Everyone sees the world differently. They way we each experience moments is directly affected by our past. We all recall scenes in different ways, interpret phrases in other fashions, and see different shape in a passing cloud. Our perception, shaped by our past, carves out our unique realities. When we begin to share our personal takes on the world, we begin to understand each other’s story. Sharing narratives allows us to pass on feelings and perspective-taking. It allows us to truly feel what it’s like to be another person. This is the power of storytelling, a power that design researcher Leah Noble Davidson knows quite well.
With beautiful blonde hair and horn-rimmed glasses that sit on her button nose, Davidson is a firecracker of talent and insight. She combines a decade of art and sociology schooling with successful career jaunts as a poet, storyteller, The Moth producer, and most recently the lead design researcher at OVINQVE. The two things that might outshine her resume would be her drive and karisma. She’s found a profession that inspires her beyond all means. What better person could there be to help makers find, tell, and celebrate their story and the narrative of their product.
“Everything we see is wrapped in a story we've been telling ourselves.” Davidson says. “A design researcher's job is to find where all of those stories intersect and to tell it again--bravely, honestly, and respectfully.”
Davidson graduated high school at the age of 16 and went on to be a personal assistant to a professional storyteller. Watching her work with professionals and students, Davidson learned how to walk people through their own internal biases in a story. “I learned then, that we create our memory,” she said. “It was later, when I began studying design research, that I knew that understanding how someone used a product (physical or digital) was ABSOLUTELY wrapped in the same light.”
To date, Davidson has helped people from all walks of life tell stories--from the mom and pop cafe shop to the executives at Microsoft. “I think there are a lot of ways to tell a story,” she said. “What's important about all of the methods is that they emphasize the need to break the expectations of the listener, to allow the listener to explore their own weaknesses, and then to bring them back to reality safely (even if the story doesn't end happily).”
Davidson will be presenting an amazing keynote at WeMake Celebrates conference on Friday, October 2, 2015 at The Armory in Portland’s Pearl District. Don’t miss this great moment between this powerhouse storyteller and our local maker community. Grab your tickets here.