Alexandra West is a production designer, international speaker, and Creative Director of Nerd/Noir. Her present interest is in bringing a visual thinking mindset into the world of collaborative work.
Alex has a long history as a creative. After earning her degree in Art History from Emory University, Alex spent her early career in commercial and nonprofit art galleries. For the past decade, she has worked in film and television production creating a wide variety of onscreen environments. One of her favorite gigs involved creating the offices of hell as production designer for Adult Swim’s cult hit ”Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.”
In addition to working alongside her husband, David Laribee, at Nerd/Noir, she continues to provide design consulting to a diverse set of clients. When not busy curating the beautiful and unusual, Alex can be found eating cheese. All kinds of cheese.
Session: A Visual Thinking Warm-up
Do strong personalities dominate your development team? Are code reviews painful? Are you blindly following orders from a backlog, or are you learning from observation?
Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS, is a cross-disciplinary technique applicable to anyone working in a collaborative setting where observation is key. VTS develops critical thinking skills by viewing and discussing works of art in a group. It is backed by over 30 years of field research showing its effectiveness and accessibility. By allowing individuals to talk about art – without needing a background in the field – VTS advances skills you can use to create more relevant products and stronger teams: Observing, Brainstorming, Speculating, Reasoning with Evidence, Cultivating a Point of View, and Revision & Elaboration.
During this interactive exercise, we’ll discuss selected works of art as a group. There are no right answers or group consensus being sought. We’re creating an environment and process for looking, thinking, reasoning and revision – skills that are mission-critical to anyone working in a software design or development role. After our group discussion, I’ll introduce the basics of image selection and facilitating VTS sessions within your organization. In addition to the above, I’ll cover how VTS can help you and your team with the following: Comfort with Ambiguity, Openness to the Unfamiliar, Civil Debate, and Willingness to Participate in Group Thinking.