Read one of Joyce Hostyn's columns and you will be covered for reading material for a month. Joyce brings the fruits of her prodigious reading habits to every column she writes, opening up the conversation about customer experience to a bigger conversation about the potential of businesses to be human.
Who are you — in a 140-character tweet? I study, teach & strive to inspire people to think differently about how to design beautiful people-centric organizations as forces of positive change
What attracted you to your field — and what still excites you about it? Twenty years ago I moved to a tiny city (population 120,000) which meant I had to get creative about job hunting. Despite no background in high tech I convinced a small software company that my experience translating government gobbledygook for normal people was a perfect background for a technical writer. Frustrated trying to explain concepts that I thought could be easy to document if only they were designed differently, I became a champion for the user and eventually created a new role for myself as a designer. My fascination with the power of a people-centric approach has increased over the years. I devour books on psychology, the brain, change, design, change, storytelling, business, behavioral economics, leadership and most recently philosophy.
What’s your proudest accomplishment of 2013? Seeing my kids discover a passion. My son, an incredible polymath, struggled for the past couple of years after deciding computer science wasn't the right field for him. A passion for learning (which he fueled through the internet, not school) led to his decision to become a high school teacher and reinvent the way high school is taught. My daughter, who’s extremely shy, has emerged from her shell to make a name for herself as a pro gamer, a profession I didn’t even know existed two years ago.
What’s your goal, personal or professional, for 2014? Despite being an active blogger and despite my participation in social networks like Twitter, SlidesShare, Pinterest and LinkedIn my kids still consider me to be internet illiterate. And I confess that I still struggle with the art of conversation and community building. So my goal in 2014 is to take the next step towards true digital literacy — growing conversation, collaboration and co-creation through social channels.
What's an important story you will be tracking in 2014? Can organizations be beautiful? I believe that our narratives shape our world. And that in 2014 we’ll see a shift towards a more human-centric narrative of business which embraces concepts such as beauty, love and meaning. The new narrative of business will include a model for transformation rooted in story based strategies – opening up rich narrative spaces in which employees and customers are the protagonists.
What’s the one New Year resolution you always make — and always break? I usually make my New Year’s resolution in September, probably because I’m a closet academic. The resolution I’ve repeatedly made and always broken is learning to draw. I took a 10 day drawing bootcamp a few years ago and my progress was incredible. But I didn’t stick with it. So this year to help me stick to my New Year’s resolution, I’ll make a public commitment to include a sketch in each of my blog posts.
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