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We are Hiring

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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!

What is the Design Agency of the Future?

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.

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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: Design Strategy, Ethnographic Research and 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.

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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?

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

Next to the Skin Technology Showcase: The Process

As you may know from our last post, we worked with ETPL (the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore) to develop 10 wearable prototypes for the Next to the Skin Technology Showcase.

What was notable in this program was not just the 10 meaningful wearable solutions, it was also how design was integrated as a strategic activity in the formation of the program, the way it was run, and the value the program offered the business.

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We kicked off this Design Led Innovation program with a 3-day Design Thinking Boot Camp where teams of investors, designers, engineers, scientists, technologists and commercialization people got together to create a shared vision of what the future of Wearables could be.

A_STAR Workshop Observation Card

We also got the scientists out of their lab and into the field to observe or speak to humans doing what they do best. We gave the participants one of our Design Thinking Tools, the Observation Card, and showed them how to be amateur ethnographers for a week.

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Through this ethnographic activity, we manage to get the scientists and technologists in our teams to shift their thinking from one that is technology driven, to one that is user centered and focused on how their customers would experience the benefits of their technology.

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After that, it was a design implementation activity where we worked with the core team, the scientists, and external industry experts to fine-tune the design of the 10 wearable propositions. It was a fully iterative process filled with mad scurrying and sleepless nights. Luckily we had Apples and chips to keep us sane!

Anyways, this short video pretty much documents the process of how we did it. Do have a look and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below?


Can’t see the video above? Check it out here on YouTube.

Stay tuned to our website for the full case study where we will be showcasing the complete project and the deliverables soon.

Next to the Skin : 8 Weeks, 10 Wearable Concept Designs and Everything Else in Between!

Next to the skin-final

I’m super excited to share that tomorrow marks the launch of one of the biggest projects we have led and worked on to date. In partnership with ETPL, we brought to life The Next to the Skin Technology Showcase where in 8 weeks, we worked with multidisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, and members from ETPL (the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore) to visualize the future of wearable solutions from the eyes of the consumer.

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The result? 10 functional wearable prototypes that are driven by customer insights and underpinned by patented technology. This is Design Led Innovation at its best.

Kicking off the program with a 3 Day Design Thinking bootcamp, the teams rapidly connected data points created from consumer needs, business opportunities, future trends, and technology building blocks to create meaningful wearable propositions.

From then it was an extremely quick iterative process where our team of industrial designers came in to visualize what these propositions could be. After that, it was a close collaboration with the engineers to bring the designs to life as working prototypes.

The 10 designs will be exhibited at Startup Asia Singapore 2014 from tomorrow. However, the exhibition will be open to the public on the 8th of May 2014 from 3.30pm onwards.

Finally, if you are interested to learn more about the designs, do sign up for the free showcase after the public viewing at 6.45pm.

Startup-asia

PS: Do stay tuned for the full case study, videos and possibly daily photo updates!

Design Sojourn Consulting: 3 Years On

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It was just like last year. Sept 27, 2013 came and went while we were knee deep in a room littered with post-it pads of ideas. So much so, that we almost forgot that it’s been 3 years since Design Sojourn became a strategic design consultancy.

Most of the learning we spoke of in our first year still holds true, especially our values and our mission which you see boldly displayed above.

The overall strategy is also still sound and we will continue to follow it. But some of the things have changed, so we will need to tweak the path a little.

Here are some of my reflections and learnings from our 3rd year in business:

1) Running a business is hard. Really hard! It is a non-stop roller coaster ride. As a means to cope, we have decided not to take ourselves too seriously at times. We occasionally even try to laugh at adversity.

At the end of the day, I have concluded that we do not really own our businesses. We are but custodians for a business with a higher purpose to create change for a greater good.

2) We are also very blessed that while we are only in the beginning of the fourth quarter and we have already worked on more projects than our first 2 years combined. Not only that, 45% of our work are with overseas clients. We believe that design can change the world and make people’s lives better, and I am really happy to find clients that feel the same way too.

3) With this huge influx of work, we have welcomed two new members into our team. We are now a four-man strong, highly skilled strategic design team. (Updates to the about page soon.)

4) We have formalized our training and education activities into a new spin-off brand called Methodology. Methodology was conceptualised one evening, over a foot massage and bubble tea in Cebu, to be on the cutting edge of design education and the methodology of doing design.

In Infographics Thinking (31st October to 1st November 2013), our first workshop under our new brand, we have collaborated with creative publishing giant Gestalten, to bring to Singapore Francesco Franchi, a master of information design. In this 2 day workshop participants will learn how to create impactful infographics that can be used in graphic design, visual journalism, and even annual reports. (Sorry, but we are sold out!)

5) After much tugging and pulling we have grudgingly dropped Industrial Design from our range of services and have replaced it with Design Research. It’s not that we don’t do Industrial Design any more; instead we are seeing a greater value in the latter and how it gives rise to presenting design as an ecosystem rather then a series of disciplines. Especially since I worked with the City of Taipei (in Taiwan) to help them re-design one of their streets.

So with these 5 points in tow, it’s now back to “paradise”. But where do we go to next? I do have a plan, but it’s in beta. Interestingly, I think it is this flexibility of being in beta that has really helped us go with the flow and spot these great opportunities when they come sailing by.

Before I sign off, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to all our family, friends, partners, readers and clients who have walked this journey with us so far. Please do keep in touch?

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