18th December 2017 3 minute read

Knowledge sharing: one conversation at a time

Tom Cunningham

Senior Visual Designer

A culture of sharing

Knowledge sharing is in our DNA as a company: we constantly discuss, critique and challenge our ideas together, whether it’s at a whiteboard with post-its or over lunch with post-it shaped napkins. We’re big believers in solving problems together and sharing that knowledge with each other.

Our podcast ‘Conversations with Each&Other’ started as an internal method for us to recap on projects and share insights within our own team in an efficient way. Instead of writing detailed case studies we could quickly sit down for a recap chat on challenges faced, what did and didn’t work and what we learned along the way so others can avoid the same pitfalls. Tricky problems don’t have to be tackled alone and can often be solved over a conversation with experienced colleagues. Or if not fully solved, they can at least lead you in the right direction. Externalising ideas through conversations is an effective way of helping you rationalize and debate with others when the topic is fresh in the mind.

We’ve seen this before

As a design consultancy, we work with a wide range of clients across numerous industries. We are not the guys you call in to just give your website or app a surface level ‘lick of paint’. Our clients have real, thorny business problems that require deep insight and rigorous execution to solve. These are the challenges we enjoy the most. In order to fully understand our clients domain and their customer needs we often spend a good deal of project time on site with our clients; immersing ourselves in the team, their culture and really getting to know the problem space.

We’ve discussed some of these projects on previous podcasts with our clients, such as Philip Murray of Fenergo and Donal O’ Mahony of Fleetmatics. Both discussed the challenges they face growing teams, building industry leading products and how we worked together as a partnership. The lessons we learned as part of working on one of these projects helped influence our approach to the other. This ongoing exposure to multiple sectors helps us to think differently about how we approach problems from one industry to the next. In short; between the team we’ve seen many of the problems most companies face before, and can help fast-track to the right solutions, so we wanted to share this knowledge with others.

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Learning from each and other

One of the key ways we share ideas is weekly internal talks to the whole team: Friday lunchtime is usually ‘ChalkTalk’ hour at Each&Other. We have a number of formats depending on the topic: be it a single 30-40 minute talk on a particular challenge or 3×10 minute talks by different people on a particular theme. The idea is to share our thoughts and get a discussion going within the team. All of this is captured on a number of cameras and mics setup to record, so the ideas can be revisited or shared with anyone who may be onsite with a client at the time. We usually follow on with some form of team critique to thrash out ideas to the challenges. These talks and discussions form the basis of many of the subjects we’ve covered in our podcasts and blogs so far.

3x10

Mentorship

Our team also has internal mentorship programs to further leverage the experience of others. While direct contact with mentors is invaluable, we have also formed ‘mentee’ groups to lean on peers for more support and guidance. This helps create a culture of openness, autonomy and ownership, which helps us to grow together.

When working on a wide variety of challenges it makes sense to draw from your colleague’s experience to give you the benefit of the ground they’ve already covered. Good conversation is a great way to do that: learn from each other, debate ideas and share the ‘hive mind’ of knowledge within a team. So, we hope you enjoy our conversations on designing for people and business.

Be sure to check out our ‘Conversations with Each&Other’ podcast to hear our thoughts. You can subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Illustration by Tom Cunningham

 

Coming soon: from prototype to podcast

In the next blog post, I’ll talk about how we used our design process to prototype an MVP podcast, improved the production quality and created unique music from the sounds of our new studio in a listed building full of character and heritage.

office sound 1