Community Spotlight (and TDG New Hire!): Erin Lamberty

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Thinking creatively from advertising to education design to yoga.

We were thinking the other day that we do a lot of talking on this newsletter, but the thing that excites us most about The Design Gym isn’t what we’re teaching – it’s what all you bad a%# folks are doing with the stuff you’re learning. It’s incredible.

Since we started, our community has taken this stuff to the NYC Mayor’s Office, the halls of our public schools, the boardrooms of some huge companies, the front lines of non-profit field work, and everywhere in between. Those stories are what it’s really all about, so we’re going to start featuring some of the most inspiring ones in our newsletter to inspire, share, and keep learning.

There was no better place to start than with Erin, because aside from being one of our very first students, she is also the newest member of The Design Gym team! She attended one of our very first Design Thinking Bootcamps over three years ago, and you may have seen her teaching and facilitating Bootcamps in the past two years. Bringing her officially on to the team to lead Community Education programs felt like a natural next step. If you don’t get a chance to celebrate with her at Happy Hour tonight, be sure to give her a high five next time you see her at an event.

We sat down with Erin to get her thoughts on design thinking, why she’s excited to join The Design Gym, and how she applies the design thinking method in her work – and even to her yoga teaching! She also speaks to her experience bringing

How did you first become interested in design thinking?
I was working in advertising, and I noticed a disconnect between what we were creating and what people actually wanted or needed. I started to look for opportunities to learn how to create experiences to better meet customer needs instead of just building what was cool or trendy at the time. That was about four years ago, and the rest is history 🙂

What do you see as the main value of design thinking?
Lately I’ve experienced more value in the process as a mindset for working through end solutions. I know that I will be constantly iterating and improving on what I’m creating so I now ship solutions sooner so that I can test, gather feedback, and then evolve what I’m doing or create something new.

What projects are you kicking off with The Design Gym right now?
I’ll be focusing on our Community Education programs and how we can create the best learning and practice based experiences. I will be working closely with our team of trainers to refine our content, create new materials, and prototype new program formats. I will also be developing systems that help us scale our operations as our programs expand.

What makes you most excited to be a part of The Design Gym team?
I love that The Design Gym is empowering more people with the tools to be designers. Design has traditionally been viewed just as visual, but design is really about understanding a problem and presenting a thoughtful solution, which doesn’t have to be visual at all. The solution might be an experience, or a behavioral change, or a process.

How do you apply design thinking to your yoga teaching?
Design thinking is about understanding people and I do the same in my yoga teaching. Every time I teach a class I come with a rough game plan, but I quickly read the room and energy so that I can guide students through an experience that is appropriate. My class themes each week are also inspired by a variety of sources (aka prompts!) – sometimes anatomy, sometimes poetry, but most times modern day life.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Have your own stories about how you’ve brought design thinking, facilitation, or visual thinking to your team or life? We’re looking for more stories to feature, so just shoot us an email at [email protected] with a brief summary and we’ll reach out if it’s a good fit!

Stay awesome,
THE DESIGN GYM

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Andy Hagerman
[email protected]
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