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Siobhan Kennedy

Siobhan Kennedy

Design Director

A New UX Training Community: Experience Thinkers

To kick off our training in 2021, we’re sharing an interview with Tedde van Gelderen, President and Founder of Akendi and Experience Thinkers, revealing the motivations behind our exciting move towards a collective and expansive approach to UX training and certification.

What brought about Experience Thinkers?

You mean the term? That goes back some time now. Many in the past have used the ‘thinkers’ moniker to indicate a specific aspect of work. Terms like critical thinking, strategic thinking, empirical thinking and more recently in the User Experience field: design thinking. They all address important aspects but none covered what – in my view – was the key thing we in the UX field are aiming for: delivering awesome and intentional experiences. We want experiences, we buy experiences, we experience experiences. Logically this goal needed a name; Experience Thinking (XT) and by extension, the people that work towards awesome experiences are Experience Thinkers (and Do-ers, etc, you need them all).

With XT there, the next step was that it needed a home, a place to learn, discuss and grow a field that delivers an increasingly critical part of our lives.

Why now?

More teams and organizations than ever don’t think about only creating products or even services, they now want to create experiences, journeys and ecosystems that should lead to transformations in order to meet the needs of their audiences. These teams want to make the step to elevate their conversation to not only good product and service design, but amazing transformational experiences. Why wait to start leading, advocating and educating XT?

What can someone expect from the training?

We have based our training program initially on the Akendi UX training courses that we have been delivering for over a decade. It seemed like a great place to start and build the broader course offering from there. For participants, it means they will continue to get the latest real world experience injected into each course as our experienced team will keep delivering the courses. It will also mean that we will add to the list of topics we will provide training in the coming year. To cover more and more of our end-to-end experience thinking framework and include in our training program as many of the aspects that make an experience truly intentional for the audience it was intended for.

How is Experience Thinkers different from Akendi training?

With last year what it was, we moved to virtual delivery for all of our courses. We continue to have virtual delivery but expect to also launch self-paced courses for some topics. Over time we expect to have the in-person training sessions back in as well again, circumstances permitting. 

We aim to have a diverse delivery of our training going forward to meet everyone’s different learning needs. Sometimes you want to fit the learning around your daily work, sometimes it works best to dedicate time to focussed training and sometimes you need to get away, change the environment to learn and reset your way of working in a different physical setting. We want to create both depth, with relevant XT topics, and breadth, with a range of delivery methods optimized to your situation.

Who will benefit from this training?

Experience Thinkers wants to help anyone who is working towards delivering and supporting intentional experiences with the process and tools to do an outstanding job. It means our courses are ideally suited for someone who is working in a related job, but needs to expand their knowledge or create a firmer footing in the experience delivery field.  

Nowadays that person often works in a digital environment: web portals, software, enterprise, citizen and consumer-facing experiences. Similar principles also apply to hardware products and spaces and services, so there is a benefit to learning XT principles for those people too.

What will shape the future of Experience Thinkers?

We hope to reach more people that are working in this space, don’t feel supported enough and need a place to recharge and grow again. This will create a healthy community of working professionals that want to expand their thinking and enjoy like-mindedness.

For more information: Experience Thinkers FAQ

Siobhan Kennedy

Siobhan Kennedy

Design Director

Siobhan is a passionate advocate for clean, effective designs that speak clearly and with gusto. Through the Akendi blog, Siobhan shares inspirations, tips, and resources for developing clean, harmonious design systems that are a joy to use.


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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.