The 3 core elements of meaningful work - Dan Szuc

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This was an incredibly engaging, inspiring and...well, meaningful session.  Huge thanks to Dan for giving up so much of his time, particularly the day before running a workshop @ UXNZ.  Here are Dan's slides.  And some notes to be inspired and help make sense of it all :) 

The feeling of “yay”

Dan talked about how he loves to get out of the building.

Sometime we need to go outside of the organisational bubble to understand, gather “staff”  (information) and the come back and make sense of these “staff”.

Bring some form of evidence.

Because sometime we are thinking from our personal bubble and start solutionizing.

We need more intersection between different disciplines.

“People are talking across purposes”

What role do we need to play, independent of our role, to effectively facilitate these discussions to get to more meaningful discussions?

The feeling of “stuck”

“We can’t constantly go quickly delivering”

We can’t go fast all the time. 5 years ago I felt stuck, we went on a holiday to China, took a step back to be able to look with fresh eyes.

The practice:

“It’s not the tools and processes, it’s about the practice”

When you back to work with practice lens, take the practices, pick 5 you’re strong at as a team, investigate where did you insert them in your structure of work?

Where are we weak and what makes us sleep walk?

What do you do to keep yourself fresh?

Big part of it is continuous learning.

  1. Character - you, the team, and the organisation.

  2. Perspectives - to see enough dots to connect the right dots.

  3. Understand the meaning

  4. Impact

Exercise - Barriers:

What barriers do we have to see the larger perspective in work?

  • MVP

  • Time

  • Not being brought to the table in a large organisation - understanding and sense making.

Recognise: What are the challenges at work, how do we move from sleep walking? What practices can we use to understand & make sense of it to make “sparkle”?

You can do something about it - break it down to parts, make a plan, and talk about it.

“What is actually happening that creates this behaviour?”

Common language - it is co-created together.


Key reflections - Perspectives:

How do we uncover the dots and put it out there on the wall? The values of individuals, how we make impact as individuals. Will bring the healing of the collective.


Exercise - Character card:

Draw yourself with your strengths and what moves you (your heart).

Key reflections of the character - where are my assumptions are getting in my way in creating biases about other people?

To be more intentional, try understand the people you work with - empathy to other people in the team.

Nothing will work, if we don’t have trust. Trust comes from practice.

Learning, reading, excited about work. Good driver, telling to other people, good space.

The enjoyment of learning.

If we want to design successful projects, what space do we give for learning? We know continuous learning need to be part of work. We can’t always just work.

Key reflections - Impact.

Roll + Direction - Get clarity on it or it won’t sustain.

Give ownership to people. To build that momentum towards the greater intention.

Practice plan:

What are the practices that you as a character have, strengths, deficiencies, what do you need to practice?

Leonardo da vinci : “Creativity requires time and patients” When you do the least, you have more time to think. Einstein used music (played violin) when got stuck, this was his practice to solve the problem by not thinking about the problem.

Exercise - Deeper understanding:

If we want to form a business case, how do we gain a deeper understanding about the customer?

  1. One on one interviews

  2. Big research questions - what is the information we’re trying to find out?

  3. Experiments - trying to understand how users interact, testing our assumptions. Continuous learning.

How do we foster that learning?

“Listening, observing, reflecting…”

Look in similarities within disciplines.


Rhythms of the week, find one hour every week for the team to practice.

Find which practice are you lacking in the team and work on it.

Mind = perspectives

Heart = meaning

Body = impact.



Exercise - what moves you?
Answers from attendees:

  • Positive feedback
    And honest feedback from people we trust in the spirit of continuous learning.

  • Perspectives - interactions with family, seeing someone excited.

“Make meaningful work” is about wellness but not about happiness.

We first need to understand our value set. Sleepwalking happens when something comes into a conflict with our value set.


UX MeetupBen BriggsComment