Join us Oct. 7 for a live episode at designFAO
Use DifEdFAO for 10% off:

Felix Lee

The Value of Mentoring
SEASON
1
EPISODE
4
ÔÇó
November 1, 2021
Felix: The best people that I know. That sits on top of their career. Like directors, VPs, like senior VPs, like chief design officers... These people still have their mentors. They still have people that they talk to. And sometimes even people who are more junior than them, they consider their mentor because mentorship is just a matter of perspective, what you can learn from that person. And for me, that has been a deep part of my life...

[Intro music]

Bruno: Hello, and welcome to the Design is for Everyone podcast. A project that every week discusses the role of design in a global context, and how it could become a tool for all, not just the few.

This week, our guest is one of the co-founders of ADPList Felix Lee.

Felix is an engineer student turned designer, that saw that the world needed a better way to help others learn. And so it created a platform for mentoring used by thousands every day.

[Intro music]

Bruno: Okay. So I guess that's it. We're now recording and we can start and hi, Felix.

Felix: Hey Bruno, how are you doing?

Bruno: Fine. Thank you. And how's the weather on the other side of the planet?

Felix: It's good. You know, raining these days, but the weather is pretty chill and it's, it almost feels like summer. It's all year round summer in Singapore.

Bruno: That's okay. That's not a bad thing. I would say... I know very little about Singapore. I have a few colleagues there, but it's cool. Okay. So, welcome to the Design is For Everyone podcast.

As always, I like to start these podcasts with a simple question, which is: tell us a little bit about you and now you entered the world of design, I guess.

Felix: Yeah. For sure. So I started my career in design, about four years, five back, you know. I was previously an engineering student, so... didn't really come from a typical design background, or haven't really been to any formal schools or bootcamps. And I'm self-taught, so everything is, you know, online... everything is quite talking to mentors from around the world. And for me, it was how I learn and grew. So I've been here for about four or five years, transitioning from engineering, and it has been an amazing, amazing journey so far.

Bruno: Well, that's quite an interesting journey for sure. And like... engineering and design are sometimes so paired, side by side. And there are so many people that kind of jump in between one and another, depending on their life journeys. But it's interesting.

So you started as a self-taught designer, so you kind of had to. Figure out a lot of things, right? Where would you find your design learning? How was that? Like, it was easy? It was difficult? How it, has it been for you to be a self-taught designer.

Felix: Yeah, for sure. I think today, you know, there's a lot of self-taught designers globally and I speak a lot of them as a mentor in ADPList, right. And I'm sure a lot of ADPListmentors would agree as well, those resources comes from either, some free resources on Medium, or YouTube, Coursera, or Udemy. There are tons of website, you know, to name them. But I think the main inspiration that I always got was from people and real life experiences. Because when you kind of read, I don't know, like you probably have to just read for one or two weeks, or even just a month or so, you realize, like there is a pattern in the materials, or you write it, like, realize that everything's the same and...

And then you start to go out and talk to people, and you realize that, you know, that real life is pretty much different from what you're looking at. And for me, I would attribute a lot of my learnings from talking to people, talking to mentors around the world. I pride myself on talking about one to two new people, every single week. I think that's how I learn and grow.

Bruno: That's a really, that's a really good way to... I know that I've spent my time in trying to speak with people, learn with new people, digitally and physically, although nowadays I would say digitally is the path. You get less barriers, but you also are a little bit more safe during COVID times.

But I get it. And you mentioned ADPList which is a project that you've founded. So tell us a little bit more about how that became a thing. So you created a platform that helps people like you, that are either self-taught, or learning designers, or people that just need help to grow in design, find mentors. Which is such an incredible goal. I would like to ask how that came to be? What generated ADPList?

Felix: Sure. Thanks for asking that. I'm currently the co-founder and CEO at ADPList, and our mission is to help democratize mentorship, by providing people, you know, we've empowering new acessible and engaging ways to find mentors, and to get mentorship.

Growing up, I grew up in a really humble family where the idea of self-studying and learning from people is very much ingrained in the way that me and my siblings were raised. And ADPList was created out of a need to bring people to support each other. Which then turned into a global mission, a global platform today.

