Better in a Billion Tiny Ways
Problem 1: As an organisation, Trade Me had made the decision to combine 3 business units (Payments, Marketplace, and Ads). The personal impact of this was that I went from having the responsibility of 1 business unit in 1 office with 1 culture to having the responsibility of how design operated in 3 offices, 3 cities, 3 cultures and 10 designers all working on ultimately the same product ecosystem. I needed to introduce myself and my position as being ultimately responsible for design output from a 100 person department.
Problem 2: As designers and squads there was a history of design being done laboriously with a designer spending great amounts of time investing in solutions with limited visibility across the teams as to if these were appropriate. This was leading to substandard products, increased timelines to deliver, dead ends, and a poor experiences for our users and the teams delivering these experiences.
I booked a 1.5 hour slot in our first department all hands since the merger. Hired a local Wellington sign writer and mural artist to create 3 large canvases (1 for each office) all that included the words from our newly released Trade Me Strategy document "Better in a tiny different way".
Gave a presentation on who I was, my experience, my additional work as an artist, why drawing was a primal tool in effective problem solving, why I was expecting everyone in the company to take an interest in creative problem solving and why it was okay to not be comfortable at drawing.
Gave a stack of photographs of images from our members content and empowered a designer on each table to help the rest of the team to draw these photos, first on practice paper, then on the murals. These were then installed in each office as a reminder that we are all working on the same thing together, with passion and efficiency in a safe and supportive environment.
Post-workshop I've had several participants approach me saying that they hadn't drawn in decades but now we're not worried about doing so. Ideation sessions are quicker, delivery cadence has increased, I'm now more free to do more high-level work safe in the knowledge that myself and my team can deliver quality solutions without time and effort being wasted running in the wrong direction. I received thanks from the CEO of Trade Me when people reported back to him what had happened and the outcomes and I have raised my profile across the 660 people strong organization.
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