On the collaborative development of a year clock for Migri board meetings
Some time ago we were working on a project to develop tools for decision making. The project is called RIDE, right data for the right decisions, but we are not developing it further currently. As part of these tools, we needed to better understand the topics that the Board of Directors discusses at different times of the year. The idea of the project was to create tools that could provide data for decision making, in relation to the topics discussed in the meetings.
During a couple of board meetings in autumn 2017, we created a template for the year clock using post its notes.
In our year clock each month is represented by a part of a circle. Each participant added what needed to be discussed each month. The idea was to only add topics that need discussion at the same time each year. Our intention was that the topics in the board meeting were guided by the year clock. If, for example, in one meeting there were too many issues to discuss, items in the year clock should be prioritised.
The year clock was drawn (see image) specifying which were the topics that were only for information and which were the issues that needed to be discussed. After making this version, in winter 2017/2018 each manager participating in this meeting received a printed version of the year clock and a digital version was shared, too. This clock was used by different units to schedule their activities. We noticed that even after we moved from other premises to our current ones, the year clock posters were still in use.
After a year of the creation of the first version, the board needed to update the year clock. So, we organized a 15min session to gather new information about the year clock. We printed the poster and asked for additions/editions. We drew a new simpler version. This time, we made in addition to the the year visualisation of a round clock and an excel version indicating start and end dates of each activity.
Finally, we converted the year clock tool into two files (one Powerpoint and one Excel) that every member of the board could edit and use in their own way. This was the simplest way, but not our first option. Why? Because we are used to work with drawing tools and know how to use them. In this case, we did not realise that by using our tools we are excluding our colleagues to participate in the process of building the year clock together. There is also a benefit of having only one team that can edit the year clock, which is that there are not many versions circulating in the organisation. But if everybody using this file agrees in updating his own version to the folder where we maintain it, this is not anymore a problem. On the contrary, in this way we ensure that the year clock is updated permanently and there is not need of sessions for update it yearly.
In another project done in collaboration with the customer service unit, we have also walked the same path: first we started by drawing in InDesign and we finally adopted Excel as a way to include others in the team in the process of collecting data and visualizing it. We believe that in future projects, we need to start from choosing shared tools from the beginning and we wanted to write this blog, in order to remind ourselves the lesson learnt: Most of the time, best tools are shared tools.
Even though the most ambitious set of tools as part of the RIDE project, were not developed this simple one, the year clock, was useful and it supports the collaborative work of the Board of Directors. It is useful because everybody can edit and update it. And as the designers involved in the process of developing the year clock, we are happy to see it flying out of our hands and getting its independence.
Authors: Mariana Salgado & Suse Miessner.