Why "the compliment sandwich" tastes pretty bad

Contributions to this blog were made by David Pfeffer, UX Designer.

Feedback is crucial to the work we do at Solstice. Being designers, it’s all the more necessary to be able to express our thoughts. Why something is or isn’t working, what about it makes sense and what is a poor design decision. Through years of design training and business acumen we’ve all (read: not just designers) been taught that the best way to deliver feedback is through a method called "the compliment sandwich." The general idea of which is that you deliver positive feedback first, followed by negative, followed again by a positive. While this option may save some face, it typically fails to providing valuable, actionable comments.

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Are the 2015 Chicago Cubs the model organization for corporate culture?

The year was 2003 I was sitting in my dorm room watching the final game of the NLCS and the epic collapse of the Chicago Cubs after the infamous Bartman incident one game earlier. I was devastated, it felt like we had missed the only shot I would live to see at breaking the dreaded curse...there was no hope left. This feeling continued for the next 12 years. Yes we did have a few playoff seasons between then and now, but the team never felt the same. The Cubs became a revolving door for star players out of their prime and guys who didn’t want to play for their manager, the organization and most importantly for each other.

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A UX researcher's perspective on Lean UX

I got into an interesting discussion on LinkedIn the other day on the topic of statistically significant UX Research. If you’ve ever been in a pitch or kickoff meeting with me, you’ve doubtless heard me say that we don’t even attempt to conduct scientific, statistically significant research here at Solstice - we focus on Lean UX Research that allows us to understand general trends, user mental models, unmet needs, and opportunities so that we can apply empathy to our design work. But you’ve probably never heard me explain why statistically significant research is not appropriate for our work.

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4 ways FinTech is changing banking

It is no surprise that the banking industry is changing. The introduction of FinTech is definitely the biggest game changer the financial industry has seen in a long time. Banks are starting to close branches and embrace the digital/mobile world we live in today. Headlines have been highlighting the changes in the banking industry and some of the most thought-provoking quotes from articles include:

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FWD Recap: Machine Learning, AI, and Robotics

With a day all about customer experience and what’s next, we needed to take a moment and ask ourselves, “How do we actually power these connected, contextual experiences?” The answer is machine learning. All of the information that we have at our fingertips and the data that we continue to produce needs to be processed, but humans are too complex for an individual to decode. We need machines to understand and digest what we want and continue to learn so that we always are always offered up an experience that fits us.

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FWD Recap: Innovation Inside the Enterprise

FWD closed out the day on a high note with the section “Innovation Inside the Enterprise.”

It’s easy to attend a conference, get really excited about what’s next and then get back to your office and have no idea where to start first. Or even worse, you get back and there’s no one else that can help you implement your learnings. Our VP of Strategy and Innovation at Solstice, Kelly Manthey, led this last section with some key ways to be an “intrepreneur” for your organization and drive change. She knows first hand how difficult it can be to get an enterprise to move fast, especially compared to the startups that are around us today. We can’t just keep building the same features, the same way, in a new technology. We have to innovate...but how? Kelly focused in on three main “how’s” for those that were in the room:

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FWD Recap: The Future of Digital CX

The energy at Solstice’s FWD Client Symposium could be felt as soon as you walked through the doors. As everyone piled in and grabbed a seat, the first section “The Future of Digital CX” set the precedence for what the audience could expect that day.

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FWD Recap: Connected Experiences and IoT

Wow! Is everyone rested up from FWD last week? What a day! To sum it up, it was a day filled with amazing speakers and takeaways being shared with a audience full of thought leaders across multiple industries.

Here are the top takeaways from the “Connected Experiences and IoT” section:

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FWD Recap: Human-Centered Design

Getting together a product designer, a CIO, and a Director of User Experience to talk about design doesn’t happen often. That's why we were thrilled when they all signed on to talk during the Human-Centered Design segment of our agenda at FWD. Despite their differences in backgrounds and roles, across the board they all agreed - getting the user involved with every decision (whether it’s from watching them or asking them) is key to success. Here’s a look at some of the key points that stood out to us. 

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FWD Recap: Experiential Commerce

We talked about experience in-depth throughout the day at FWD, but one theme where it really came to life was for the future of commerce. As customer expectations change across physical locations, desktop, mobile and even AR/VR, brands need to look at the experience as a whole. The call-to-action was to bring more meaningful experiences to customers that help them engage with you, be inspired to buy, and set the foundation for connecting the different touch points both digitally and physically that your customers have with you as a brand. Experiential commerce is about content curation, personalization, being predictive, and deeply engaging experiences that connect with customers. To break down the section, here are the key takeaways from each speaker.

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