A Review of 2010 and My Goals for 2011


What a roller coaster ride it was in 2010? Just as we thought we were getting out the global economic crisis started in 2009 by the Lehman Brothers crash, we were dropped right into a troubled Euro dollar and European Union.
On that economic backdrop, I have to admit that mine was a pretty eventful year. Inspired by Seth Godin’s post encouraging all of us to take stock of what we did in 2010, I’ve decided to share with you some of my more important highlights.
1) Led the team that developed a range of new designs for the 2010 Philips Home Cinema Sound product portfolio. I also helped secure the design direction for the 2011 range as well.
2) Designed, developed and produced the Spaces for Ideas brand of stationary with the iconic Expandable Sketchbook as the brand’s first product. The Expandable Sketchbook has been well received on the Internet covered by sites such as Yanko Design, WFDJ, Not Cot etc., and on publications such as Epicurious and Home & Decor magazines in Asia.
3) The Spaces for Ideas: 2nd Collection was an even bigger roller coaster ride. Unfortunately it has been put on hold indefinitely, but my learning experience after the whole process was worth its weight in gold.
4) Left Philips Design at the end of September 2010 to start Design Sojourn Consulting, a boutique design agency that delivers great design strategies, easy to understand design lectures, and cutting edge industrial design services.
5) Reignited my passion for teaching, by working with professionals and students on design and design thinking. Notable lectures include “Designing Designers” for the Feng Zhu School of Design, “Design Thinking is Killing Creativity” for the Design and Technology teachers from the Ministry of Education, and “What is the value of Design?” organized by the Singapore Government for small/medium business owners.
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Going forward I like to share some of my goals for Design Sojourn in 2011. I’ve split them up in to my lines of business.

Design Sojourn Consulting

1) Find 5-10 really good clients to work with throughout the year. I hope to build a strong working relationship with my clients based on trust, good work ethic, and great communication. I believe it is from such working relationships that the best designs can be created.
2) Continue to build strong partnerships with other designers and build a collaborative work culture. Look out for two exciting announcement in the coming months based on 2 collaborative projects I have been working on!

Design Sojourn Brands

1) Continue to develop the Spaces for Ideas Brand by leveraging from its flagship product, the Expandable Sketchbook. I hope to sell out my entire inventory by July 2011 and then work on an improved version 2 before the end of the year.
2) Look at redoing the Brand’s 2nd collection of products (Storybook and Iteration Book), but this effort will need to start from scratch. At this time, I have a few new ideas that I will be working on with something to show soon.

Design Sojourn Publishing

1) Continue to develop the Design Sojourn blog as an important “home base” for all Design Sojourn related activities.
2) Double my readership by the middle of the year, and double it again by the end of the year. To help facilitate this, I am planning a blog redesign and consolidating a number of blog activities to improve simplicity and focus.
3) With so much diversity in the design blogosphere to compete with, I decided to simplify and center the blog’s activities on its new refined and simplified tagline: “Strategies for Good Industrial Design“. I think this new tagline sums up all my activities in the last 5 years and probably one of the few blogs that is willing to deal with the can of worms that comes from articulating what good design is all about. This direction also aligns well with all 3 of my lines of business.
4) I am hoping to get selected by a great Ad network like The Deck, CarbonAds or Fusion Ads etc. so that I can get more help to pay the bills. This will also allow me to keep blogging while focusing on my consulting side of my business.
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So what about you? What are your plans, goals and targets for yourself or your business in 2011? I would love to hear about them, and I hope this post will inspires you to share. Finally, I would like to thank you dear reader for allowing me to share my design sojourn with you!

Happy New Year everyone, and may your 2011 be your best year yet!

3 Comments
  • deepgreendesign

    January 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm Reply

    Hi Brian. Design is all about reinventing. We are faced with so many innovations and changes. Seems like your 2011 is off to another fresh start.
    November 2nd, 2010 ignited me. As a product designer of a different stripe ( the green stripes ), I have seen that design and culture must adapt like nature to our planets natural designs. I am a huge natural systems design freak! Nature hides many amazing designs: The dragonfly, the orchid.
    On the surface they have beauty, but, that is pure function.
    This is the design I want to grow in my 2011. I have ideas so big and so green! I am not alone. Many see the future.
    It would be fun to see all designers look to the future to find their inspiration.
    No matter how far I look, all I see is natural mathematics systems and the pure elegance of form and function.
    I plan on growing my network, sharing and teaching how to think critically about what green is and what green means to you.
    Enjoy! #iearth1st

  • Lloyd Pennington

    February 16, 2011 at 7:46 am Reply

    Hi Brian,
    When you first announced that you were leaving Phillips and going it alone with Design Sojourn Consulting, I thought ‘at last’.
    I would wish you all the best of luck, but there is a great truth that we make our own luck, so for you I think you’ll be fine.
    No doubt you are well prepared not only for the good times, but also the not so good. those long lonely days that turn into nights in your best efforts to deliver yet more of your great work.
    As for me, well I’m on the road to putting together a collaboration of companies that encompass market, design and ethnographic research; electronic and industrial design; visualization, prototyping, engineering analysis and manufacturing.
    The new company should be up and running in the next couple of months and I for one would be delighted to explore opportunities to collaborate with Design Sojourn Consulting in the future.
    Best regards,
    Lloyd.

  • Brian Ling

    March 7, 2011 at 9:59 am Reply

    @Lloyd: Thanks for your kinds words of encouragement! You venture sounds extremely exciting as well. Please let me know how it turns out as I would love to collaborate. Please keep in touch!

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