We have over 3000 mentors, from 70 different countries, on the platform providing mentorship.

You know, we live... we live in a world where the power of knowledge is shared in the hands of a few, and those few are people who can, either afford it, or people who can, you know, who have the right connections, right? Or who you know.

And there is a main problem, you know? Because a lot of people can't afford it. A lot of people don't have the right connections. And yeah, that is something that we aim to solve. That problem with accessibility and a true equity in learning. And it's just one part of the whole equation. Right? And the other part is that, people like ourselves, who wants to give back our knowledge and who wants to share our knowledge to people, you know, and the rest of the world. There is no easy place for you to do that.

You go on LinkedIn... all you're providing is just like to people in your own network, but you can't really do that at scale. And so ADPList provides that opportunity for people to come here and sit. I want to provide 30 minutes every week, to meet someone and share my knowledge. Or an hour, you know, it's not a lot. And so, why not right?

And ADPListprovides that avenue for mentors to give back their knowledge across the world, right? And I believe that when knowledge is shared at scale, people everywhere have the chance to learn and especially those who never had the opportunity.

So this is how your ADPList came about. You know, James and I started this last year in April, a simple Excel sheet as a side project. Today it has become our full-time job running it.

Bruno: Yeah, that's, that's amazing. It's a full journey in a year from the Excell spreadsheet to what ADPList is nowadays. It's such an amazing goal, if you look at it. And even seeing the stories of people that have already been helped by this, and... completely in line with what we're talking here, in the way that I believe the Design is For Everyone, and ADPList is giving that mentorship, it's giving that knowledge to everyone. It's such an important part of what I also believe in this project.

So it's really great to see it grow in the scale that it is. And in the way that it is, because it feels like there's a very, welcoming community being creative around ADPList . Which I'm also part of and I got to say, it's interesting to see how people kind of... even the ones that, sometimes, are more apprehensive to find and talk with mentors, enter. Because I think ADPList gives them that open door, right? Like it's... it feels like a safe space for you to grow.

Felix: Exactly. When, when we have people like yourself, you know, I think it's a safe space.

Bruno: Cool. So this is a very specific topic, mentoring and... ADPList came to be this giant, still growing community of mentors and people that share knowledge. But how did mentoring, and mentorship actually became so important to you? Was it part of your journey? You talked a little bit before... how did you kind of ended up focusing so much on this?

Felix: I think one thing that for me, when it comes to mentorship was really the notion of how do we actually grow through people, right? I've always loved the quote that, that says that "you grow by standing on the shoulders of the giants". And for me, throughout my life and at any stage of my career, I think there will always be people who are better than you. Right? Whether you be in the skills that you're in or be in the adjacent career. I always feel like there's something that you could learn and grow from.

And for me, you know, Mentorship has been a deep part of my life ever since I was a child. I've met great coaches when I was young. It played a lot of sports, music... and for me, these are people who are like my mentors, who taught me skills beyond just what I was learning. But truly life skills. And for me, Mentorship is just another word for perspective. From someone who is either in a different place than you or in a higher position. And I think a lot of people think like Mentorship is something that you get when you're junior. But no!

Like, the best people that I know. That sits on top of their career. Like directors, VPs, like senior VPs, like chief design officers... These people still have their mentors. They still have people that they talk to. And sometimes even people who are more junior than them, they consider their mentor because mentorship is just a matter of perspective, what you can learn from that person. And for me, that has been a deep part of my life... I almost consider people that I, that I continuously learn from my mentors. And, you know, even though there's no officially asking, like: "Hey, could you be my mentor?" Because if we asked someone to be a mentor it's kind of weird.

But it's just a relationship, you just kind of get into it, just talk about things and, for me, that is really really important for my growth. So that's how mentorship became so important for me, because it has really helped me to be the way that I am today.

Bruno: No, that's a great way to see it. And even the fact that mentorship is not just for juniors. I defend that. Although, I would say that I entered the world of, whatever has to do with mentorship very late. I studied design, but I also am a little bit of self-taught in a lot of fields, and I was always this guy that wanted to do everything by himself. And for a while, I'm pretty sure that that just hampered my career, hampered my goals. And even not just career. Let's put it like this: it hampered the way that I actually build things.

