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?
Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.