.... and over to Nicki:
"Six weeks in and what have I learnt? A lot. And it's been fun too. Here's my take on how ideas are born at Made by Many:
"The main thing I've learnt is that Made by Many isn't just a tagline or catchy company name – products and services really are crafted, designed and built by 'The Many'. I've never worked anywhere where collaboration is such a pervasive founding principle.
Traditionally in the agency model, we'd receive a request for a proposal in response to a brief. We'd craft some kind of outline response and approach. Once appointed as the agency, the planner would disappear into the weird and wonderful world of insight gathering and data mining. This myriad of 'uncovered insights' would then be tweaked and tailored into a creative brief handed down to the design team to get 'creative' with.
Not at Made by Many. Everyone is a strategist, everyone can have a notion, an approach, an idea. There is no lone creative genius, churning out idea after idea. Everyone brings a perspective; not necessarily an insight per se, but a unique understanding, intuition, or some genuine evidence-based knowledge. It's not a linear process. It's a radial process where idea generation is democratic; the innovators and creators are not sitting in silos or separate departments. We're in one room, together.
A project begins with a room full of strategists, writers, developers, service and interaction designers who all have a contribution to make. We can all produce sketch wireframes; we all sit down to sketch ideas in a brainstorm. That's not to say that the designer won't lead the concepting process, or that the developer won't be creating the front-end UI, but we all input. We all bring something to the project. Some ideas are sketched out on windows, others the back of an envelope. No two meetings are the same (although most involve post-its).
In my second week I was part of an initial ideas meeting where we were trying to resolve a paid proposition service. Instead of working out each stage of the journey from registration to subscription (and credit card details), one designer suggested we take a 'Time's Arrow' approach and begin with the end. We forgot about the initial stages and started at the end of the process -- where would people be using this service? On their mobiles, on the bus; on their laptop by the pool on holiday; on the train to Northern Scotland. By creating the contexts in which people would enjoy the service, we were able to figure how they might get there. We all considered and sketched three scenarios, which we then grouped and prioritised. 60 minutes later we had a multitude of ideas. And, it was a lot of fun to be part of.
Perhaps that's the most profound learning I've chanced upon here---working with The Many is inspiring and fun, and it's a completely collaborative process."
... and now back to our hostess:
Thanks Nicki. I like reading about another person's take on something I've come to take as a given. We are indeed uber-collaborative and it is a uniquely challenging and rewarding way of working. (The smartypants in me might point out that even blogging is a collaborative process here... but that'd be cheeky.)