Darren is a User Experience Lead in the Enterprise IT Programme Centre in DSTA. EIT PC acquires, develops and integrates IT solutions for MINDEF and SAF across multiple domains like HR, finance, procurement, etc.
On top of his current projects, Darren is exploring how to build design systems that enable the creation of better, more consistent digital products, in a faster and easier way.
How did you learn about UXSG?
Got introduced to the community through an ex-colleague who went for UXSG 2014. Still remember distinctly her telling me about the lunch-out experience, and generally just how great an experience it was. Was just getting into UX at that point, feeling very lonely, and that was a lifeline. The Open Space principles really made a great impression during my first meetup: “whenever it happens, is the right time”. Those principles extend to so much more than just a meetup…
Khai Seng has made a deep impression on me twice already in this volunteering journey: first, when he asked the website team to “focus on rigor” in our design process, because only through having a rigorous process will you improve. And second, when he said “how are you going to transform your society/organization/etc if you don’t transform yourself first? Because you are part of this thing that you are trying to transform”.
What made you volunteer for the UXSG Conference this year?
I figured starting in a new industry wasn’t something I had the luxury of taking my time for. Volunteering was a way to really get my feet wet, really hit the ground running, all that kind of stuff – I just really really wanted to learn and see and do “real UX”, whatever that meant, and I figured there was no better place to do it.
How has the journey been?
Welp, it’s been 4 months, we just launched the website, my feet are very very wet, and maybe I should have listened harder when Michael tried to tell us that you hit the ground sprinting… it’s been a crazy journey. But for what it’s worth, I’m glad I’m here.
What are your personal quirks?
Kopi-c siudai, all day everyday. I have multiple kopi-sohs who remember me by it. Oh, and according to my friends, this emoji is me:
Is there any words of advice or quotes you live by?
This is a bit of a long one, but a few months ago I listened to Sarah Kay’s commencement speech at Scripps College, and there was a particular segment that really really resonated. I think it spoke to me because of where I am right now, and it reminds me to be patient, and to keep going. #layingsomebrick
“Sometimes you will be searching for a cause to believe in and fight for, and you will worry that there is something wrong with you if you can’t find it. There isn’t.
Sometimes you are busy dealing with the task at hand. Sometimes you are falling in love or taking care of yourself or writing papers, and you do not have time to build a temple or to find a temple you believe in. You are allowed this time.
Or you may find it and believe in something immense that gives you purpose, but overwhelms you. You want to solve world hunger or fix global warming. You want to build the temple all by yourself, but you feel like your hands are too small. They are not. Lay some bricks.
There will be time for all these things. Lay the bricks until the walls are constructed, until the temple is built. Or dream towards the temple until you figure out which walls to build and which bricks to lay. Allow your perspective to shift, and shift again. You are in a continuous process of becoming.”
Scripps College Commencement Speech 2015