How We Made Our First Offline Design Critique Work Wonder
3 tried-and-tested secret tricks that bring our Product Design Chapter closer than ever.
COVID-19 protocol disclaimer: We took the safety of everyone seriously. All of the team members were required to take the PCR test before we departed. We also encourage them to stick with the health and hygiene protocols by providing face masks and hand sanitizers around the villa.
Before the pandemic, no one would ever think that fully working from home was plausible. What seemed unimaginable now has become a routine, and here we are jumping from meeting to meeting online from the luxury of our home.
But humans are social beings, right? Without downplaying our great privilege so far, working from home with minimal offline contact with the team still has its downside. One of them is that many new-joiners during the pandemic have never seen their own teammates, which somehow affects the working dynamic between team members. And that’s exactly what happened with the Product Design Chapter in DKatalis.
We started as a small group and are now a huge team of 22 people across two tribes (PX and Jago) and six clans, even some people have never met their working partners after several months of joining. So, we planned the first-ever Design Critique event offline for 3 days and 2 nights in Bogor to bring people together and give them a chance to see the face behind the screen. Here is everything we did behind the curtain to make this offline event successful and get the team to create a stronger bond!
The Planning: Involve the team as much as possible in the process
It took us several months to sort things out: from choosing the accommodation, planning the rundown, finalizing the budget, and figuring out the transport arrangement. It’s all done by the committees of 6 people that work in pairs to ensure everything is ready and perfect, but it wouldn’t be this perfect without the involvement of the whole Product Design team during the process itself.
We were trying to build the hype for the event and wanted the team to be as involved as possible. However, as previously stated, several team members had never worked with or met each other, so any first meeting was bound to be awkward. To avoid this, we tried to get everyone acquainted before D-day. These are our efforts to make that happen:
T-Shirt Design Competition
What is a team event without the uniform? Of course, we HAD to design our own (and first) t-shirt uniform to mark our first Design Critique. We set up a mini-competition to make it more fun and asked our chapter members to submit their best designs. In the end, we had 6 cool designs and again, asked them to vote on which one to make as our uniform. This competition not only helps to involve everyone but also lessens our to-do list as we also have to focus on the logistical aspect of the event.
The Design Critique submission and Q&A Session
Just as its name suggests, the highlight of our Design Critique event is the Design Critique segment itself and Speak Your Heart Out. Design Critique is where some members can present their features, and the rest can propose new ideas or solutions to challenge the initial presentation.
To make this happen, we need everyone within the chapter to submit the ideas or features they are working on. Then, our Chapter Lead will pick the 2 features to be presented and discussed during the offline session. You can read more about our Design Critique session in this article.
“Speak Your Heart Out” is a semi-work-related event in which we will collect anonymous questions from the chapter members through Slido, to be answered by our Chapter Lead during the bonfire session on the first night.
These submissions allow the team to be involved and participate in the preparation process, increasing their sense of belonging to the chapter.
The Awards: Let the team know that their hard work is not left unnoticed
Everyone on the team has been working hard, and this is something that we want to appreciate. We want to build a culture where it’s encouraged to show appreciation to fellow team members, no matter how small. We started by presenting 4 awards that each represents the DKatalis values:
Representing the Life Centricity value. This award is dedicated to the person with the biggest empathy for our users, in terms of acknowledging, analyzing, and even not being afraid to put her/his ego aside to create a more user-centric experience for our users.
Representing the Purposeful Growth value. If there is someone that’s always full of curiosity to learn something to the point where s/he becomes the master of everything, then this is the award for her/him.
Representing the Fearless Creativity value. Have you ever met someone so reliable, knowledgeable, and critical that they become your go-to person to discuss EVERYTHING? Her/his ability to think creatively and solve even the most complicated problems is the inspiration behind this award.
Representing the Empowered Agility value. As if s/he was born to be the leader, the Chameleon award winner is someone who can position her/himself in a fast-paced environment, including adapting to sudden changes or demonstrating problem-solving skills during the most challenging times.
The Game Night: Ditch the boring ice-breaker, opt for the out-of-the-box instead
When you think of team-bonding events, you will immediately think about games. But forget the awkward ice-breaker, we prepared the whole series of fun mini-games instead. This also includes some fancy and latest game consoles like PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
So, what are the games that successfully filled the villa with laughter?
- Unison in Gesture: The game master will give a keyword, and the team members will have to strike a pose based on what they think about the keyword.
- 5-second Summaries: This Jimmy Fallon-inspired game is so simple, one of the team members has to summarize the movie title within 5 seconds, then the rest of the team will guess the title.
- True Confession: One team will choose another team as their opponent, and each team member will have to tell stories about them. The story doesn’t have to be a truth, meaning you can tweak or completely make up a story to tell during the rounds. Then the opponent will have to guess if it’s a true or false story!
- Pass the Ticking Bombs: The representative of each team will sit in a circle and will be given a timer. The game master will set the timer and give the keyword. The participants have to shout a word related to that keyword, then pass the timer to the next player. Whoever holds the timer when it rings loses the game.
From seeing each other online to spending two nights together offline, we are so proud of our Product Design Chapter’s teamwork so far and hope this bond will be nothing but get stronger, so we can collaborate more effectively and achieve more in the upcoming years.