I'm back again with Sergio Venegas. Sergio, thanks for joining us. It's a pleasure to be here. Who's influenced you the most in your thinking around sense-making. Are there people that you can point to that influence you right now or that have influenced you in the past? There's a lot of people who I've experienced and I've got to meet throughout this journey. But in particular, Jan Chipchase, he has a book that is called Hidden in Plain Sight, which is this idea of keep pushing harder. The answers are there in front of us, but we need to look for them. We need to open our eyes and our ears to look for them. He's very influential in my thinking. Also Peter Singer, he was doing a work in MIT or run compassionate systems thinking, so being able to actually listen to people not only have interviews or conversations, but listen for deeper insights. He has influenced a lot of my thinking. A fun fact is that I started this journey with a class on Coursera as well onsite thinking. That was my very first introduction to this field of innovation and design thinking and that's where I decided to, "Oh. This is what I wanted to do. I went a period in my career, went on to get my masters on the strategic design. All because of that, the inspirational I got from that class. Jan will be happy to hear that. Well, Sergio, you are a gifted listener. I think that is a skill that is underrated when we think about sense-making because it really is in that active listening and that mindset of being an active listener that we can begin to put ourselves into the shoes of the people that we're trying to serve. So help me understand how you can become a better active listener. That's very critical and important in sense-making and also in understanding the problem. Before I relied a lot on the artifacts and the tools and those are important, but the moment I realized that it was about me going into these conversations, preparing myself to go and talk to people. Before I go into a conversation, taking some time and be like, "What is in my mind, what's holding my attention? What's my relationship with this topic, my personal relationship, my connection to this topic that could bias the way I'm receiving information?" Being able to get that time before talking to somebody else, it's critical. The way to get better at this is just practice and sometimes cut myself not doing active listening where I should have been doing it and be like, Okay, "Now I need to recenter and bring myself back and be okay, this is a moment for me to listen to understand, but not to make sense of it. Just listen to understand what the other person wants, what the other person needs and being able to be ready because it's emotional. The work of listening to other people in any context, is emotional. People will have an emotional reaction to the problem, to their challenge, to the thing we're working on. You have to be ready to handle that in yourself and in others as well. I think that requires so much self-awareness. I think there's a piece of this work that requires a great deal of self-awareness in order to be aware of the emotions of others. What do you think? Yeah. No, definitely. English is my second language, but emotions is my third language. I wasn't equipped with a vocabulary of emotion so I made myself a list and before I go into interviews, I'm able to see what is the list of emotions I should we looking for or trying to listen to? Having those resources next to you, those are very important and critical. At least for me, they give confidence to go into conversation and know that I can be present and be ready to listen and be ready to hear what the other person is trying to say. You've made that vocabulary of emotions available to people on your website as well, so I know that's a resource that people will be able to access. I think that vocabulary of emotions is so important to thinking about the potentially nuanced understanding of someone's existence. I think that will be really valuable for people to explore even further. Tell me more about how you are using this work today and what the challenges that you face in your job on a day-to-day basis trying to work with maybe non designers and designers trying to make sense of the data that you're collecting in your day-to-day job. One of the biggest challenges, and I think this is something that is especially present today because I'm more aware of that. When we talk about the data frames around equity and design or our own biases as we go into these projects and processes. That is very hard because you have to be not only self-aware, but you have to be very critical of your past experiences and your lived experiences what you bring to the table. That's something that's very hard to do, but it's very important because otherwise the process becomes a little bit challenge or it just becomes unclear sometimes when you're not aware of what you're bringing into the table. That's something that is very hard to decide to, going into a project, self-reflecting, being aware of what I bring as a designer, as a researcher, and then being able to put that in the table in front of my team and say, "Hey, this is what I'm bringing to this project and this is where I could be biased towards." Then putting that aside to the research and sense-making, that's very hard to do at this moment. Any advice for people about how to be critical of past experiences and how to do that hard work of self-reflection? Because you're right, that is hard. So any advice, are there resources that you can look to? Yes. Something that has helped me a lot is journaling. Whenever I start a project, I get a blank page and I start putting down my thoughts, my relationships with the project and just putting that in paper, bringing it out to the world, that helps a lot. Then you get to decide what are the pieces of this that I need to tell my team about or that I need to be very aware of as I go in to the process. Making those little practices of journaling or even just taking the time to breath, take the time to just start self reflect and think about how you're showing up to the research, to a workshop, to a meeting. Those little practices or small practices can do a lot of work and can be really helpful. I'm a big fan of journaling. A lot of the research that we did for this book that the course is based on experiencing design, the innovators journey, we use journaling with our students to better understand what their experiences were like. I think it's that space for self-reflection that happens when you put pen to paper and think about what your experience was with the process, what you were feeling, because it's private to you. You're not sharing this with anyone. There's no right or wrong answer. But I think just putting pen to paper and then your mind does the rest, maybe while you're sleeping, that reflection is happening. I think there's a lot of power in journaling. I hope that people will think about that. I as you know, I keep nine journals with my daughter every night. As a parent, I use journaling to help launch her into adulthood, so she's had this practice of self-reflection for a long time and I've seen a difference in her ability to practice resilience and to practice courage and all of these qualities that we wanted to talk about. Well, Sergio, thank you so much. You've given us a really rich picture of what it means to be thoughtful in the sense-making process. I really appreciate you joining us today. Thank you so much. It has been a pleasure.