Karen VanHouten: Designing Serendipity – Intentionally Crafting Our Success

Karen VanHouten

A curious skeptic and expert snark, Karen has a deep love for beautiful messes fostered over 20 years of work in UX and product. Karen currently works as the Senior Director of Product Strategy and Project Delivery at Infobeans, where she likes to say she helps teams make better mistakes. She is passionate about intentionally designed work environments, and focuses on inclusion, collaboration, and team health as the most consistent drivers for success. She also swears a lot, loves all things late 80s/early 90s pop culture, and can show you where she lives on her hand.

For more, keep up with Karen at designinginward.com or on Twitter/Bluesky as @designinginward.

Designing Serendipity – Intentionally Crafting Our Success

The best creative teams often appear, from the outside, to be driven by luck; their success seemingly the result of a series of happy accidents, coincidence, and a few wonderfully creative minds blended together in an “innovation cocktail.” Healthy, sustainable success is anything but accidental.

We’ll explore three layers to reframe the way we think about project and team design. Starting with cycles, the natural rhythm and energies of the individuals on our team, and how building awareness and making the right compromises can create a rhythm that drives the team as a whole. We’ll move beyond the concept of “sprint” to the idea of project-specific cadences, ways to build momentum towards specific milestones while providing ample slack for recovery. And we’ll talk about ceremonies, methods we use the ensure we are keeping our promises to each other and supporting the habits that will make our success feel like luck.