we_are_hiring

Design Sojourn is an exciting strategic design consultancy passionate in helping our clients leverage on Design Led Innovation to make people’s lives better.

We have openings for Designers or Design Researchers with a strong background in Ethnographic Design Research.

Designer or Senior Designer

– Background in design from any discipline. Degree or diploma accepted.

– At least 5+ years or 8+ years (Senior) with relevant experience.

– Possesses a strong portfolio of projects underpinned by ethnographic research.

– Exhibits a good command of the technical design skills such as sketching, illustration, rendering, 3D CAD (optional) etc. in any combination.

– Please send an introduction of yourself via our contact page. Links to an online CV and/or online portfolio are highly recommended. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by email.

– Unfortunately due to local employment laws, we can only accept applications from Singaporeans and PRs. This role is based in Singapore.

We look forward to your wonderful introductions!

A few simple observations on how you can implement Design Thinking in your or any organization large or tiny. These observations have been validated time and time again during my continual involvement with this activity.

1) The acceptance of Design Thinking is a lot easier when there is a real problem to be solved. If there isn’t one, it helps to talk about Design Thinking in the context of one.

2) Biggest roadblock to Design Thinking: organizations seeing it as a nice to have rather than a must-have.

3) Many of the articles I’ve read about DT misses this point: It is not only about the “who” or the “how”, but also about the “why” and “so what?”

4) Design Thinking lives in the future; hence it is hard to convince the minds that live in the present.

5) Design Thinking is really about applying design strategically across many disciplines and functions. This perspective helps designers be more comfortable with the concept.

6) Not everyone can be a design thinker. The stories I could tell you about trying to convert the unconvinced. Therefore, it is a huge myth when someone tells you that anyone can be a Design Thinker. Well, let me qualify that, anyone can be a Design Thinker if they allowed themselves to, most people can’t move past that. So therefore not everyone can be a Design Thinker.

7) I’ve found that Design Thinking sometimes struggles with credibility when non-designers facilitate the activity. The reverse is also true, in that not all designers are Design Thinkers or able to facilitate Design Thinking activities.

8) Most organizations don’t get innovation. They think it is this shiny new thing that can be sold for a premium. The trick is that most people forget that it is really a positioning play. To be positioned so far ahead that the competition has a hard time catching up. Design and design strategy (or thinking) can help you here.

9) Implementing Design Thinking requires a change in mindset. Most businesses, especially those taller that the Pyramids of Giza, struggle with change. That’s a fact. So when Design Thinking does not work take a look at the talent or the organization’s culture instead.

10) Design Thinking also needs to stop being fluffy and start being results-oriented. Wait, I think we can phrase it better. Design Thinking needs to stop focusing on the process but on the outcome. Yep, make sure there is always one.

11) There is never a 100% success guarantee with the solutions generated by Design or Design Thinking (don’t forget to learn and iterate quickly!). But that does not mean you do not identify your ideal outcomes or define your KPIs (the horror!). Just make sure it is not always about making more money.

12) Finally, Design Thinking is a very uncomfortable activity, process, approach, mindset etc. (pick one?) for many people. After working with a number of clients and also with participants from many Design Thinking workshops, we have found people lost, uncomfortable and sometimes even angry. We should spare a thought for how they feel when we are working with them. Wait; is that not Design Thinking as well?

So what do you guys think? I would love to hear your experiences and stories of how you have helped or led the implementation of Design Thinking in your or any organization. Please do leave your feedback and comments below, thank you!

If you have not already check out this other series of articles on Implementing Design Thinking. (I was experimenting if I should write many small articles or one longer one like this. In the end I just did both!)

Frontview

The last 6 months had been a busy time for the team at Design Sojourn. So I have to apologize for the limited updates on this blog.

One thing I am happy to announce is that we have a new home for our studio. Not just an ordinary studio, a studio we think that could be a model for a Design Agency of the future.

office-view

In the past few years, a lot of changes has happened in both how we offer design services as well as how the industry buys design services.

Not only have design programs with client and partners become more strategic, the design services required have become more multidisciplinary.

With a challenging and uncertain economy ahead of us, a few family, friends and business partners (in that order) have come together to ask what’s next?

How can we innovate and rethink our value to the customer and industry? Here is what we decided:

1) Create momentum in our projects.
Life is short, so when we can, we try to work with the people we like to solve “wicked problems”. And that we have done to great impact. But to do so was challenging as our offices and individual studios were located all over Singapore.

Moving in together will allow us to create a fantastic momentum in all our joint project work as collaborative decisions are now made instantly.

2) Strength in Diversity
We are not just a multidisciplinary, best in class, collective of design studios. Our friendship goes back a long way and we are all technically “married” as we hold physical stakes in our companies.

Moving in together allows us to share the space and common facilities. This means we can keep our overheads low and yet have a collective Agency size of 20+.

There is a lot of value for our customers to be able to tap into this diversity.

We are:

BLACK: Communications, Branding and Interiors.

Design Sojourn: Business Innovation (Design Thinking), Ethnographic Research and Experience Design (UI/UX, Industrial Design.)

METHODOLOGY: Design Master Classes that pushes the practice of design to the next level.

PHUNK: One of Singapore’s most famous ART and DESIGN collective.

TMRRW: Multimedia and Motion Graphics.

3) Stewards and champions of the creative industries in Singapore.

We wanted a studio space that can be a hub of creativity and innovation for everyone. It is a space for us to dream, not only with our partners, but with our clients as well.

Our space is also a place where we will reach out to the rest of the creative industries in Singapore.

We have also worked with architects, web and data visualisation designers, engineers, and even students or apprentices and would like to continue to do so.

conference-room
Meeting in our conference room with the team

At the end of the day, we want to continue to be in the forefront and grow an industry we love.

So, do come visit when you can?

my-desk
My desk. I took the opportunity to throw out all the stuff I don’t need. Simplicity.

We always want the best for our clients, so one of our key business tenets is teach our client’s to fish.

You know the old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

By doing what we do, we get out clients started down a sustainable path of innovation through a change in mindset (or culture), focus and process.

However this may not always be the right way.

I could not agree more with Bruce Kasanoff when he says: “When a person is starving, that’s not the time to fill their head with knowledge. The right thing to do is to first give the person a fish – banishing their hunger – and only then teach them to fish.”

In the context of a Design Thinking and innovation program, clients who are struggling with running their business, or are in the “red” should really consider the innovation “promise” carefully.

The human centric and iterative nature of Design Led Innovation naturally reduces risks in brining innovation to market, but due to the struggles he or she may have with the business, he may not have the mindshare to follow the Design Led Innovation activities through to the end.

Following on from our previous article, this is one of the key reasons why Design Led Innovation fails.

When face with such a situation, Design is first used to stabilise the business with ideas that can be easily and safely implemented. Some great examples include improvements to existing services as a result of customer feedback that was long ignored, or removing things from your offerings that people won’t pay for etc.

After that, Design can then be used to innovate by bringing in a longer-term implementation “arc” that would cover the more radical (and harder) solutions.

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