What is Collaborative Design and why should you care?
By Sanna Samuelsson
That is a question that Comprend’s Marwin Brandt can answer and this is exactly what he did in his breakout session at Comprend’s "Sustainable Digital Transformation" event in November, where he presented an inspiring and entertaining drawing about the importance of being able to work together in a complex world.
Marwin works as a Creative Lead and has more than 15 years of design experience. Marwin’s work as a consultant has allowed him to work outside of his office, across various locations, and, most importantly, inside organisations. This is where he learned, experienced, and heard the same stories: how design and development just don’t mix very well.
Work better together
Often, development teams won’t know anything about a project until the design files hit their desk. If those design files are impossible to implement, that means the designer must now go back to the drawing board. They’ve only wasted time and must start all over again. To avoid that, designers and developers need to work together from the start.
Design and development love
Designers need developers to bring their work to life. To facilitate this, they must bring developers up to speed early in the project so that everyone is aware of what is and isn't possible. They are both on the same team and should have the same focus: the user experience.
Rules help control the fun
To survive in this complex world, we need rules. As Monica in Friends once said: “Rules are good! Rules help control the fun!”. In a complex world, rules set a framework for action, but they don’t have to be complicated to work:
You must communicate and do so efficiently. Everyone says that they are communicating in their company, but are you really? There are a lot of barriers that prohibit you from doing so and you might not even notice them.
One way to work around this is to provide a platform for sharing information and to use it to define your agenda. Doing so, and having frequently meetings, ensures that everyone is working on the same page and doesn't miss out on any important information. Communication is the start of everything, and only by working together can you avoid potential pitfalls further down the road.
Prioritise establishing the right environment. When everything is set up for you, you are better equipped to do a good job. The right environment isn’t just having good colleagues and decent working hours. The right environment is also to have the right, functional equipment to work with.
You need a committed team to support people performing at their best, both individually and collectively. The relationships that team members develop out of commitment are key to team building and team success.
You need to have trust. You need to trust your teammate, you need to trust the company that you are working at or with, and you need to trust extensively, be they stakeholders or other co-workers. Without trust, you cannot guarantee the right decisions are being made.
Following these simple rules can guarantee a huge win in a designer’s world. When you can solve problems faster and in a different context, when everything is possible because everyone is on board - then you will quickly create value. This means you can deploy much faster, your project will go smoother and your team will build strong bonds. It might sound too perfect, but if you give your team the right tools to work with, you will end up in wonderland.