Meet Ollie Vergo

In the People of Fonk you will get an insight about the the people behind our work. We welcome any bright minds into our brave and playful family. This week our very special Design Strategist Ollie, is in the spotlight.

Hey, Ollie.

What’s your role at FONK?

“Design Thinking Strategist, tackling the fuzzy front end of app design development. What that means is: often clients come to us with an idea, but they haven’t pin down the specifics and it’s still quite broad. My role is to facilitate a working group of designers, developers and the client themselves to both challenge and develop the initial idea. Through the co-creation workshops we can leverage the skills and experience of everyone in the room to design a better product.”

Can you tell us a little bit more about ‘Design Thinking’? Why do we use this methodology here at FONK?

“Design Thinking is a human-centered methodology for innovation. It means that we put people at the heart of everything we do. It means that instead of designing “products” we think people want, we go out and speak to real users to gather stories and insights which help us determine what their needs are. That way, we can build products which are both desirable and differentiable in the market. “

How do you differentiate your Design Workshops from other possible design methods?

“Often, agencies and designers create persona’s as a first step in their design process. However, these persona’s have been imagined by the product team who have a certain way of thinking and seeing the world build of assumptions. The thing that makes FONK different, is that we speak to real people who are potential users and test our prototypes with them in order to get feedback before developing the actual product. The other thing that set us aparts is — we include the client every step of the way as they are part of the co-creation workshops.”

How is it to work directly with the client in those Design Workshops?

“It is always exciting to work with a client on their idea through the creative process. Every idea is different and comes with its own challenges. It is a great opportunity to learn and contribute to new areas of interest. The challenge often comes when clients are very attached to their idea and protective of it. My role as a facilitator is to marry the clients vision with the needs of users and the feedback we get from the market. Sometimes it is important to let go of our initial ideas in order to create something truly amazing that people will use.”

What’s your favourite thing about being a Fonk employee?

“First of all, we have a fantastic creative team of passionate and talented individuals. We’ve also got a very amazing space which inspires creative thinking, for example you can draw on the walls, play pingpong or hang out at the lounge area if you need a break from your desk. I also love that I can bring my dog to work and that the office is a 10 minute walk from my house. We are also very spoiled with Namhla making lunch for us. So it feels like a home away from home.”

What’s your favourite spot in or around Cape Town?

“The rock at the end of ocean drive above Bantry Bay. You can see the whole twelve apostle mountain range and watch the sunset over the sea. I like to take a bottle of wine and some snacks, see sunset while enjoying silence or great company.”

What are you absolutely determined to do?

“I’m determined to travel more, travel to South-America, Indie and Japan. I also want to learn another language, probably Spanish. And I also want to educate people in new way of thinking about solving complex problems, so I think I want to find a way to bring in the creative arts into adult education.”

If you could advise your 10-year younger self, what would it be?

“Don’t take life so seriously, don’t worry about the future, just focus on what you are doing now. Take care of your friends and relationships, always curious and learn as much as you can. Remember to ask yourself: “How can I be of service and add value to the world?”

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

“Writing letters, journaling and listening to vinyl records”

“What is the added value of a design thinking thinking approach to product development?”

“Truly understanding our users, understanding the task at hand. It allows you to prototype quickly and to fail early and often. So it encourages failure through multiple iterations of basic prototypes which doesn’t cost much time or money.”