Happy Path

The world of User Experience, or Human-Computer Interaction as it was called ages ago when I was doing my PhD, is filled with metaphors. Some of them involve travelling. For example the concept of "customer journey map" which is a way to represent how a customer interacts with a device or a service. Another example is "happy path" which is when a user is going through a process in a smooth way without any hiccups.
From Brännö 2016
One who has done a lot of research into how to design digital solutions in such a way that using them makes you happy is Pamela Pavliscak. She combines ethnography, computer science and behavioural science in her job at Change Sciences in New York, and I bet that makes her happy. Her talk last year at the From Business to Buttons 2015 conference in Stockholm is really inspiring, both in content and design. It turns out that in terms of user experience with digital devices, happiness is a combination of pleasure and purpose.

Based on lots of data from questionnaires and interviews, she summarises her findings in the following levelled recommendations for making users really happy: Make sure the usability is working on a basic level. Create trust. Make room for creativity. Build a community. Afford meaningfulness.
From Peter Korn's Garden 2015
A lot of what she says resonates with me, especially since it to some extent touches upon the basics of Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry. But also the work of Tom Peters and his model of customer satisfaction, where he talks about the Lust Hierarchy.

I think I will by her new book when it's released: Designing for Happiness: The User and Business Benefits of Positive Design. I'm sure that it will make me happy by helping me combining pleasure and purpose.
From Madeira 2010


Black and White

The Oystercatcher is one of the most beautiful birds I know. It came as a pleasant surprise to learn that it's the Faroe Islands' national bird that can be seen everywhere.
From Faroe Islands 2016
I suppose the main reason why the Tjaldur is so popular is its role in the Faroese Independence movement. In the beginning of the 19th century, Nólsoyar Páll wrote the poem "Fuglakvæði" (Ballad of the Birds), in which birds of prey symbolise the Danish authorities, and the poet himself warns the smaller birds in the guise of an oystercatcher. Nólsoyar Páll was a jack-of-all-trades: a seaman, trader, poet, farmer and boat builder. A bit like many people at the Faroe Islands today.

In the harbour at Torshavn, there's a statue by Hans Pauli Olsen depicting Nólsoyar Páll. You actually have to view it from different angles to get the whole picture - the birds, Nólsoyar Páll, the sails, the oars, the lookout. A bit like you have to do with an Oystercatcher to understand its full splendour.


Sheep View

I was not surprised to learn about the Sheep View initiative. A group of isolated and sparsely populated islands does not come near the top of the list for the Google Street View project, why it's no wonder the Faroe Islander Durita Dahl Andreassen took to a natural resource: sheep.

The Sheep View 360 lets you see parts of the Faroe Islands even few visitors have seen close up. Sheep here graze on the steep hillsides and jump on the cliffs like chamois. I've been to one of the places mapped so far, Tjørnuvik, and I know how tricky it is to walk there and how stunning the views are.

From Faroe Islands 2016
The #wewantgooglestreetview campaign makes the point that Google has taken Street View cameras all over Europe but never to the Faroe Islands. The initiative has gone viral and been picked up by global media such as The Guardian, Washington Post, Wired UK, The Verge, Gizmag, SvD, and so on. A nice additional PR after the Faroe Islands became the National Geographic Readers' Best Trip Choice in 2015.

From Faroe Islands 2016
The project should not be confused with the GoogleSheepView initiative by Ding and Mike, who tries to spot as many sheep as possible by using Google Street View. I think they would really like to have footage from the Faroe Islands, since they have more sheep than people. Ding and Mike have picked up the story too.

Most of the sheep wondering around the islands are ewes and lambs while the rams are kept in pens until they are needed once a year to do their job. When we visited the small village of Gjógv the farmer gathered the sheep to put on markings on the lambs. Many mothers and children got separated in the process, why the baaing kept echoing through the valley all night long. Gathering the sheep must be hard work though, since the special Faroe breed have very little flocking instinct.