And it wasn't that great. And thinking of, how now speaking with so many people, trying to figure out what I can get out of this conversation has become key part of me developing my career. So I can see the value in mentoring, but I also love to see how other people, like you, have come to it. And the quotes you just said from the giants it's completely true.

Like, even... and this is my personal experience. I'm on Twitter. A lot. Since like two, or three years ago. And I developed a community of people around me that... I would say many of them act for me as like mentor type of things. They are people that I admire, that I liked what they preach, I learn from what they say.

And it's interesting, all of that changes the way that you build yourself in a sense. You included, cause I follow you in a and I started following ADPList because that's the thing, like. I love the mission. I think the mission is pretty valuable. And it's interesting to see how it is that all this works and all this thing works.

And. Continuing on this topic, and on talking with people, and creating these networks. All of this ends up being part of a major topic, which is community and the involvement of people. What relevance do communities have in your path and in this thing? Cause, I know that mentorship is a very much one-to-one type of conversation. While communities usually are one to many or many to one, which is also interesting. And I feel like ADPList sits in this... in this balance between these two universes and the mentorship system there it's a little bit like that. But I would love to know. Like your thoughts around how do communities fit this space?

Felix: Yeah, for sure. So I think one thing that you think about, in terms of mentorship and communities that... 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, it might not have made sense. But today I think what we're trying to create it's more than just a platform for mentorship, because I think that for me, the power of people has always been about creating somewhere where they can belong. Where you can feel like, you know, regardless of who I am and what I do, there's a bunch of people here who I'm willing to talk to. And I think this what ADPList has done incredibly well.

A lot of people have asked me: "Hey, look. What mADPList List so different? Because it's just so different and, you know, look, you guys have a great platform, great user experience, stuff like that. All right, but besides that what is the exact thing that makes you go so different?" And I always goes back to one thing and it's so hard to quantify to all the business people and what not, because these people are just all about numbers, you know? But when I tell them: "See. It's the community". And they would come back to me and say, "what do you mean by that?" And I'd say "you know, what's so different about ADPList is the fact that the people inside they help each other. They don't feel like this is a product, like they're part of a product or anything. They feel like they're part of something bigger. Every single session, they feel like they are getting inspired. There's magical conversations that they have. They meet amazing people around the world. It's a community of conversations."

And, and you know, this is what we fundamentally believe at ADPList . And if would share with you my manifesto... which I actually wrote a couple of weeks ago.

"We imagine a world where ideas are accessible. We exist to bring out the best in people, by building an open community. Where every conversation is a new found perspective. Where every person, a new dream. And people can progress forward by sharing. And that is the magic of ADPList."

And there is our manifesto, you see. And for us, the word community is so strong because this isn't just a platform. It's a place where you can openly have a conversation. And we almost feel the responsibility to build a community around the platform to make it a lot more interactive, engaging and have a sense of belonging. That's the most important part.

Bruno: That's an interesting way to put it. And you believe that these are communities that have less boundaries? Have more boundaries, because they want to be as inclusive as they can? Cause I know that there is a lot of conversations around creating safe spaces. And a lot of the communities that I'm part of, are safe spaces.

But at the end of the day: What do you think that means? What is a safe space? For those...

Felix: I think a safe space is where people can come here. Be themselves. Show vulnerability. You know, and optimally seek to improve. Right. I think. The keyword here is showing vulnerability. In the name of. Right? I think a lot of people kind of think that, showing vulnerability means that you have to show a weakness. No, vulnerability does not mean weakness, vulnerability is just another word for being incredibly open about what you're facing. And when you think about the notion of ADPList... why it's so valuable is because people come here with a mindset of vulnerability, from the very first day. Right?

Someone who needs advice in their career. Someone who needs advice in their job, you know? They come here because of said vulnerability and they are already taking the first step when they push that book button. And I think that's the magical part about ADPList that people don't see, but, you know, people are starting to see in fact.

