Apply true innovation in the corporate world is not so much a design challenge as much a political one. However, when a well designed product finally gains traction, its truly wonderful to see the impact it has on everyone involved, in terms of both enthusiasm and commitment.
I’ve been in Orange Labs UK for 1 year and 4 months. The focus of my experience here was to refine my soft skills dealing with large teams with conflicting agendas, massive budgets and international products. One of the first things I’ve said to my boss once I arrived was that I wished to be assigned to an ‘impactful project’. One of those which are actually going to hit the market relatively soon and make a difference. I cannot get into detail, but my request was fulfilled rather quickly and two months in I was eventually assigned as mobile expert with the UX Principal on a major project – the second biggest in the lab – then after 4 months I took over as design lead and successfully delivered our solution to the client in time and within budget, as well as within my quality standards. This has been possible only thanks to the commitment of several colleagues – for which I am grateful – that helped me push through some of the toughest moments. Anyway, what we delivered was not just a conservative iteration, but a complete redesign from the ground up. A four to five years leap forward compared to previous solution, with headroom to spare as far as future extensibility. The client stated in multiple occasions, even with out General Manager, that is most impressed with my work and is delighted of the outcome, while the app is going to hit the market somewhere around Q4 2015 / Q1 2016 when will be one of the primary touch-points with the brand with a potential customer base of 5 to 6 million customers in the first couple of years. Everyone is very proud of what we achieved considering the small size of our design department. Definitely a success story for the Lab.
As you might imagine, in a quasi-agency environment, I didn’t have the luxury to dedicate myself only to one project. Especially in the first half of 2014, I worked on several diverse projects, mostly as lead designer, delivering either responsive websites, native apps, or pure concepts, in most cases defining the UX and the art direction, with or without the help of contractors with or without user testing involved. One of my major interests, as far as research, has been Big Data, and how to extrapolate from analytics useful insights about the real effectiveness of a product. In fact sometimes in big corporations excessive optimism is deceptive, so I find extremely useful to always rely on dependable data to inform my decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen carefully to what people say, but I only fully trust the numbers and rely on facts to inform my decisions.
Working for Orange Labs was a tough but rewarding experience. Acting as design lead, art director, strategist and diplomat working closely with teams locally and abroad on a scale I was not used to proven to be touch challenges, but ultimately, with the help of a very talented management, I was successful. All of the project I was involved with received praise both internally and from the clients, and In the process I always hit the goals I was supposed to. Overall a very positive experience that prepared me for future challenges.