Our tours of Menlo Innovations' factory floor have now gone virtual. We'll spend 90 minutes together sharing Menlo's history, values, culture and practices - and how we've transitioned to where we are today.


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November 2020 Menlo Bits


Upcoming Virtual Workshop
High Tech Anthropology®: Discovery and Design

Come visit us virtually on November 17th and 18th for an immersive two-day workshop on High-Tech Anthropology®! At Menlo, our mission to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology often starts with understanding our end user and designing the product that will bring them joy.

In this workshop our High-Tech Anthropologists® will share our process and guide you through exercises to put these skills into practice. The new virtual workshop format also highlights specific alterations that can be made to this process for both in-person and remote settings. Expect to leave the workshop knowing how to:

  • Use interview and observation data to unearth the critical and often hidden goals of your users
  • Synthesize findings from the field through workflows and mind maps
  • Use persona mapping with business stakeholders to get consensus on project direction and goals
  • Craft multiple design options geared towards uncovering what would best meet users’ needs and elicit critical user feedback to assess design options
  • Utilize iterative design to create effective designs that delight users

Click here to register for the full workshop! Or attend just one day for either Discovery or Design.


Keep the Joy!
Three Alternatives to the Office Holiday Party

2020 calls for a different kind of office holiday party. Maybe you’re not able to safely gather, or if you can – it’s so different than years past you’d rather not. But you still want to come together and celebrate getting through the year. At Menlo, we believe joy comes from learning and growing together.

Check out three ways we can help you Keep the Joy this holiday season.


Is that really what your customers want?
Distinguishing between customer-centric and product- and service-centric offerings

When explaining what customer-centric decisions look like, Sunil Gupta asks people to reimagine gas stations for the future. The usual suggestions: adding a coffee shop or making stations drop-off points for Amazon boxes. But do these add-on's actually address the customer's primary goal: to conveniently refuel their car?

The gas station of the future, Gupta argues, is one where the gas station doesn't exist. Instead, it is an on-demand gas service that brings the gas to the customer and refills their car for them, without the inconvenience of having to go to a gas station at all. 

Gupta goes over three ways companies can think outside the box to really put their customers first. 

Click here to read more.


The burnout is real and you're not alone
How the pandemic is depleting your 'surge capacity'

At the start of the pandemic Tara Haelle felt fine. Overwhelmed by the changes around her, but also rising to the occasion with the help of her surge capacity. That is, "a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations." The problem is, this pandemic is not a short-term situation and surge capacity needs to be renewed. And when Haelle's surge capacity ran out, her energy level and motivation crashed.

Rather than focus on advice meant for those in the recovery period from trauma and disaster, Haelle looks at how our current situation is an on-going disaster--where the "new normal" is one of indefinite uncertainty. Understanding the on-going and unique nature of our situation means learning how to have more compassion for yourself and identifying the types of activities that can help you renew your surge capacity.

Click here to read more.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by: Greg Mckeown

Recommended by:
Sarah Ball, Software Developer

Do you ever feel like you are making a millimetre of progress in a million directions? You are busy, but not productive. And everything is a top priority. Greg Mckeown's book unpacks the "way of the Essentialist" that focuses not on getting more done. Instead, the mantra is "less, but better."

The way of the essentialist is much like the konmari method, but for your priorities. Instead of identifying what belongings "spark joy", Mckeown asks the reader whether "this activity or effort will make the highest contribution to your goal." If not, say no. Obviously, easier said than done.

Full of advice for how to identify your goals, recognize the vital few tasks among the trivial many, establish your boundaries, protect your time, and capitalize on the tasks that help you most. Essentialism is not just a way to manage your time or be hyperproductive. It is about "living by design, not by default."

Get your own copy here!

Virtual tour update!

When Menlo first went remote back in March we were devastated to have to cancel our upcoming tours and workshops. In June, we ran our first few test flights, small private tours held virtually over Zoom. Since then, things have definitely taken off!

Before going remote, we hosted one public tour a month. Lately, we've been hosting three a week and that's not counting our workshops, private tours, and recently added Taste of High-Tech Anthropology® tour. To date we've now run 7 workshops, hosted 107 tours and had 591 visitors to Virtual Menlo!

One of our favorite things about this change: the broader audience we can reach! Now that tour and workshop attendees don't need to travel to Ann Arbor or locate downtown parking, we regularly have guests join us from around the world. One of our team members recently put together information on what states and countries we've had attendees visit virtually from. So far we are at 43 countries and 30 states!

We're so glad to be working towards our mission to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.

Menlo Bits

The Menlo Bits is Menlo's monthly newsletter, filled with all the latest in science and technology trends as well as what's been happening at Menlo.

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