And... as a co-founder I see this every single day, is that when someone pushed it, back then, and it goes to get a sort of a mentor, to accept or decline... it is a push of confidence, first of all, and it is a push of confidence that, say that I have the confidence in you to show you my vulnerability, and to be inspired by. Right? And I think... that is a magical thing about ADPList.

Is that when you push a button, there's so much emotion, so much meaning behind it. Because someone is coming to you with an entirely new conversation. And that is what I'm so excited about every single week. Because I do my mentorship every single weekend, right? I know that deeper meaning behind it. And I just kind of wish that more people know about it.

Bruno: No, but the word vulnerability is one that people don't use too much. Like, I would say that whenever you went through the job market, people always go and see job ads that ask, like for people that are resourceful, that are fast, that are... decisive. But there's lack of the openness to some of these things where it's like, if someone is open enough to learn, they usually don't use words like these. Vulnerability always feels like something that it's a bad thing for a business and for a person. But I would say it's, it's actually a really good word when we need to start talking about what we can do was individuals.

And, sidelining a little bit on this. Thinking about this vulnerability and the space that mentorship allows to. My project here, it talks about our anyone can enter the world of design. And do you feel like, having that space for that vulnerability in the mentorship process, or in communities nowadays, has been welcoming more people that are non-designers, that are turning into designers, or that are wanting to join the design world. Have you seen that? Have you mentored people like that? What do you think?

Felix: I mentor people like that, and I meet people of all different backgrounds every single day. In fact, I can get these DMS, and messages, and emails... quite openly. And you would know, you know, everyone who signs up to ADPList has my email. I email every single people on ADPList that joins, and I tell them: "Hey look, I'm here to support. Let me know if there's anything I can help." And, you know, I've seen so many people, I mean, from different background. So to the question of: It's the community, welcoming people like that? I will say a hundred percent. Yes. Right?

I think there's a lot of talks about, how people are discouraging someone to go into design or. You know, like, saying that maybe this is not for you and what not. I think, there is a fair share of such comments, a hundred percent. But I think overall is the community supportive? The answer is yes.

I think you see great content putting out there for juniors. You see a lot of amazing mentors advocating for this juniors, and saying: "Hey! We need to hire more juniors in our companies. Now we need more perspective and what not." People are pushing it, right? And I think ADPList has the responsibility to be at a forefront of that and say: "how can we help these people, in this companies further the movement."

We have a lot of mentors. We have a lot of mentees around the world. And, you know, in a few years time, hopefully millions of mentees on the platform, with all the mentors around the world. And then how do we push this movement? Right? And it's not just for designers, but really across any different industry that ADPList might be in, in the future. It's like, you know, how do we then encourage people who are going into these industries? Like design, without relevant background, but still feel welcome and supported. You know?

I think that is still a very big question, but overall, I feel like we are all in the right step. We are all positively stepping forward to a world where people are more welcoming and supportive of diverse backgrounds and whatnot.

Bruno: Cool. Yeah. Makes perfect sense. And I'm glad that we can talk about a space that exists for people like this. The interactions that I've been having in the last few years with people that joined design, and change career paths, a little bit more like yourself, but even other people with, I don't know. I think the number of psychologists, and sociologists, and people that went from social sciences into UX in the last 10 years has grown exponentially. And seeing that type of learnings, and capabilities entering the world of design, and making it more about the people, and more... humane in such a way.

Because the fact is, when these people come in, they come in with the skillset that allows them not to just be user researchers, but to be better listeners, to be better and more active participants of the design process. Right? And it's interesting to see how communities that are open to receive them also speed up that process. How these people, now are part of what we as an industry are. Which I kind of feel it's great. And sometimes I wish I had some of their, knowledge too.

I'm kind of classically trained. I went through like, I studied multimedia design, but most of my training is on graphic designer, the basic of basics. And nowadays I get much more value into the work that I do, because I've worked with people that have different types of backgrounds. Or, I learned from a lot of people online. And even the other day I was, I was reading about people that kind of been learning design by themselves, and the way that that changes the way that their designs look at the end of the day. The influence that fashion and trends have on those people's as creatives, which is interesting. And see that this actually creates a different design, I would say. Like. If not, we're not all coming out at the same factory. I would say that things start getting interesting. And that, that seems fun.

