Designing for Tech Spaces
We specialize in projects that support culture shifts in tech spaces. Socio-cognitive factors — social interactions (the "socio") and internal thought processes (the "cognitive") — simultaneously impact an individual's trajectory and the field as a collective. Yet the relevant evidence-based work of organizational and educational psychologists focused is not typically part of technical training or education.
We design programs with the tech industry in mind by:
Framing content through analogies/situations familiar to someone with a technical background.
Leveraging the problem-solving approaches and analytical thinking already at the core of the tech industry.
Perspective-taking for effective collaboration might feel outside of a programmer's comfort zone, but it becomes more familiar when parallels are drawn to components in a debugging tool (step into/over/out).
Working with a new technical framework is common in tech, and it's a given that there is upfront cost to get started. There might be a new (programming) language to learn, and reading documentation is not enough. It's practicing with sample code and building projects that builds the skill. Working with a socio-cognitive framework can be framed similarly: there's a language to learn and sample situations can prompt discussions and reflection to practice the skill of strategically navigating challenges.
Programming to Fit
Whether you have a specific project in mind (e.g., launch a mentoring program for incoming SWEs) or a higher-level vision (e.g., cultivate a more productive team environment), we will meet you where you are. We are committed to a process that delivers custom-built programs that align with your goals. Our portfolio includes:
Short animated videos to introduce terminology and strategies
Off-the-shelf, adaptable curricular modules to engage college students learning CS
Flexible conversation starters to prepare industry professionals for their role as mentors
What can we help you with?
Onboarding scaffolding (interns, new employees)
Inclusive work environments
SPOTLIGHT: Microsoft's Tech Resilience Mentoring Program
In partnership with Microsoft during 2020-21, we developed a mentoring program and curriculum to support college students starting their tech journey.
Press and Recognition
Resources from this project are open-source and include:
An Educator Toolkit
a curated set of modules to support preparation of peer mentors (such as teaching assistants and tutors)
(built off the MaGE academic peer mentorship program originally developed with the support of a Google Capacity Award and in collaboration with Heather Pon-Barry, Barbara Rotundo, Alyxander Byrns and dozens of peer mentors)
A Tech Resilience Mentoring Program Toolkit and Video Pack
curriculum to support a 6-week remote group mentoring program led by pairs of Microsoft employees (developed in collaboration with Lydia Cheah and Heather Pon-Barry)
A Mentor Coach Toolkit
materials for mentor coaches to lead synchronous and self-guided activities to prepare mentors for the Tech Resilience Mentoring Program
We're happy to share the full toolkits — please contact us if you're interested!
The ability to pivot and change is called cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility goes beyond pivoting about plans. It’s also about stretching our imagination to see ourselves and others in our environments in new ways, which is especially important in tech fields. This is part of the series for Microsoft's mentoring program.