Design from nothing with Chuck Rice: UX Sessions

September 26, 2019, 6:00pm - 7:30pm

For our latest instalment of ECOM’s UX Sessions, we welcomed Chuck Rice to talk about Designing from nothing. Chuck has a vast experience in the design space and an active member of the UX community. He currently operates as the Head of Design at The Start-up Factory where, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, he utilises Design Thinking methodologies to take fuzzy ideas from conception to viable start-up businesses they assist and help start-ups grow and develop with a talented team.

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We started the evening off with beer and pizza and a good old catch up. It was a great turn out with a real mix of levels with people still studying design to senior designers and even a few people looking to make a transition into UX.

The talk started with Chuck setting the scene and premise for the night, as most of the UX Designers in the room are used to designing products for established businesses and brands. Then the entrepreneurs in the room had experience of coming up with ideas and growing the business but had very little thought about it from the design point of view. So the thought of having to create and design something that doesn’t exist could be an alien concept, “like coming up with the recipe for bread before bread even existed”.

Once establishing a unique idea, it has to be validated to make sure there is a demographic to make it a viable product. From validation through research Chuck explained other useful methodologies to help, such as affinity mapping and How Might We or HMW (not HMV which I thought he said, sat wondering how a failed CD shop was going to help validate your ideas?)

To help everyone get on the same page he was talking this all through with a case study of his which he’d come up with, designed and pitch all within a week, this idea was the Pitch Arcade 2020. Showing everyone the thought process, time, effort and methods used to get from that light bulb moment to pitching the idea to founders.

Chuck wanted to show how these design thinking methodologies can be applied to everyday problems, which led us to his workshop. Finally he ran a workshop where it was everyone’s turn to pair up and run through everything they’d just been discussing, he left the topic quite vague and just asked the pairs to talk through their typical morning, what they didn’t like, what was their favourite part, what would improve it and what their pain points were.

These points were organised into themes and refined using the How Might We exercise, with an aim to understand the problem, look at it from all angles to find a viable solution. We did see a few people leaving with their post-it notes from the workshop. So you never know, we might have inadvertently helped give birth to the next big thing! (That or we were hosting a few kleptomaniacs)

The main take-a-ways from the night for me was that you must truly understand your problem to be able to find the right solution for it. Question everything, look at it from different perspectives asking other people their thoughts and don’t just focus on the main problem, but everything around it that could be affecting it.

Thanks to Chuck and everyone that came making it a fantastic evening. If you’d like to come along to the next one please follow the link to sign up on