[Ad]

So we've been talking for a bit now and you already heard all about ADPList, but for those of you less atentful to it, let's just resume real quick what it's all about.

ADPList is a project that believes that mentorship should be accessible for all.

They're a global community based on making genuine connections. a platform where people can find, book and meet mentors around the world, and with the goal to foster an inclusive space and support network for designers, product managers, and engineers to come together, learn from each other, and strive to be better!

Head now to adplist.org and you can find a mentor or apply to become one and be part of this incredible community.

Well, now back to the episode.

[End of Ad]

Bruno: Okay. Continuing here, but probably moving a little bit on to a wider topic. More on what Design is for Everyone is all about. I would actually like to ask you the question, which is like... someone that has been working on design, although you have a more complete background because you are also, you came from computer science. But now that you've been in this world, for like four or five years, do you think that learning about design, practicing, design has changed the way that you see the world and the you see things around you? How you interact with them. How is that for you?

Felix: Yeah. You know, I think design has really changed the way that I think about the world and the way that I look at the world to be honest. You know, when I was a student in school, I heard there was this lecturer of mine, a professor. And his name is called Roger right? Now, Roger is incredibly inspiring because he taught us that with the right perspective in life, and on the world, you could do quite frankly, whatever you want and however you want it to be. And I come to believe in that. You know? I come to believe in the notion that things that are created around you are by people no smarter than you.

And design has enable me to see that in a whole new perspective. To understand that design is about intentions, right? Design is about understanding the intention behind certain things. Right? And the experience that it fits in the world.

Design is in fact quite synonymous to the way that we live, and the things that we use, things that we speak and see. And for me it's like all five, six senses you know? Trying to live that experience, and for me as a designer... I mean just looking at things around me, day-to-day. You kind of view things from a perspective where it's like, how can we do that differently? How is this so good? And, you know, sometimes when something is just so good, you just go inside and be like: how is this experience so good?

You know, every month, at the end of the month I would take a trip downtown, right? From my house, and I would spend like the night there. And what happened is that every single time I would go to the Apple store, at downtown. And there's this amazing Apple store in Singapore. Where it is floating in the middle of this... river. So it's like a circle, it's one of the most unique Apple stores in the world.

And, you know, when I go in there, I just go there and... I don't go with anyone. And I just observe. And I just sit down and, you know, observe the service, observe the design, observe the team. The moment you walk in. You know, the temperature, the alignment of the tables, the phones... why they did it way, and instead of wonder, like, you know, is there a difference between maybe putting the genius bar first, and then there is still the iPhones data. What is the difference in experience? How are the people greeting you? Every single little detail? I love about it.

And, and for me, sometimes I just walk in there and say: how is it so good? Right? And then you try to decipher it. You know, with design thinking and then the things that you learn. How is it so good? What, if I change this, would it be better? Right? Or what if like, you know, things like that and, you know... and I started to observe a lot of things. And I, sometimes I even asked them, I said, look, tell me something about this store that I don't already know about. And I love asking that questions to people that work at the Apple store. Because I'm just curious, like... tell me something that I don't know about this store that is maybe like good or whatever. Right?

And is just simply quite profound, you know. The way that they designed it. And one thing that I noticed as well, and I'm not sure if anyone noticed this, because it's so good. It's so invisible.

In an Apple store is that you realize that Apple store has something... no, Apple store doesn't have something that every store has. What do you think it is? They didn't have something like, this is a very, very key part of any small, but they don't have it.

Bruno: I'm gonna, I'm gonna say that I'm the worst there to say that because I've been to a couple of Apple stores in my life, but we don't have Apple stores in Portugal because, for some reason they are not licensed in Portugal. No worries. We have Apple resellers, they kind of work like Apple stores, they look a lot like Apple stores, probably not as well-built, but yeah, but what would that be?

