A triple whammy of backed-up weeknotes.
Sundays are generally far too busy to be able to decompress, wind down and write a comprehensive recap of the past 7 days. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. Weekends should be for 'relaxing' but in reality weekends are for family time. If as a family we're able to maximise that time right up until the end, then so be it. I've realised I'm going to have to put the frequency anxiety aside and just do weeknotes when I can.
The irony here is that 3 weeks worth of recapping seems far too much to handle. Most of May has been a bit of a blur both at work and outside of it, compounded by some office plague that decimated most of the ranks, myself included. There's something really frustrating about getting a bug in Spring/Summer as it seems incredibly unfair when the sun's out, birds are singing and the like.
At Clearleft we're resurrecting our internship program. I've got a lot of sentimentality about this, seeing as one of our most productive and fun hack farms (2014?) was when we had the company of a roboticist, an industrial designer and a communications designer. Their skillsets (the former two were way outside a digital agency's realm) created a raft of new ideas, concepts and approaches which were all hugely refreshing and rewarding. The end result was chune.co.uk, a social music speaker that allowed a social group to tap their devices to the speaker to inject their own personal music preferences to a playlist.
That program was followed a few years later by an equally interesting trio who created (after many a pivot ) Notice, a way to share news, updates and planning applications with engaged citizens. This trio were no different from the first, bringing energy, enthusiasm and fun into the office.
So we've decided to do it again. If you're reading this and might be interested, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week I attended Product Tank, Brighton and was struck by how much of the session was steeped in old (and new) design practices. To me product folk tend to think and speak more about metrics, numbers and releases rather than how they discover and explore new ideas. It's refreshing to see more in-house teams doing more exploratory design through methods like the GV Design sprint rather than assume that's the gift of the design team only.
It's starting to dawn on me just how different Clearleft is these days. When I left the agency it was still growing up, finding its feet. Coming back in and it feels more professional, and more balanced. Grounded, even. I'm not going to lie, I think a huge factor is the fantastic gender split, but also my perspective has likely changed due to my new role.
As a 'Director of New Business' I'm at that focal point where we can shape the kind of work Clearleft do as an agency. I've never seen the role as 'sales' as such (and never will) but instead ensuring we offer the best value to clients who are like-minded, ambitious and open to new ways of working.
I get asked a lot since the role whether I miss 'design'. Of course I miss being deep in Sketch, fastidiously creating nested symbols and designing 'delightful experiences' for humans, but on the whole I am very much still designing. The difference now is that the design is a bit more meta. I'm helping design engagements with clients that will help them get to where they need to be. That includes designing the approach, the processes undertaken, the outcomes and how we'll deliver real value, as a partnership rather than a servant/master relationship.
Frankly, I'm loving it. As for sketching user flows, exploring design directions and the like... I'm pretty sure I can manage for a while yet.
May 22nd, 2019