavior translates so directly to health care. We are often too busy to LOOK at one another – racing down hallways, LOOKING at a phone, lost in the business of the day. And yet it’s amazing how much a simple and Intentional acknowledgment of another person’s presence not only helps that person feel seen and important, it allows you to slow down, be attentive and connect, even if only for a moment.
Experiment with making real eye contract and see how it feels. In The Experience Lab, one practice we employ to LOOK and SEE all people in our days is to strive to LOOK into the eyes of each individual we encounter, smile, and say to ourselves (in our head) “I see you.” Try this simple practice and feel the difference.
When this New York Times piece came out , it was an important reminder to consider what we spend the most time LOOKING at. For many, it’s a smartphone – a device that has distracted many of us from Noticing the beauty of humanity that surrounds us. This article is an invitation to pause and intentionally Notice the people and places around us.
What details large and small await when we take time to LOOK up and truly see? What invisible detail becomes more prominent? And most importantly what might we do with the details and information we see to design our Experiences anew? This is your cue to put down the phone, take a walk, LOOK up and begin Noticing.
Many public parks have closed worldwide because of the fear that people can’t follow the six foot physical/social distancing guidelines, limiting the outdoor places people have to escape, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors.
Austria-based studio Precht used this new rule as a design constraint to conceptualize “Park de la Distance”—a maze-like park that encourages physical distance in Vienna. It is shaped by the human touch: inspired by a fingerprint and LOOKING like an elaborate green labyrinth from above. With parallel lanes for visitors to stroll through the green landscape, each lane allows only one person to enter at a time, with thoughtful gates and visual cues indicating if the path is free. The walk is intended to serve as an urban oasis for a 20 minute stroll to self-reflect, center and be outside while staying safe.
Cinematographer and friend of The Experience Lab, Louie Schwartzberg, has an uncanny way of shining light on what otherwise would be ignored or unseen. In this video from STIR showcases his use of stunning time-lapse photography, as well as high-speed and nano-photography, to capture the movements in nature that are too small, slow, or fast for our eyes to process with normal vision. “I love to use film to take us on a journey through the portals of time and space, to make the invisible visible… Who knows what waits to be seen, and what wonders will transform our lives?”
Apps allow us to control our homes. Our music. Our communications. Our social life. Why not our vision too? Enter the Smart Glasses
that can automatically adjust their focus with the press of a button. These liquid-filled beauties are controlled by a mobile app that only needs updated prescription information to remain accurate for the user.
“The major advantage of these smart eyeglasses is that once a person puts them on, the objects in front of the person always show clear, no matter at what distance the object is,” says Carlos Mastrangelo, the electrical and computer engineering professor LEADING the research along with doctoral student Nazmul Hasan.
This is good news for our ability to Notice because Noticing, of course, requires seeing things clearly. By the age of 45 most of us will need glasses for reading, and those who do wear glasses will be changing prescriptions on a nearly annual basis. That’s a lot of time and money to ensure that we can see clearly. With these new smart glasses, we’ll never have to replace a prescription again, and we’ll be able to shift perspectives however we choose. These clunky spectacles may LOOK a little odd now, yet don’t fear; the team is still working on streamlining the design. The future is bright!
Researchers have Noticed that rudeness does more than affect doctors’ moods – it actually impacts performance. This New York Times piece examines the research and highlights that, although many health care professionals may feel immune to rudeness, it does in fact change how they behave and perform. Rudeness creates a negative environment, and it’s important to Notice the energy around us and where various influences come from. To help prevent the negativity, we can look carefully for potential sparks for those behaviors. What sets people off? How is stress playing a role? What pressures can we help alleviate? Rudeness affects our spirit, morale, and behaviors. We need to Notice it before it gets in the way of health and in the way of healing.
Is your brain missing the art appreciation chip? It could be your genes. In this fascinating New York Magazine piece, the author explores a recent study in the Journal of Personality and highlighted in New Scientist that demonstrates how artists and creative people really do see the world differently.
In the study, volunteers took a personality test measuring their levels of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to Experience, as well as a vision test called the “binoculary rivalry” in which each eye takes in a different color and/or image. While most participants reported seeing one color at a time, others saw something else–the two dots merged together into a single, two-colored image. This handful of people also tested very highly on the “openness to new Experience” trait which is closely linked to creativity. The researchers argued that “openness is linked to differences in low-level visual perceptual Experience.” Lead author and psychologist Anna Antinori wrote, “Their brains are able to flexibly engage with less conventional solutions … We believe this is the first empirical evidence that they have different visual Experiences to the average individual.” We may in fact be hard-wired to Notice things differently.
Noticing takes practice. In this most unusual time, there are incredible insights, ideas and innovations we are Noticing emerge in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attention to details large and small, that are worth spotlighting, as businesses do their part to support flattening the curve. LUSH is promoting hand washing guidelines and offering free hand washing stations in their storefronts in the UK. Delta Flight Products shifted its attention from making aircraft interiors to making face shields to support health caregivers and introduced a new chief health officer which is now a permanent position focused on team member wellness. And Zappos is repurposing what it does best—providing exceptional customer service and helping people find answers for anything. It’s inspiring to see so many industries pivoting to do what they can to make the Experience better for everyone.
In this time of COVID, are you Noticing daily details more vividly? Take time to Notice if there are small moments or elements from our day (of which we may have previously been blinded to) that are now more present and in our sights.