Felix: They don't have a counter. They don't have a counter for you to check out your items. People don't talk about this enough. People don't observe this enough. But I can tell you that they don't have a counter for check-ins, or checkouts, or whatever you call it. You don't have counter because the counter is with the person who serve you. It's just right in their pocket. When you want to buy, when you wanna exchange something, whenever... it's in the pocket. When you want to print a receipt, they just print it right under the table for you. That is how good the experience is and thought to the ground. It's that, it is so seamless, so good, you don't even have to move to a place to check out. I don't have to wait. To do anything. And you see, when you think about design, we started thinking from a very different perspective that.

Wow. Apple is really very good. And they deserve where they are today because it is so well thought out. And when you look at multiple brands, you know, I think there's very few brands like Apple who really, really go deep and down to understand that kind of experience. And I think that is for me, you know, that's the true essence of it.

Bruno: Yeah. No, but it's great too. I was listening to you, as you were talking about entering the store, and my first reaction was he's in reverse... instead of say reverse engineering the store, he's reverse designing the store. He is looking at things, and trying to figure out how they were tought of. Which I think many of us have done in our lives. Either consciously or unconsciously.

But the way that you talk about the experience at Apple stores. And some other great brands nowadays. Where design feels the most, is where usually it is invisible. And you talking about the no counters makes perfect sense. Like, if you don't even notice that there are no counters for you to do a checkout, because the store is constructed so that the person is serving you, is the checkout. That it's well-designed. They achieve the goal, which is. It's seamless. It's not creating any type of problem for you there. So, that's amazing. For sure. And I love...

Felix: And that is how design has changed my perspectiveof the world.

Bruno: Yeah, and I am one of those guys who is a sucker for invisible design, artifacts like, things that happened in the world, that you never thought about, like why has this been designed or not? And whatever comes out of that. Like even little paradigms and, and design problems like the classic Norman door. The fact that we need to talk about how a door opens if it's pushing, or pulling the door and what's not. Makes you see the world in a completely different way And I don't know. Listening to you talk about how you enter a store, and you will look at everything and analyze it. At least I don't feel myself alone, because I do that a lot too. But I complain a lot about store layouts, especially supermarkets.

Believe me. Because like I'm the guy that wants to pack my groceries very well. And I want the heavy things to go on the bottom. But most of the heavy things that I get are always the last ones, because those are the ones at the end of the supermarket flows in most supermarkets here in Portugal.

I get you on that.

That that type of details always gets me, but it's interesting. Yeah. I think. For me design changed a lot on how I see the world, but actually I think when I started getting a little bit more of a definition of what design was, that I felt like I was already doing it, but I had a way to describe it. You know exactly. But it's interesting. It's interesting to also hear other people's perspectives.

And. I guess... aside from that point. The last thing that I have to talk about, but we can go on and talk about other things if you feel like it, it's really just about the topic of this. I think we already talk about it a little bit when we talked about mentoring and the opening of the space, but my question is always the same. Do you believe that Design is for Everyone? Yes or no? And in what sense do you believe that, or not?

Felix: I think this is a sensitive question.

Bruno: Yeah, it is. I know, I know, but again.

Felix: I think.... okay. I'll decipher this question. Design thinking is for everyone. And I fundamentally believe that everyone should learn, and should understand design thinking. But design as an expertise, and expertise is... you know, some people are born analytical. That's why there are people born good at math. Some people are born artistic. That's why there are people good at visuals. Right? Some people are good at what's, you know, good at literature, good at writing, that's why they are writers. And it's a very human being kind of thing, that we are all talented at a different sense. We all have different expertise and talents.

And so, you know, design thinking has to be learnt. Because design thinking is a way of solving problem, is a way we are looking at a problem. I think that goes to everyone, working on solving and understanding problems, right? Where as design as an expertise is not for everyone. Right? There could be things that are better suited for you based on your skill set, and that is what I see. You know, I think there are some people who are really... which is why, you know, there's a lot of designers that are so design-y, some of them. And I'm like, "oh my God, you're so good at research." Right? Like he, or she is really good at researching. And I will say that, "why not even, take a crack at it, right? You're definitely good in the research as an expertise. And see how that goes." And eventually they end up doing really, really well. Because you could see the strength is somewhere. Right?

