I think people are not mentally prepared for both giving and receiving feedback that’s why it is so hard to accept it. I’ve created a little feedback ritual for my students. After they presented their idea / concept / prototype, I ask the design team to turn around, stay totally silent (so they cannot defend their design choices) and make notes. The rest of the group is allowed only to bring critical comments, no praises (even if they like the idea). It it typically hard for them to begin but then the session rolls pretty successfully (only once I had a group not agreeing to turn around).

Why turning around? Without eye contact neither the team nor the evaluators can take the feedback to the personal level.

Why the silence? So the team doesn’t defend their choices getting into a discussion about details. It is also a perfect exercise in active listening to feedback, which we as designers sometimes have a bit of trouble with :)

Why only critical comments? So the team knows that they will only be exposed to criticism and it in no way means that the evaluators dislike their idea. It touches the potential problems without killing the idea itself.

Having a feedback session executed in such a way makes the evaluators be more conscious on what they are commenting about and how they do it. And it makes the feedback receivers more prone to listening.

“The Umami Strategy: Stand out by mixing business with experience design”, www.seed-cards.com www.catchingthenextwavepodcast.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store