Camp Digital: Alisan Atvur

By Hilary Stephenson | 15/03/2016

Here we talk to one of this year’s Camp Digital speakers, Alisan Atvur, about what to expect from his session, how psychotherapy practices can be applied to design, and his best advice for UX professionals.

Before moving to Copenhagen, Alisan worked with internationally-recognised companies in healthcare, finance, consumer electronics, and education to create award-winning interactive products and services.

Today, Alisan’s organisation "Atvur" provides pro-bono consulting for socially-responsible organisations.

Alisan Atvur

Senior R&D Researcher at Novo Nordisk

Alisan Atvur

What is your session/presentation about?

My training is in psychotherapy, but my parents are designers so I’ve always been fascinated by that. After many years of working and studying in these areas, I thought it was time to share my thoughts on how these overlap. 

In my session I will be explaining how psychotherapy literature and theories from the past 100 years can be applied to design.

What are the key takeaway points from your presentation?

The timeline of practiced professional counselling, is a little more than 120 years old -although that length can change depending on who you ask. During this time, a number of different theories have appeared, ranging from psychodynamic approaches to systems therapy.

In my session, I’ll teach participants about how this can be applied to their work.

I also have a few surprises in store for the audience - but I won’t share that until I’m on stage!

In your opinion, what has been the biggest industry change in the last year?

Based on the specifics of what you practice, and the part of the world you’re in, this can be very varied.

As I’ve worked with clients from Asia, North America, and Europe, I’ve noticed differences in the way each of them evolve. I have also observed how larger corporations are adopting "innovation practices". Microsoft, Ikea, IBM, GE and many others, have recently opened up new innovation studios and publicised their dedication to design thinking, for example.

What is the next big thing in UX/digital in 2016?

Last year, the Business Review centred an entire issue on design thinking. Admittedly, I think there are a lot of definitions that are unclear, but I’m excited to see the increased popularity of this type of dialogue. I’m also fascinated by the increase in "innovation training". More consultancies are offering training as a service, and I imagine this will only make companies more capable of building competitive creative competencies.

In 2016 I think we will also continue to see more applications and methods for prototyping faster than ever before. I imagine that we will see more tools emerging that can be adopted by individuals who aren’t classically trained in design. I also think that “classic” design training will evolve - but that will occur over time.

Finally, I think we will see more tools that can visualise complex systems with less frustration for the first-time system designer. For example, more customer experience mapping software applications are appearing, and they are becoming more polished and easier to use than many of the expert, user-friendly Adobe programmes. I will always use Adobe applications, and I teach my students with Adobe. However, I will increasingly integrate more tools for non-experts.

What’s your best piece of advice for UX professionals?

Be relentlessly compassionate, and respectfully professional.

In UX it’s important to realise how imperfect people and their creations can be. Our work is intimately connected to the work of many other people, and as a result we need to be sensitive and respectful to that.

What are you looking forward to the most about Camp Digital?

I'm thrilled to learn more about the design scene in Manchester, and I'm excited to see how that design appears within the city!

If you would like to see Alisan's talk head over to the Camp Digital website to buy your tickets.