And I think, as a mentor, as a friend, as a leader, your role is to guide someone to where they are today. Right? And I think some people just want to think that, but, you know, differently and say like, "oh, you're just discouraging them from chasing their dreams." We are not. No, you're not. In fact, you're helping them to find where they're really good at and what their passionate at. Right? Because if you would have been understanding the model of Ikigai wishes... You know, Ikigai is a model to what's happiness and doing something sustainable. That is absolutely necessary.

First, you've got to be passionate about it. Second, you have to be good at it. And then you have to make money out of it. Right? But what they do not understand is the Ikigai model. You know, they just don't simply understand that. Right? By trying doing something that you are not good at doing and whatnot. And then do that for years. Right? Whatever, then will become your passion, you will fail to have it, because you're just not making progress on that.

But as a friend, as a mentor, and leader, I think we should, we should understand where someone's strengths are and put them in the position to succeed. Because what you're good at, you achieve the results. Eventually you're happy. Eventually, you know, those could eventually drive passion and this is what we see. And sometimes the results for someone, they'd be like: "oh, I'm really good at this. I want to go in more." Right? I think that it happens to so many people, every one in their life has that moment they realise that: "well, I'm really good at that. I want to do that a little bit more."

And I think it's that, as we go through our careers and our life, I think it is to help us, the people around us and ourselves to find it. When we say: you know, I'm really good ate Design. So design isn't for everyone, but design thinking is for everyone.

Bruno: I love how you put that. I get how people still use that.

I disagree that design is not for everyone. And I keep saying this because I think the problem is most people see designers, the profession and as being a professional designer, and I don't see it as that. And that's part of the conversations that I want to have here. Like, the way that you've said, like design thinking. Yes. The frameworks around design thinking and everything built with, the Kellys and IDEO has been preaching for years. That makes perfect sense. You know, like I love the way that design thinking opens the door to the professional way you use design in your day to day solutions and even in businesses and what's not. Yes. Although I do believe that even things like communicating better, could be improved by having design as something that you learn instead of sometimes Arts or something like that?

Not that I don't believe that art is a good thing to learn. I believe that design is a framework between art and science that helps you ease into either the art world or the science world when it comes to how you use design. Much like, let's say, even reading and speaking a language, but teaching people to learn how to read them, to writing the language. That's now a thing. 50 years ago, like 50% of the population of the world only knew out of speak language, not to write it or read it. And that changed a lot the way that people interacted with information.

If you look at the way that we use the internet right now. And even the fact that we're doing this and right now talking with you, in English, which is not my native language. And I talk with a lot of people around the world in English. And it kind of open boundaries for me in that sentence. It's because writing, and speaking, and reading in different languages, even your native one is something that became a thing.

Same with learning basic education on school. But the same as other technologies and things that have become more accessible, like.... on the original talks that I did, to start this project, I talked about how, for example, photography, becomes something that like anyone can do because we decided to put a camera in everyone's pockets, and now everyone can kind of explore the use of image and/or recording images and creating images. While 20 years ago, that wasn't a thing.

The same with code. Because the fact is, we decided that, if you know how to write and you know how to read, then you can probably also know how to write and read instructions to create things. But I also feel like jumping from: you know how to write and to read, and you know how to think, and you know how to build things and you know how to logically create things, jumps the middle step, which is design for me. Which is: give them intention, as you said before. Right? And that's what I feel like design should be for everyone, you know?

Think about it as if in school you had like an intro to design, and you learned the basics of problem solving, a little bit of graphic design... and that's essentially like, a standard kit for anyone in the planet. For starters, we would start starting having a better communications and clearer communications, and again, if you're, if you don't think this is correct, stop me at any moment. I just love...

Felix: I think like, you know. One thing is for sure, I think like what, where you're saying, it's like, you know, Design as a career, that's what people always think about. You know, like when I think about design it is always get career. Like what you said, you know, it's really a, sort of a way of thinking in a way of methodology, a framework.

