Interdisciplinary Designers’ Guide to Being More Intentional

Interdisciplinary Designers’ Guide to Being More Intentional
December 7, 2021 Oreoluwa Aremo
the intentional framework

Nurturing the right culture in workplaces is crucial to long-term success. However, it isn’t surprising that leaders don’t know how to build the right culture beneficial to them and their employees. 

Culture is described by the actions that happen every day to achieve the company’s business goals. It shows itself in the manner choices get made and how individuals connect. This involves everything from sharing ideas and data to how individuals differ and resolve conflicts. Culture likewise contains the working environment (physical and mental) and demonstrates itself on team meeting calls, weekly check-ups, or doing lunch breaks and more. 

A couple of months ago, we spoke to interdisciplinary designers, Chuba Ezekwesili (Design Partner, Future Africa), Chine Ezekwesili (Design Partner, Akanka) and Tomi Odusanya (Communications Design Lead Paystack), on Clubhouse, where they shared practical approaches to nurturing a design culture in your startup. It was an insightful conversation where we learned about design culture, why startups need a design culture and many more.

Chuba and Chine share the Intentional Framework during this conversation. According to them, this framework has improved their personal and work lives. 

Future Africa remains committed to empowering mission-driven founders to grow and become better individuals, not just their businesses but also how they handle workplace relationships. As we make plans for 2022, we believe that this framework will be useful to improve your workplace culture. 


“The Framework of Intention is inspired by lessons we learnt from Nature while gardening during the lockdown. These steps help us design our lives to be more peaceful, joyful, and happier.”

(Chine and Chuba)


  1. Slow Down 
  2. Give gratitude
  3. Take responsibility

When you engage in these steps, you’ll become an intentional person, and you’ll see a gradual improvement in any aspect of your life that you choose to focus on. A key to activating a mental review of these steps is to ask: “In this very moment, am I being intentional?”, then asking “How can I slow down right now?”  This should activate the rest of the steps of the framework.

Here’s how to get started on these steps:


Slow Down

The essence of slowing down is to be present enough to see your path to peace, joy, and happiness. You can achieve this  by consistently repeating these habits:

  1. Praying
  2. Meditating 
  3. Take deep breaths
  4. Get adequate sleep
  5. Journalling and reflecting
  6. Clarify your intentions for the day
  7. Monitor and track what you spend your time doing in a day
  8. Spend time with your family and loved ones and be present
  9. Engage in moments of mindfulness (mindful eating, mindful walking)
  10. Listen with an intention to understand and learn and not just respond
  11. Prune your relationships and focus on those that you can add value and will bring value
  12. Cut down the amount of time you spend consuming content on social media or TV
  13. Track your feelings through the day and the thoughts and events that trigger those feelings
  14. Say “no” more to distractions or requests that don’t align with your goals. Filter by asking “Will this get me closer to my goal?”
  15. Say “no” more to distractions or requests that don’t align with your goals. Filter by asking “Will this get me closer to my goal?”


Give Gratitude

The essence of giving gratitude is so you appreciate your path to peace, joy, and happiness

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
  2. Write and say affirmations
  3. Write your strengths down
  4. Look out for the good in others
  5. Recall and write down your wins
  6. Verbally express thanks to others
  7. Start with gratitude when giving feedback
  8. Measure your progress – and celebrate them
  9. Visualize the positive future you want to see
  10. Genuinely compliment something about others
  11. Reframe self-deprecating thoughts to self-affirming thoughts
  12. Reflect on the people and resources around you who can help
  13. Listen intently with the goal to understand and learn and not just respond
  14. Even when things don’t go right, ask yourself “What is the lesson here? Can I turn it into a blessing?”
  15. Gratitude challenge: find something to be grateful for – especially when there doesn’t seem to be anything.


Take Responsibility

The essence of taking responsibility is so you take the right steps on your path to peace, joy, and happiness

  1. Experience new things
  2. Engage in acts of kindness
  3. Keep your promises and be reliable
  4. Create (paint, draw, sketch, crotchet)
  5. Take on tasks that challenge you to grow
  6. Accept your situation and be open to improving it
  7. Break Up Your Tasks Into Smaller More Manageable Steps
  8. Be comfortable with apologising when you’re in the wrong
  9. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions
  10. Quell the urge to blame others by asking “What is my role in this?”
  11. Be open to feedback (Try processing feedback through the framework helps)
  12. Refuse to take things personally. Ask yourself, “Is this about me, or the issue at hand?”
  13. Stop making excuses and practice taking responsibility by saying “I take responsibility for…”
  14. Defeat the habit of complaining by asking “What is the lesson here? What can I learn from this?”
  15. Take responsibility for your physical health (eat healthy, sleep properly, exercise regularly)


We are looking forward to having you at our next session. Follow us on Clubhouse to get direct notifications on more insightful conversations like this.

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