Strongly inspired by design thinking and a desire to enhance the interaction between employees, digital design agency Spring/Summer has developed a new method of unifying their working process. We hereby present The Involver.
Lemon yellow, soft pink, light grey and pastel green. These colours are delicious enough to get your mouth watering. The only obstacle might be the non-edible paper they are printed on. These printed cards, with titles such as ”Sprint”, ”Milestones” and ”Project details”, are spread out all over the long table in the meeting room of Danish digital design agency Spring/Summer, located in Copenhagen. Wrapping up these project elements in colours and cards forms the basis of The Involver, where the cards are used to create a common process of working within Spring/Summer.
”Working digitally, we are aware of how a lot of good ideas today come through technology. For us, it was necessary to figure out a way to integrate our technological competencies much earlier in our project development – for instance, by interacting with the developers even more at the beginning of a project.”
These words come from Pelle Martin, who is the CEO and founder of Spring/Summer. Originally, his background was as a graphical designer, which is one of the reasons why The Involver is not digital:
”We spend so much time in front of a screen that we wanted The Involver to not only make us interact for the benefit of a project but also to enhance our sense of community and collaboration.”
He admits that the staff were surprised by the analogue approach to ”new” methods in the office, but taking a look around the studio, it would seem that the employees have allowed themselves to be involved.
On each wall, there’s a set of cards indicating a specific project and the different types of sprints, or parts of the project, necessary for this particular design.
The most recent project Spring/Summer has developed using The Involver is a new website for internationally known Danish fashion designer Stine Goya. From here, Own Channel Coordinator Chinie Morgensol, who has been in charge of the process, describes it as an incredibly well structured and very efficient way to work, and also it has been a pleasure:
”It has been a great relief to work with people who has been able to catch all of our creative ideas and at the same time been able to give feedback as well as to challenge us. Never before have we tried to work so dedicated to a timeline divided into sprints, such as the one Spring/Summer introduced to us. Their clear understanding of our universe combined with The Involvers systematic approach to the website development has allowed us to sit back and let them do what they are the best at,” she says.
Prior to the new way of working on the website for Stine Goya, the company used to be involved in more heavy work within the development – but The Involver helped clarify who was doing what and at which point:
”We are especially happy about the process going from the design brief to the actual front-end design. We were introduced to a concept that we immediately fell in love with. This has made it even more satisfying to follow the process of getting that specific concept, with all its tiny, quirky details, brought to life without having to compromise in any way,” she says.
Everyone takes responsability
What Chinie Morgensol mentions as the strengths of The Involver nails the exact reason why the new process has shown itself to be so valuable. At Spring/Summer, Pelle Martin pulls a small smile while he states:
”You might almost call The Involver a symbol of democratic design. The reason we have been able to integrate everything suggested in the design brief is due to the fact that every employee in the project has a voice during the first internal kick-off meeting and the first two sprints: The concept sprint and the first craft sprint, which is a part of the project where we didn’t get everybody involved before – this has made a huge difference. For one thing, it makes all of us know our responsibilities, but it also ensures that we don’t overpromise – because already at that point we will know what’s possible and what’s not,” he explains.
Whether or not The Involver is of financial benefit for Spring/Summer or their clients is too soon to say, but there is one thing Pelle Martin is sure of:
”The Involver clearly states exactly where we are during a process and the expectation in terms of hours, challenges and people involved. This can never be a disadvantage – neither for us nor our clients as the transparency in the process clarifies everything and decreases the risk of unpleasant surprises.”
At this point, Pelle Martin is dreaming about adding an extra layer to The Involver, which he hopes would make people engage even more into a project and with room for more focus and to allow more thoughts and ideas. Something he expects will naturally grow from using The Involver over and over again.