Working with Comuzi

Ryzard Akita
May 8, 2019 · 3 min read

Two months ago I had the pleasure of working with Comuzi on a service design project for Waltham Forest Council. The aim of this project is to improve the opportunities of young people within the borough. This was a 6 week intensive set of sprints, and boy oh boy did we create content. I’m honestly surprised at how much work we managed to produce in such a short amount of time. This is a true testament to Comuzi’s working ethos and commitment to upholding professional standards.

Now this was the first time I worked on a public sector project, so at first I did feel a little bit like a fish out of water. However, Akil, Alex and Richard did an awesome job on-boarding me; introducing me to the living deck and managing my expectations of what this project will look like. They very much had control of the design flow, which I will go more into in this blog.

Watching Akil and Alex work was quite inspirational, many freelancers can tell you how easy it is to get overwhelmed by a client. Comuzi from start to finish efficiently managed the Council’s expectations for the job, getting everyone on the same page. Speaking to Alex and Akil they pretty much said to me that this work flow was a ‘product of many failures’. This project was the most time I’ve spent with these two and it was amazing to hear their story and how they came to work on projects like this.

Now, I passively mentioned the living deck, but I’m bringing it up again to give it the respect that it’s due. *Clears throat*. THE LIVING DECK CHANGED MY LIFE. All jokes aside this way of working makes so much sense, I’m honestly confused why other studios/agencies aren’t using it, or why I never found this sooner. If you’re unfamiliar with the living deck it’s essentially using Google slides and updating it everyday (like a timeline) with pictures, notes, learning and designs then sharing it with your client. That’s it. A super simple concept but the level of transparency it gave to the project is brilliant. Alex and I used this living deck religiously during this project, so much so we had nearly 300 slides in total. We used this deck to give context to people we were speaking to during user research, align other council members and even create presentations when we only had an hour to do so. A life saver, you’re welcome.

Overall, I took many lessons from working with Comuzi, but there was one lesson that stood out most of all. Working in the same space as these guys I always used to wonder why they always looked so fresh and clean. If you know me, you understand when I have a heavy workload a trim is not my top priority. Lord did I learn my lesson, many photos were taken of me that I will not be revealing to the public. On a serious note, it was an awesome time working for and with young people, although there’s so much more to do this project gave me a sense of accomplishment. I look forward to working with Comuzi again, and in the words of Alex Fefegha ‘IDEO would be proud’, peace.

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