Presentation Presentation

Session Title

Presentation Presentation


Mike Kruzeniski, Brian Wilson, Microsoft EXG

Session Type: Presentation

Storytelling is a powerful skill for designers. A great story helps designers connect people to the ideas behind an experience, and see past their personal aesthetic preferences. A story is easily portable. It’s a common ground that can focus an entire organization in the same direction, and use as a reference to judge design details against.
Half the work of storytelling however is the telling – the act of standing up in front of an audience and delivering the story. In my experience, it’s a role that many designers are not comfortable with. But like any skill, standing up in front of an audience and telling a great story is a skill that takes practice. Recognizing this, we created a weekly session for our designers to practice presenting in front of a small audience. The outcome has reached beyond just an increased comfort in public speaking; it’s become a forum for sharing ideas, interests, and new storytelling methods. Most important, it’s led to more of our designers telling stories to engage with and influence our partners.
This is a presentation in two parts: 1. Our approach and learnings to develop our storytelling styles, and 2. Our tool for growing storytelling skills on our team – the “Design Slam”.


Brian Wilson is a UX Designer for the Entertainment Experience Group at Microsoft, in Seattle. Prior to joining Microsoft, Brian was a website designer for roughly ten years. In fact, he can remember what it was like to make a website prior to WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver. About five years ago he escaped the color brown (Denver) to be surrounded by the color green (Seattle). Since the relocation it has been a deluge of challenging touch interaction software experiences. This includes several lifestyle touch screen projects like Origami Experience for the UMPC. His passions include photography, oil painting, and travel. Brian is a graduate of the Art Institute.

Mike Kruzeniski is a UX Creative Director for the Entertainment Experience Group at Microsoft, in Seattle. Before joining Microsoft, Mike was a Designer on Nokia Design’s Insight & Innovation team in Los Angeles, where he worked on projects such as the Nokia 2010 View of the Future, and the concept design for the Nokia 8800 Arte. He has a Master’s of Interaction Design from the Umea Institute of Design in Sweden, and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from the Emily Carr Institute of Design in Vancouver, BC.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 17, 2009 at 4:02 am

    A worthy topic, indeed! Communication is crucial to design it seems, and storytelling is one of the most effective kinds of communication. It’ll be nice to hear your experiences and how it all worked. Oh, and “Death to PowerPoint”, it’s like a good, stiff whiff of chloroform to a good story in most everyones’ hands.