When we wandered about the old Tinganes in Tórshavn, our guide Per pointed out a special shed (hjallur), traditionally used for fermenting sheep meat by letting it hang and dry in the salty wind (skerpikjøt). It turns out that the imported sheep meat from New Zealand doesn't work in this process, why this kind of local dish is very rare and expensive. I'm sure that a lot of sheep talk takes place at Tinganes since this is where the government is located.

What to buy at the Faroe Island if not a sweater. I looked into the famous Gudrun&Gudrun shop (the Sara Lund character in the TV series "The Killing" wore one of their designs) but in the end I bought a felt pullover that I later personalised by adding real fleece and sequins to.

I think that the Faroe Islands is a good place for sheep. Lots of fresh grass all year round, you can go where ever you want, few people and cars, no predators, clean air and water, and not so cold in the winter. However, if you are requested to carry solar panels and a web camera all the time...
From Faroe Islands 2016


Birds of a Feather

Hearing thousands of Torshavn inhabitants cheer for Iceland in the football match against France last Sunday was a special experience. They gathered to watch the game on a big screen just beside our hotel. Despite the loss they left the harbour in an orderly fashion proud and happy for their neighbours' achievements.

When Iceland hit a financial rock bottom a couple of years ago, the Faroe Islands was the first nation/institution to offer a loan. A drop in the ocean perhaps, but still a small foundation for Iceland to build upon at that time. The loan has since then been repaid.
From Faroe Islands 2016
The nations in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean have much in common. The roots in the old Scandinavian/Norse culture and language. The myths like the tragic ones about the Selkies. Being occupied by the UK and the US during the WW2 and at the same time helping them out by smuggling fish, resulting in a great loss of men to storms and U-boats. The reluctance to join the EU due to a perceived (and probably real) threat to their fishing industry.
From Faroe Islands 2016
Despite being part of Denmark, both the Faroe Islands and Greenland are not members of the EU. In fact, I learned from our excellent guide that Greenland was a member but left after a referendum. Thus, there has already been a Grexit.

These coastal areas also share a number of birds such as the almost unbearable cute Atlantic Puffin, the sleek national symbol the Eurasian Oystercatcher, the chubby Fulmar and the Black-legged Kittiwake with its three toes.
From Faroe Islands 2016



I'm not sure I look good in hats, but I like them anyhow. I bought one out of necessity (well, it is very pretty too) when I first visited Australia and realised that you really need a hat there to shield you from the sunshine. It's made of straw and my friend Kerry made the decorations when she was the owner of the Eumundi Country Garden shop. I'm sure you can buy similar ones at the Eumundi Markets.

The next hat was made in Australia although bought in Stockholm when I was living there. This Helen Kaminski hat is warm and soft and made of wool. A really neat thing about it is that you can fold it and put it in the arm of your coat, making sure it doesn't get lost.

I bought a third hat from the hatter Maria Leijonberg in Gothenburg when she still had the shop "Prickig Katt" (The Spotted Cat). Not to everyone's taste, but I think it's a nice, grey spring hat that goes really well with my coats.
A couple of years ago, my Mother and I visited Visingsö. I acquired a blue summer hat there made of thin denim that I decorated with small satin rose buds. Now I wear it all summer, since my hairdresser tells me to stay out of the sun unless I want my white hair to turn yellow.

During a lifetime, we wear different hats. We play different roles, sometimes almost simultaneously. Occasionally we deliberately put on a hat in order to change perspectives. In innovation and entrepreneurship this has been formalised into a very useful exercise: The Six Thinking Hats.

If you are designated the White Hat, you focus on demanding the facts. The Yellow Hat expresses optimism and probes for value and benefit. The devil's advocate is found under The Black Hat whereas wearing the Red Hat requires you to express emotions and feelings. When you wear the Green Hat you focus on possibilities and new ideas and the Blue Hat is responsible for managing the whole thinking process.

I'd like to try this exercise sometime, since I think it makes lots of sense. It makes visible the different modes you need to apply in innovation and business development processes, and also makes you appreciate other's perspectives and traits.

Although strictly speaking not involving a real hat, the Cap Table is another useful exercise when it comes to start-ups. The purpose is to keep track of who owns what including shareholders, option holders, convertible notes and option pools.

I have caps too.