Design Strategist. A wild duck who always fly high.

Julia Tsoi’s photo
Julia Tsoi’s photo
Credit: Author

Hi there! My name is Julia, and I am a design strategist who draws.

My Story

I grew up in Hong Kong, a very international city where you can find Eastern and Western culture melted from both sides, especially food. I spent most of my time in my childhood studying hard under our famous cramming education. Memorizing all the book content and scoring high in examinations are the common goal for Hong Kong students.

Yet besides studies, I was fortunate to explore the arts of ancient Chinese literature, ballet, and music, where I play piano and percussion in my leisure time.

All…


Apply this strategy when you cannot do random grouping or pre-assign participants into the groups.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Running remote sessions is never a piece of cake and requires much more preparation, especially on technical set-up. In best cases scenario, if you have your participants’ Zoom accounts in hand, you can refer to this guide to pre-assign them into the breakout room before the sessions, then remind everyone to log in with the same email address for the identification.

However, in some scenarios, you might not have your participants’ Zoom accounts. This situation would leave you no other choice but to group people on the spot when people dial-in.

Below I summarised the potentials approach to quickly map…


Try not to bite more than you can chew.

An illustration on workshop
An illustration on workshop
Credit: Felic Art

I want to talk about one of the foundations of human — we are all greedy. Time and money — we always want more. I used to fail in the pitfall while running workshops that we included too many exercises and kept pushing the discussion forward just to finish everything on the agenda.

Weird as it may seem, a workshop with a packed schedule may lead to a sense of achievement as if we finish the marathon after a long run. Within 8 hours, we can talk about the past, the now, and the future; We can cover topics in…


To fully unleash the potentials of Design Thinking, we need to acknowledge both edges of the knife.

Colorful illustration on abstract shape
Colorful illustration on abstract shape
Credit: Tyler Anthony

Earlier last week, I was talking about Design Thinking as a guest speaker in a university course. Of course, it was always pleasant to be the first one to introduce this powerful way of thinking to people. And I am particularly delighted to provoke students’ thinking on building a human-centric product, rather than charming by the cutting-edge technology by itself. At the end of the session, one student asked a question that got me thinking —

“What are the flaws of Design Thinking”?

Ever since I became a Design Thinking coach, I advocate the importance of bringing human sentiment into…


I am stronger, tougher, and a lot happier.

A green and simple home
A green and simple home
Credit: Brad Cuzen

When I was a kid, I loved shopping and collecting all kinds of things, like shells, stones, coins, and stamps. Therefore, my room was always packed with a lot of random objects that I found.

Toys caused a big clutter in my place, too, as my dad brought me to the toy store from time to time and allowed me to choose any toys that were within a budget. I was always excited and ran around to hunt. Sometimes, I could easily pick the new toys that excited me and leave the shop in 10 minutes. …


The proven tactic helps me decide on my action

Illustration of decision making
Illustration of decision making
Credit: Anastasia

We need to make decisions every day, from small decisions like whether we snooze the alarm or not, to the big decision on career and relationship.

When asking about how people make decisions now, some people use a decision tree. Some build a comparison table to visualize all the pros and cons of the decision. Talking to families and friends, alternatively, is also a common way to understand the situation from an outsider’s perspective.

As for myself, I make decisions with my gut instinct. Fearing not knowing the other alternatives in life, I am frightened with regrets and not living…


And you can have yours with a few clicks too

Illustration of website building
Illustration of website building
Credit: Pawel Olek

Last year, I read the entire series of books from Austin Kleon, including The New York Times bestseller “Steal Like an Artist,” “Show Your Work!,” and “Keep Going.” I like his humor and his way of finding creativity in this chaotic world.

In his book “Show Your Work!”, Austin showed us how to become known by others on a creative journey. There was particular advice that caught my eye:

“If we have only one takeaway from this book, go build your website and show our work.”

If Austin writes it in such an assuring manner, why not give it a…


Search within. And you know how you can be happy.

Photo of a happy picture
Photo of a happy picture
Credit: Sarah Ziegler

The night before, my friend asked me a simple but profound question — “what does happiness mean to you?”

I went in silent.

At the end of the day, it is not something that we will consider daily, especially living in a metropolitan where the city never sleeps.

Happiness used to be so simple when we were young. You get the candy, then you are happy. A new toy? Nothing better than that in life.

But when time goes by, happiness becomes way more complicated. You might get a good grade in school, but then you need to keep the…


We need to be still. Be strong. And be you.

“Don’t be an apologetic artist”
“Don’t be an apologetic artist”
Credit: Kelson

How often do you apologize in your day-to-day work? I have to confess that I do it pretty often. I am not sure whether it is nurtured by my teachers in school or the mindset instilled by my parents. But I am crystal clear that the word “sorry” is a common phrase used frequently in my professional life.

Never Use the Apology As the Opening of an Email

I made this mistake for a while until my mentor reminded me recently.

“Sorry for replying late.”

“Sorry for bothering you on this.”

“Sorry, but I really need your help.”

I thought I was trying to be polite and humble, yet my…


Time to spend some quality me-time and set up the stage for the next year

Illustration of Christmas painting
Illustration of Christmas painting
Credit: Julia Tsoi

Coming to December, we all start taking day-offs to celebrate the end of the year. Since this is a special year where we cannot go overseas, below are the 35 ideas you can do at home. Completely safe and sound.

Entertainment

Movies

  • Scent of a Woman(1992)
  • The Invisible Guest (2016)
  • Eat Pray Love (2010)
  • The Shawshank Redemption(1994)
  • Parasite(2020)
  • The Body(2019)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet(2018)
  • Train the Dragon(2010)
  • Love Rosie(2014)

Series

  • Too Hot to Handle (2020)
  • Sex Education Season 1–2 (2019)
  • Stranger Things Season 1–3 (2016)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
  • Emily in Paris (2020)
  • The Umbrella Academy Season 1–2 (2019)

Documentary

  • The Social…

Julia Tsoi

Design Strategist in Tech | Ex-IBMer | Apple Developer Academy Alumni. Bird without legs and I would always fly high. https://juliatsoi.com/

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