And I think, back to the point, I think, you know, We are defining it at the same category, but maybe just in a different sense, right? Like, you know, we don't believe that it should be everyone's career, right? Like that's, that's not something that we know everyone. But everyone should learn and understand design. Because it's just an important framework to solve problems, to look at the world. And I think that's, that's very interesting.

Bruno: Yeah. And it's the way that the world is creative. On the last episode I recorded, with this guy called Matt McGillvray, he was saying that like, think about if design didn't exist in the way that we create the world. If we did things, but we didn't thought about them and designed them to work in a certain way. A road without road signs would be a mess. But what would be a road without design yet? Like if you didn't design the road signs, that's already a problem. But what if you didn't designed the roads? What if you try to just take people from point A to point B and didn't think about, and consider things like, is it going too steep? Are you going through something that you shouldn't go? Uh, is it dangerous? Is it not?

So, that intentionality of things, that I know... I think it's inherited to human race. Like we try to give meaning to things, we sometimes overthink about it. Like one of my favorite TikTok accounts in the world is a guy that just does useless inventions. They are useful, but they are useless because like, you don't really need those, but you do. So he designed them on purpose, to supposedly facilitate, but they get to the point where it's something that you could do easily by just picking them up by hand or something. .But the fact that he's thinking about it, for me, it's already such a major improvement. Like...

Felix: Oh yeah. A hundred percent.

Bruno: That idea of changing how you do things, that feels very, very much in the essence of design for me. Another topic, from a conversation that I was having, a couple of days ago, was how countries in Africa, for example, where they have less access to education, you can see them use things that wewould consider part of the design framework, to reinvent how they build things. And, and it's interesting because, they don't have the same training as we do, most likely. Because the fact is. Africa as a continent that has lost access to information along the years because of history and all the things about it. The continent in terms of the abuse of people and everything.

But they reinvented themselves, and there are nations growing, that are creating solutions. And for me, that's still design. Thinking about how to create low budget housing, because they don't have resources. That's still design. There's part of it that it's design, there are other parts that are other sciences that are other there politic things. There's a lot of there, but.

Seeing design outside the boundaries of what we still consider design, especially when we are in the tech world. Which the moment you enter tech world, all of a sudden design is literally this like a box. You get closed up, like, you're designing for screens, you're designing experiences. No, there's so much more around that. But we still do need other perspectives. And that's why I'm so eager. And so passionate about saying that this should be for everyone, and everyone should have the possibility, right?

Felix: Yeah, a hundred percent. I think it's a spot on, I believe on that.

Bruno: So I guess that's, it. That's the end of the conversation. That's the end of the day. But look Felix, I just want to thank you. Not just about the podcast, but all of the... about everything else about the project that you've been handling, about the way that ADPList has actually been helping people. Thank you for accepting the invitation. Of course. But most of all, thank you for, for the hard work that you've been putting out there. That for me, at least, it feels like you're helping my cause do in your way by doing yours. So I'm happy about it. Great.

I love that you have a perspective that it's a slightly different one from mine, because that's what I want. I'm still trying to figure out someone that really doesn't believe in what I believe. Like fully, But. I want to have one of those in the podcast one day. I hope to have them, but yeah.

Felix: What you will have, you'll have. Thank you so much for having me. And also thank you so much for being part of the community. Like you inspire me more than, you know, you can ever think of. And I always thought I had mentors and people that I meet, because ADPList is only as good as the people around it. So I want to thank you for that and continue to be working with you, possibly in the coming years and whatnot. And you know, once the episode is out, I'm going to share it on my Twitter, and what not.

Bruno: Thank you for that. Yeah. Okay. Well then thank you, Felix. Thank you, everyone that has been listening and see you all next week. Bye.

Felix: Thank you.


Help me build this project

I would love to keep up with this project for as long as I can, and for that I need to make sure it doesn't become cost preventive. So, to be as clear as one can be, here you can find all the costs for maintaining this project for a year. If you want, and only if you can, do support it and buy me a coffee or become a podcast subscriber.

Icon for Buy me a Coffee website

Follow us on social

Email, but only if important