• Weeknote 438

    April 14th to 20th

    As announced last week, we did our weekly review again. It felt very good to have everybody in one room. Not the large room, the small one inside the large one (aka The Box). I suggested to keep it short, because everybody was very busy, but it took us way longer than expected. And that was fine, because we realized we missed out on so much things that have been happening directly in front of us.

    Christophe and Henne gave us an overview on all things Nowata. Pretty cool stuff: from stunning visuals to a well thought-out smartphone app. We’ll soon share it with the world, so I won’t go into detail now.

    Florie told us a bit about the interviews she did for the research work on Millinocket.

    Svenja reported that we will soon get a new chalk board wall in the kitchen. Also the worn out whiteboard wall in The Box gets a new paint job. Besides trying to coordinating painters (though job indeed), she worked on some finance issues.

    David presented some designs for Qualicum, a companion app for a magazine.

    I explained the status quo on Millinocket, which includes writing user stories and translating them to use cases. But more importantly: thinking about a tool to organize all these information.

    Michael wasn’t at the review, as his easter holidays started a bit earlier.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 437

    April 7th to 13th

    Writing weeknotes again makes even more obvious that we have to bring back another custom at precious: the weekly review. Last year we all gathered on Thursday afternoons, and everybody told (and sometimes showed) the whole team what they have been working on. Then there were christmas holidays, a few changes in our schedules, some busy Thursdays and – as it often happens with habits – it got lost once the chain was broken.

    So now I’m sitting here, realizing that I really don’t know what everybody has accomplished in the past week. I know what projects everybody is involved in, but i haven’t seen any results or heard any details. Not good. We have to share our process among each other more. To get inspired, to receive feedback, to critique, to learn from each other, to understand the challenges others are experiencing. And last not least to celebrate us, because great things are happening here.

    So, Thursday after lunch: weekly review.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 436

    March 31st to April 6th

    About the time Christophe wrote the last blog post two days ago, without knowing about it, I decided to bring the weeknotes back to life. I haven’t written one since four months, but I didn’t bother me that much, because I had a good excuse not to. Being a first-time dad and working in a design studio operating at full capacity (euphemism!), the weeknotes didn’t make it to the top of my priority list. But in crazy, busy, overwhelming times like this, it’s even more important to take some time to reflect. And as I wrote before, the weeknotes are a tool to do just that.

    Since a lot has happened since the last update, let me give you a quick wrap-up: Svenja is back in the studio, trying to get us organised. A tough job, but having worked with cows and donkeys before, she knows how to handle it. Florie is another great addition to the team. She has a background is in social and service design and is taking care of our research issues. Always eager to establish more diversity in our team, we are happy to increase our women’s quota* by having those two great ladies on board.

    Projects evolved or changed focus, but our current client roster is the same as last December. We are still working on a large-scale design system for a software product. We develop a framework for designing and evaluating this product. We are designing a markup language. We are working closely with the mobile unit of a big publishing house and we develop the visual identity of a conference.

    Fast forward to week 436, which started with Christophe’s birthday. To celebrate, Svenja cooked a huge mountain of delicious, vegan pasta salad for lunch. It looked like way too much food, but with 10 hungry people, there wasn’t much left over.

    Another social gathering this week: the precious movie night (out). So far, I picked the films we watched at our (too infrequent) movie nights – usually documentaries about art, design, science or culture. This time David suggested to watch Spike Jonze’s new feature film “Her” **, so we had our first movie night at the cinema.

    Christophe’s week was split in two: the first half was dedicated to Puichon, the latter was reserved for Nowata, involving lots of phone calls and meetings. Henne was also working on Nowata, and David helped out on Friday as well. We also kicked off a new subproject for Nowata with Heiko, a freelance developer. It’s about context-awareness, a topic we have been interested for quite a while. David supported Christophe on Puichon, but I also saw a Sketch file with a trillion different iterations of Qualicum, an iPhone/iPad app for a magazine, on his screen. Michael, with support from Kamila, did some documenting for Kathadin. He also got his hands dirty with FutureFolio, trying to explore the intersection between our concepts and the technical feasibility. Florie documented her insights from the first round of field research, while already organizing and conducting further interviews. I was mainly completing persona descriptions and writing user journeys for Millinocket and working with Michael on layout templates for digital magazines.

    *) There’s still some room for improvement, though (wink wink).
    **) precious verdict: highly recommended. Ask Siri to reserve some tickets.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Random note 1

    April 2nd, 2014

    I was always thinking about extending our ’week notes’ with some sort of ’random notes’. A place for sudden reflection, fresh thoughts and unformed ideas. Things too big for a tweet, stuff you would write down in ’Evernote’ or ’Day One’ and would then keep buried for the next couple of years …

    And then I saw the time stamp of our last weeknote some days ago. Which reinforced this idea, so here’s a first musing – I hope my colleagues will join me soon! This note was tenderly handcrafted while riding my bike back from work:

    I believe every single human being on this planet is creative. On varying levels and we work with different materials. So once there’s a ’creative department’ within an organization, chances are something went or will go wrong.

    To design and build great things, we need to collaborate. Like really, and intensely. Everyone involved in the process can have a field of expertise, but we all need a high level of curiosity and empathy for everything else (well, almost everything).

    We need ’positive friction' aka constructive debate. That's why it is so important to bring together people with different personalities, capabilities and backgrounds. An enjoyable and balanced atmosphere is essential, but permanent snuggling doesn't help nobody. Avoiding debate means standstill.

    We need more makers than managers. Everybody should have a 'maker mindset', although the current main responsibility might be management tasks. Too much management will only produce more management (just like most long meetings create more problems rather than solutions). The best managers are makers at heart.

    It’s 16 degrees Celsius in Hamburg today and I'm having an Aperol Spritz.

    Posted by Christophe.
  • Digital Isn't Software, It's a Mindset

    (No weeknote, just a short intermediate signal)

    Please take some 53 minutes and 22 seconds to watch this must see video:

    "No matter the industry, the best and most innovative companies adopt a digital mindset and have an air-tight purpose."

    Posted by Christophe.
  • Weeknote 416-422

    November 11th to December 31st

    We've been careless with our weeknotes – shame on us. The excuse goes as always: too much other stuff on our agenda. Apart from ongoing projects, we started some new ventures and constellations during the last couple of weeks. That said, we're looking forward to a 2014 full of exciting people and projects. Since some of our latest work is currently being implemented, we'll share some more details here soon.

    The most wonderful news first: again, there's a new member to the precious family. Say hello to Johannes' and his wife's little baby boy who was born right before christmas this year! With now four kids among us, we should think about founding our own Kindergarten …

    And some rather unpleasant news: Sthuthi, who worked with us as a Designer since August 2013, is going back to London in 2014. And Arved, who spent six months with us as a Design intern, is also going back to his studies at HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd. We loved to work and spend a lot of time with you – thank you very much for having been here and for everything you contributed. We wish you both all the best for the future and hope to see you again soon. We already miss you now, and it will be even harder once we're back in the studio, waiting for you guys to show up in the morning as usual …

    As a "side effect" of this last paragraph, we're still looking for new Design interns. In case you're interested, or know somebody who could be, please spread the word and get in touch. We're also looking for a UI Designer, we'll put up a job description early next year.

    We wish you a happy new year and are looking forward to see you again soon.

    Posted by Christophe.