The exciting news this week is that terms were agreed on Ashdown. This is a project on the scale of Shownar so will keep us occupied in various ways for at least the next six months. It’s a shame Matt Jones is on holiday this week, as he’s leading it — we’ll have to celebrate once he’s back.
Tom’s broken ground on Ashdown already: the first stage is material exploration, and so there’s data to be ingested and explored by designers.
I had hoped we could coincide Ashdown with another project using similar resources, and take advantage of being able to bring in long-term contractors, but we’re facing the traditional problem: closing deals always takes longer than I think. That’s getting some more of my attention now… how can risk be minimised and the process eased to move toward contract, when there’s investment that needs to be made simultaneously on both sides? I need to learn more about closing, especially in this industry, so any book recommendations or pointers are much appreciated.
That aside, I’m getting pretty confident in the process behind bringing in and balancing client services. Next up is to get as confident about new product development. We’re pretty good at the design process itself – developing briefs and finding the inventive steps – but across many products, there are questions: how much to invest in feasibility; how much should be known at the point of go/no go; how to continue to commercialise ideas. We have limited attention and investable cash, and physical things cost more – in cash terms – than websites, so it can’t be a matter of working late to try out ideas. Schulze made some good suggestions yesterday.
In terms of work: Matt, as I said, is on holiday. Tom has been writing and coding for data exploration on Ashdown. Schulze is split between business development meetings in media design/consultancy (his particular speciality), managing contractors on one product concept, and working on feasibility for two more. He’s in a client workshop with me today. I’ve been chasing invoices and fielding emails this week, and arranging a workshop for next Monday to kick off a two week sprint on a kind of playable demo. There were two talks for me – UX Week last Friday in San Francisco, and a panel at Digital Architecture London on Monday – and that always eats more time than I expect.
As Ashdown gets plugged into regular work, my attention is moving to the next big project to activate, one we call Weminuche.