What I learnt in lockdown
As a people-focused tech consultancy, Infinity Works actively support and engage in events and meet-ups in the sectors we work in and the disciplines we work across. Attending, presenting and sponsoring regional events has enabled us to meet new people and to engage with the local tech communities around our Leeds, Manchester, London and Edinburgh offices. However, the global pandemic in 2020 limited the opportunity for our community to get together face to face, with many tech meetups switching to an online format or being cancelled altogether.
In response, to recognise the importance of maintaining and nurturing our tech community, we launched ‘Interactions’ – a new quarterly meet-up, focussed on customer experience, design and research.
Our first Interactions event, held last week, featured three speakers, each responding to the challenges of the previous year by reflecting on “What I learnt in lockdown”. Launching the event during a national lockdown required us to host the event online but our expectation is to switch to a physical meet-up format in future (whilst continuing to support online engagement). Three speakers presented aspects of working on design and research projects during the pandemic, conducted in the format of 10-15 minute individual presentations with a joint panel Q&A at the end.
Urska shared her experiences about planning and conducting user research during the pandemic, while on a project for the Department for Education. She described the planning and flexibility required to conduct research sessions during the changing environment, an increased focus on people’s well-being, and the need to consider ‘Covid-19 biases’ – participant responses that seem to be different due to the pandemic context.
Tobias talked through some extra things to consider when conducting user research during the pandemic, describing common challenges whether working on private or public sector projects. He reflected upon how user research inherently involves people – participants having greater social and technology challenges, researchers adapting to new ways of working, and considering how the interaction between both groups can affect research outcomes.
Jack used a wrestling context to illustrate his experience of overcoming difficult situations and conflict during the pandemic, often caused by missing the nuances in communication due to the lack of face-to-face contact. Jack described his discovery and early use of a visual triangular method often used in psychotherapy and business management to help frame and deconstruct conflict scenarios.
We’d like to thank all the speakers for their insightful and engaging talks at this first event, and for all the attendees – new and known – for their engagement. Planning is already underway for the next Interactions event. If you’d be interested in speaking at a future Interactions event, email [email protected].