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Kim Thuy Tu – Lead With Data: Hacking Team Motivation With “A-ha!” Moments

Lam Thai
July 21, 2019

Kim Thuy Tu – Lead With Data: Hacking Team Motivation With “A-ha!” Moments

This is a talk for Design Research 2019 in Vietnam event, presented by Kim Thuy Tu

Lam Thai

July 21, 2019

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  1. Lead With Data:
    Hacking Team Motivation
    With “A-ha!” Moments
    By Kim Thuy Tu
    Kim Thuy Tu Sat 11:57 PM

    Good evening everyone. My name is
    Kim. Thank you for having me here

    Before I get into what a-ha moments
    are and how you can use it to hack
    your team’s motivation, let me give
    you a little bit more background

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  2. but first,
    a little about me
    Kim Thuy Tu Sat 11:59 PM

    At first I was going to create a
    collage of my interests but then I
    realized… that’s what social media is

    Looking at my instagram profile here,
    you can probably guess that i enjoy
    photography, traveling, visiting cafes,

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  3. i’m an airbnb host
    Kim Thuy Tu Sat 11:59 PM

    I’m also an airbnb host

    so when I’m not taking photos for
    Instagram, I am hosting travelers and
    taking photos for them to put on their
    Instagram. This is usually my chance
    to meet new people and show them

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  4. i studied psychology
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:09 AM

    I studied psychology in college.

    At the time, I was planning to pursue
    medicine and if you had asked me
    whether I thought that I would be
    standing here today giving a talk on
    design, research, and data,

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  5. i write (sometimes)
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:14 AM

    I’m also a writer…


    The last article I wrote was at the time of my career change and it it
    was a case study on redesigning instagram.

    After publishing this case study and having it read by many people,
    one of them being the founder of Christina’s, he pretty much
    convinced me to pack my bags and move to Saigon to become the

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  6. ! ✈ #
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 1:23 AM

    and i did

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  7. Currently
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:27 AM

    and here I am today

    working at Christina’s, a fully-integrated travel
    experience company that aims to provide amazing
    local experiences to travelers. We provide everything
    from accommodation, experiences, food & beverage,
    and transportation.

    So when I came in as the second product designer

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  8. Color matching

    Onetrip’s helmet
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:30 AM

    From helmets for our tour guides,

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  9. Designing

    Airbnb coasters
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:31 AM

    to coasters for our homes across

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  10. Photoshopping Airbnb’s 

    CSO onto a standee
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:32 AM

    to creating standees for our co-
    hosted event with Airbnb…

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  11. Photographing a 

    6:00 run
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:32 AM

    to running and photographing at the
    same time…

    View full-size slide

  12. Developing Christina’s 

    first chatbot
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:32 AM

    to building out our first ever

    View full-size slide

  13. and then finally

    “redesign this”
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:33 AM

    to redesigning our entire message

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  14. Challenge 


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  15. Kim Thuy Tu Sat 7:36 PM

    which then inspired the development
    of an entire fleet of host technology

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  16. Kim Thuy Tu Sat 7:36 PM

    and product teams.

    Today I want to walk you through a
    couple of examples of how I was able
    to find and use these aha moments
    throughout the product development
    process to motivate my team and
    grow our products to the size it is

    Hopefully by the end, you will be able

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  17. What are “A-ha!”
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:54 AM

    So what are aha moments?

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  18. Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 12:54 AM

    To give you some perspective, The
    first ever mention of aha moments
    dates back to over a 100 years ago
    and since then 

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  19. Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 8:25 AM

    …there has been a ton of research
    on what it is and how it works

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  20. Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 8:19 AM

    Two things that all these research
    can agree on are that aha moments

    creates a positive emotion with us

    it happens on the right side of our
    brain where our creativity and
    insights processing are located.

    but that doesn’t tell me much.

    What I want to know is:

    how I can use these aha moments to
    invoke those very same positive

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  21. realization

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  22. “let me see”
    Kim Thuy Tu Sat 7:45 PM

    let me see

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  23. “have you tried…”
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 8:59 AM

    and started to play with the app
    himself and explaining to the user
    how it should work

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  24. “i’ll fix it”
    Kim Thuy Tu Sat 8:28 PM

    and when it didn’t,

    he said ‘i’ll fix it’ even though it
    wasn’t his responsibility. 

    After this, Thuyen started to join a
    couple more of the beta sessions and
    even lead one of them himself,
    because this aha moment lead him to
    see the difference between
    developing via his simulator and
    testing a product in real life.

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  25. ‘A ha!’ moments can spark
    motivation & ownership
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 9:17 AM

    That brings me to this.

    A ha moments can spark motivation
    and ownership.

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  26. Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 9:18 AM

    To create more of these aha
    moments, I would allocate time
    during our weekly team meeting to
    share any interesting data points or
    insights I found from looking over our
    analytics. It could be anything from
    an increase in retention, app
    sessions, or number of daily active

    After sharing these data with my
    team, I found that there is a
    heightened sense of motivation and
    work satisfaction because it helps
    them realize the value our product
    was delivering to our users.

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  27. Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 9:18 AM

    More importantly, I make it a point to
    recognize specific team members for
    their craftsmanship and contribution.

    When this happens, i find that the
    engineers on my team will take it
    upon themselves to look over their
    own feature and polish them up
    without needing any prompt from me
    or a bug report.

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  28. Kim Thuy Tu Sat 7:46 PM

    The last story I want to leave you
    with involves one of our intern,

    Huseyin is a very curious and eager
    intern. After joining our team, huseyin
    was tasked with developing a feature
    to help our hosts communicate easier
    and faster with foreign guests.

    After months of development and
    countless hours of refinements, the
    feature was ready to be shipped.

    After we launched the feature, I
    checked over our data to see that a
    couple of people had already started
    to use it and so I relayed the news
    back to him.

    Visibly excited, he asked

    “who was it?

    what did they write?

    what language was it?”
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 9:55 AM

    The next day Huseyin came to me after
    looking over each of the data point. He found
    that some of our users were sending translated
    messages to guests that didn’t require a

    At first we thought it was a bug but after
    investigating further, we realized that it was
    due an oversight during development.

    Luckily he caught and corrected it in time
    because if he didn’t we would have probably
    ended up paying more than doubled or tripled

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  29. Observe
    The ‘A ha!’ moment hack
    Kim Thuy Tu Yesterday, 9:21 AM

    So today we learned that aha
    moments can spark motivation and

    Here are the 3 step hack I created for
    sparking more of these moments
    within my team:

    Observe the data and your team, and
    find opportunities to involve them in
    the design process

    Acknowledge and praise the positive
    behaviors you want to reinforce

    And lastly — Share. Share the
    insights and aha moments with your
    team, so that you can stay inspired
    and motivated together.

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