A couple of days ago, my work-and-life partner and myself celebrated our 16th anniversary. We were also invited to talk at Hyper Island about our learning journey as a design and tech duo.

So we took the opportunity to put together a list of 16 things we have learned together — professionally and personally through those years working together. And as it happens, we split them into steps of 4, as one does when they tango.

4 things we have learned (painfully) about.

“To solve great challenges, break them down in small pieces.”

This goes for tackling a design, tech or concept problem. Things are only big…

It’s an interesting time in the design industry.
Every day brings a new thread, a new discussion or a new rant about what being a designer means. While one part of the design community is obsessing about tools, processes and releasing products to market, the other is compulsively advocating for a seat at the board room table, months of research and testing, and using design as a method to disrupt organizations.

What we are witnessing is the fracture between Design Making and Design Thinking — and hopefully, the long awaited maturation of the designer’s profession. …

“Why am I doing this” is probably one of the most recurring questions in one’s career path. By sitting behind a desk for more than 8 hours a day, a lot of us start questioning their purpose in life and start to fantasize that, maybe, somewhere, there is something else more important that they should be doing.

Except that we don’t. We stay there, in our open space offices, filling excel sheets or designing products that nobody wants or needs, and we blame our insatisfaction on our employers, our industry. It’s their fault if we do not feel complete at…

They are more progressive than you

As I was sitting in a dark room without windows, somewhere in an upscale business hotel in Dubai, I was expecting to get pissed off.

I’m lucky to have done this exercise before…

Reviewing 2 minutes long case studies showcasing pieces of marketing/advertising. Catchy music, funny tagline. Debate. Vote. Repeat. Select the best. Award. Done. This is one of the most exciting thing to do as a creative after all. Weigh the quality of other people’s idea and be jealous of the one you wish you’d had.

And still, usually, at some point, I get pissed off. At the vanity…

We used to have a process.

Another company, another similar statement. When employee X was still there, we had a strong process. As soon as he left, the knowledge went with him. Of course, that person has left files on the server, might have handed over some pieces of their work to a willing colleague and might even have designed a fancy task list they uploaded somewhere safe. All is good in backup land.

But as soon as they got through the door, their legacy disappeared with them.

They are amazing when they are here, simply because they fix things in real time.

You always have…

Zélia Sakhi

Head of creative and design @mobiento. I judge creative work and sometimes teach it too. I write about work but all I care about are cats.

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