2021 reflections

It’s official, the year is ending and in Australia we are entering the time vortex I call our ‘Christmas Cadence’, that is either winding down or cramming to fit everything in before year’s end. I think at this time it’s important to reflect on your year. What has been great this year? What has been horrible? And, what happened you didn’t even give a passing thought to?

It has been a year where we’ve had some great challenges, but also where some great things have happened. I’d like to focus on those, the things we did as humans we can look back at and smile.

For me the year started with a project that, in December, we agreed could be held until next year. It was a project we had run two times previously for the same client, sitting in a room listening to thoughts and working with a team to design a change in a system. Looking back, I see how my team of designers heard viewpoints which challenged them and worked with a cross-functional team to redesign that system. It’s not often you can work with a national brand to improve their system for all. My first reflection is this, look back at those moments we thought were just normal everyday things and appreciate them.

I had the pleasure of working with a national retailer on the design of their stores. A project which will stick with me for years. I observed how people shopped, their habits, and how they formed those habits. The client, to their credit, was excited. They wanted to be challenged, and challenged they were. We locked their team away in a room with edge users and told them, ’fix it, fix it, fix it’. And they did. They walked away with some 40 problem areas and brilliant ideas to correct them. The ‘fix’ is slow. Years ago, I would’ve wanted it to be an instant change. I now realise how important it is to take these things slowly. Sometimes you don’t want to accidentally cause more problems by rushing to a solution instantly.

The team has worked on some incredible things. Like, working with a medical device company to change their physical design for some of their products, with Federal Government on their processes around travel, and working with the education sector to better design information for those leaving school. All of those projects have a great footprint for impact. Even the uncool ones are still impressive. Whether it is researching the uses for a Federal Government website to change their development roadmap to be more inclusive, working on disability employment research to feed into a larger project, or helping develop an onboarding system and develop personas for future improvements for a multi-national. All of these are incredibly impressive. Years of being neck deep in research I’ve never looking up to see how impressive the work truly is. However seemingly minor, all our work has impact and it’s what I thrive on.

One of my biggest reflections of this year is just how lucky I am to have an amazing team. They are infinitely intelligent, and I am actually in awe of their thinking. They are calm, measured and exact when giving feedback to clients and working on difficult situations. I don’t believe in ‘taking a chance’ on someone in the workplace, I want them to take a chance on us. Let CfID prove to them why they should want to be a part of this team. Maybe this is the reflection, that I am blessed to have my team because they chose CfID to be worthy of their time.

So those are my reflections. Appreciate the everyday more, realise good design takes time, impact is important, and recognise how lucky it is to work with amazing people. Have a safe holiday period and I hope to see everyone again in 2022. Let’s make 2022 a chapter in the history books of the future.