“Let’s create!” – that was the motto of our big design camp in 2022. For one day, our Berlin and Swiss experience designers took a break from their daily business and focused on important topics that will prepare us for future challenges. In keeping with our studio culture, the goal was to inspire each other, learn from each other and grow together as a team. Our great Berlin office provided the ideal backdrop and space for us to play with our ideas.
Good experience design is a much bigger task nowadays than in the past. The field is extremely dynamic, constantly changing, and we have to move agilely with it or even be ahead of the movement and set trends. We can only do that through continuous learning and growth. The morning was a barcamp filled with a diverse program of talks and workshops on the important topics that move our industry: sustainability, design ethics, accessibility, data, UX writing, foldable devices and more. Peer-to-peer learning is an integral part of the IBM iX culture, as it fits perfectly with our agile structures and processes. Employees share their expert knowledge and we help each other grow. In the keynote, Patrik de Jong, Founder of Artificial Rome, gave us an exciting insight into the Metaverse.
After filling our heads with new ideas and knowledge, the afternoon was all about thinking with our hands. Good design is always about creating objects, testing ideas, experimenting, and having fun. Ideas need to get out of your head and become real – so that you can interact with them, so that you can talk about them. And of course this doesn’t happen alone at a desk, but in agile teams with good communication and lots of coordination and exchange.
All these principles are wonderfully reflected in Rube-Goldberg-machines. They are, at their core, large chain reactions and can become very complex, just like the projects we work on every day at IBM iX. Like our client projects, Goldberg machines are made up of different components, moving parts, and sometimes constraints that we as designers have to bring together. Only when all modules work together reliably can the chain reaction run from start to finish and only then can the overall task be solved. Each team was responsible for a part of the machine and had to design it with a lot of creativity in such a way that the chain reaction is passed on to the following team. This only works when creativity, function, and collaboration come together perfectly.
In iterative build-test-learn cycles and with a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, our designers felt their way towards the perfect machine. After several hours of innovative co-creation, the huge chain reaction spanning three floors was executed in a spectacular finale, including live video broadcast and a balloon drop.
In the evening, we reviewed the eventful day together over dinner and drinks. The most important take-away: our great studio culture has survived the pandemic well. It is still the foundation for our work – creative people who can successfully master any challenge together with a lot of enthusiasm.
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