Select Page

User Research + Asking Better Questions with Michele Ronsen — DT101 E88

Michele Ronsen is the founder of Curiosity Tank, a leading user research consultancy and educational institution, helping individuals and organizations learn how to ask better questions, conduct research, and make better decisions around the world.

Portrait of Michele Ronsen

Listen to Learn About

  • The benefits of user research to designers
  • User research skills
  • Quantitative vs qualitative research
  • Curiosity Tank’s six-workshop series, Ask Like a Pro
  • Where user research is headed

Our Guest

Michele Ronsen is an executive with 20 years of experience in Fortune 500s, academia, and start-ups. A professionally trained graphic designer, Michele worked at top design firms before moving to Nordstrom where she built two creative teams from the ground up. From there, she built a career helping numerous entities strategically design and grow their businesses.

In 2010, Michele founded Ronsen Consulting, a design and strategy firm specialized in human-centered research and development. In 2020, she founded Curiosity Tank to further expand the team’s research consulting and education efforts. Recent clients include Slack, Zillow, Blue Shield of California, Xero, Facebook, Gusto, Invisalign, Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente.

Michele has inspired hundreds of students and professionals at UC Berkeley, the California College of the Arts, the Academy of Art University, and General Assembly teaching design, research and strategy classes and workshops.

Show Highlights

[00:33] Drawing the gear inside the McDonald’s sign and how Michele’s father taught her and her brother to ask how and why instead of what and when.
[02:14] Michele’s first career in graphic design and as a creative and design director.
[02:56] How conducting ethnographies helped Michele fall in love with user research.
[04:47] Michele talks about the user research skillset.
[07:02] Michele reminisces on her design process before she knew more about user research.
[09:18] Advice for organizations that want to do more qualitative research.
[10:37] The value of qualitative research.
[12:09] The Moccasins Project at the California College of the Arts.
[14:20] How Michele starts the process of working with clients.
[16:05] Curiosity Tank’s Ask Like a Pro workshop series helps people level-up their user research skills.
[20:18] Ensuring user research makes it into the product or service starts in the planning phase.
[22:05] Getting stakeholder buy-in right from the beginning.
[23:24] The problem space and the opportunity space.
[26:19] User research trends and the future of user research.
[26:49] The surprising way the pandemic changed the trajectory of user research.
[29:48] Thoughts and advice for those wanting to learn more about user research.
[29:58] Open versus closed questions.
[31:48] Having a curious mindset is key to becoming a great researcher.

Links

Michele on LinkedIn
Michele on General Assembly
Ronsen Consulting LLC
Curiosity Tank
Wild Business Growth Podcast: Curiosity Tank, How to Ask Better Questions
Happy Market Research podcast: How the key to Asking Better Questions is Tied to Developing Better Listening Skills and What you can do About it
Breaking into User Research
How to start a UX research project
Breaking into UX Research

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Problem Spaces, Understanding How People Think, and Practical Empathy with Indi Young — DT101 E6

Understanding Customers: Research, Insights, and Storytelling with Steve Portigal — DT101 E48

Trauma-Informed Design + Participatory Design Perils + Research with Vulnerable Populations with Sarah Fathallah — DT101 E72

Tell me how the show helps you.

Photo of Dawan Stanford

Your ideas support and develop the show. Tell the world how the Design Thinking 101 Podcast has helped you think and solve like a designer. Then, tell me how I might make it even more helpful.

Cheers ~ Dawan

Need help right now? Try Fluid Hive's Innovation Shield.

Download this step-by-step guide!

It helps make everything you create more valuable by asking simple questions.

Our workshops and courses are built on Fluid Hive's Question-based Learning and filled with tools ilke this one. Enjoy!

Images of pages from Innovation Shield

Join Dawan in a Free Design Skills Workshop!

Solve Like a Designer: a Unique Introduction to Design Thinking

24 April  2024, 10:00 AM EDT, 90 minutes, Register Here!

Workshop Creator's Lab

16 May 2024, 10:00 AM EDT, 90 minutes, Get Notified

Free workshops for people who want to develop, practice and learn design skills for creating services and solutions.

Live, interactive, practical experiences led by Dr. Dawan Stanford.

Get Cool Free Stuff from Fluid Hive!

Join my free Ask Like a Designer Studio!
You get:

  • ideas, lessons, templates, and Ask Like a Designer articles
  • invitations to free events like my Design Skills Workshops
  • Design Skills Course discounts
  • Design Thinking 101 Podcast announcements

Everythig is desinged to help you creare, solve and succeed!
Cheers ~ Dawan

The Designing Facilitation Course

Are you ready to design outstanding events that will engage participants and get the outcomes you need?

Fluid Hive's Designing Facilitation Course is a step-by-step design thinking-fueled system for creating and leading events, workshops and meetings that solve problems, save money, and protect your reputation.

Find Better Problems Course

In this self-paced, online course, Find Better Problems: Creating Better Solutions by Framing More Valuable Problems to Solve, you will learn to create more effective solutions by understanding the problem you are trying to solve.

Creating effective solutions begins with finding, defining and refining the problem you're trying to solve. I help you do that and more with step-by-step instruction and practical templates.