Adam Connor

VP Design Transformation, Author & Illustrator


Adam Connor

About Adam Connor

Adam's work focuses on helping teams and organisations build their own human-centered design and innovation capabilities. As Mad*Pow's VP of Design Transformation, Adam and his team turn the design process inward to help organisations assess, strengthen and scale their design skills and practices. Taking an approach built on HCD, anthropology, and organisational behaviour, they work to create positive change by addressing the relationships that people have with one another to foster more collaborative, creative and customer-centric organisations.

He has coached and trained teams across the world and from industry leading organisations such as Google, Disney, Fidelity, and Aetna. In 2015 he and co-author Aaron Irizarry released Discussing Design: Improving Communication & Collaboration Through Critique with O’Reilly Publishing. His thoughts on collaboration and design can be found at and


Building Character: Creating Unique, Consistent Experiences With Design Principles

Inconsistency is one of the most common points of breakdown and frustration in the interactions and experiences we have. Whether we’re interacting with other people, applications, our bank, our doctor, our government, anyone—we form expectations of what someone or something will do based on our previous experiences and their past behaviors. When something happens that doesn’t measure up to those expectations–that seems out of character–we’re caught off guard. What do we do next? What should we expect now?

Conversations about consistency in design often focus on topics like content and interface design, ensuring that we use the same labels, controls, patterns throughout our creations. But what if we thought about  consistency in the relationship between users and our products or services?
Principles act as rules that guide how we think and act. Formed by our motivations, values and beliefs, we use them as “lenses” through which we examine information in order to make decisions on what to do. And because of their persistent influence on our behavior, they influence other’s views and expectations of us. Using these same kinds of constructs throughout the design process we can design unique content, valuable  interactions and consistent behaviors that set and live up to expectations for our audiences.


Discussing Design Without Losing Your Mind (or Give and Get Better Feedback Through Critique)

Our ability to critique speaks directly to the quality of the conversations and collaboration we have with our teammates, whether they be designers, developers, or stakeholders. The ideas and designs we have for the services, products, and websites we’re creating depend on this feedback. But these conversations can become challenging for any number of reasons: misalignment of expectations, differences in objectives, personal preferences for solutions, timing of the conversations themselves, and more. 

This workshop examines the language, rules, and strategies for critique and provides participants with takeaways that can immediately be put to work to create a useful, collaborative environment for discussing design. The contents and activities will focus on:

  • Building understanding of what critique is and isn't (Hint: that art-school line about developing a tough skin and defending your work is hogwash)
  • Providing ideas on how to introduce critique to team members who may be unfamiliar with it.
  • Ways to improve our ability to deliver, collect and receive critique.
  • Facilitation techniques for improving the quality of feedback discussions.
  • Best practices for incorporating critiques into a design process.
  • Identifying common challenges to critique in organizations and tools to overcome them.