CONNEC

PRODUCT DESIGN | 2016/2018 REVISED   

How will creative work environments enhance collaboration in 2025?

About

A 14 weeks group project to explore the future of workplaces. CONNEC, is an office landscape for creative work environments with an operation system embedded inside to enhance collaboration and foster innovation.

Date

2016 Summer
2018 Revised

Tool

Sketch/ Principle / Illustrator / Photoshop / After Effects

My Contribution

User Experience Design
Storytelling
Visual System
Motion Design

Team Members

Kesu Wang
Harry Teng
Jean He

JUST SAYIN'

We are proud that this project was built with foresight prior to the Google Jamboard and Microsoft's Surface Hub.

01. OVERVIEW

Creative working environments for enhancing collaboration and fostering innovation

Collaboration should not be exclusive to conference rooms or desks; it should happen everywhere.
CONNEC is a comprehensive enterprise solution for creative work environments to enhance collaboration and foster innovation, starting with physical office furniture and collaboration tools like Totem down to integrated software on mobile and desktop.

02. GOALS

Business Goal:

Conceptualize the phy-gital (physical & digital) working environment to capitalize on a blue ocean opportunity in better collaboration tools and environments. 

Product Goal:

What do a creative working environment need for enhance collaboration and foster innovation?
How to help individual creative to work more efficient?

CONNEC Mobile-Project Section

CONNEC's Project Section gives users access to big-picture project overviews, team contributions, and a decision tree. 

CONNEC Mobile-
Task Section

In the task section, users can easily access, add, and adjust tasks in different categories.

CONNEC Dashboard-Project Section

Like the mobile version, CONNEC's project section dashboard gives users access to big-picture project overviews, team contributions, and a decision tree. Additionally, users can also send comments or share files to update or inspire the team. 

CONNEC Dashboard-
Task & Personal Channel

In the dashboard, CONNEC provides flexibility for users to customize their tasks and create a personal channel for each task or project documentation. 

Seamless Communication Digital Experience

CONNEC Totem could help the entire team discover, exchange, and empower their creative collaboration, such as planning, comments, sharing ideas, etc.

Use Totem

Drag the contents that you want to share with others.Save the inspirations that you inspired by others.

Shareboard Experience

Shareboard is a public display where team members could share and find inspirations, ideas, and thoughts.

-> CHALLENGES

01. Generative Research
02. User Research
03. Design Solutions

How do current creative workplaces operate?

What do productivity and collaboration mean to a team?

What is the more efficient way creatives to interact in the workplace?

01/01.

Team collaboration tools allow us to process, manage, and share document or files between cross-functional teams, and are needed more than ever.

01/02.

Potential Market

The global team collaboration software market size was valued at USD 9.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% from 2020 to 2027.

*Grand View Research

01/03.

Physical & Digital Based Products

There are a lot of different collaboration tools for the design studio. Meanwhile, furniture companies are also creating physical places for a better working environment.

01/04. What if...

What if a system could combine physical & digital space

There are a lot of different collaboration tools for the design studio. Meanwhile, furniture companies are also creating physical places for a better working environment.

01/05. Position Metrics

Physical Based Products

There are a lot of different collaboration tools for the design studio. Meanwhile, furniture companies are also creating physical places for a better working environment.

01/06. Position Metrics

Digital Based Products

There are a lot of different collaboration tools for the design studio. Meanwhile, furniture companies are also creating physical places for a better working environment.

-> CHALLENGES

01. Generative Research
02. User Research
03. Design Solutions

How do current creative workplaces operate?

What do productivity and collaboration mean to a team?

What is the more efficient way creatives to interact in the workplace?

02/00.

Collaboration in creative workplaces (ie., design studios) is more than communication. It's about affecting creativity, ambiguity, and productivity. 

02/01.

Different roles involved in a creative place

In order to understand the unique needs and workflows in a creative workplace, we interviewed four different roles.

02/02. Interview-Individual

Individual Contributor's Workflow

Justin Babikian,
Product Designer

Love to learn from and work with different people.
“I enjoy learning from my colleagues. But sometimes, it’s so hard to work with others teams such as marketing due to our different working languages.”

For individual contributors,
they need

- Project based working style
- Time tracking
- Working progress sharing
- Inspiration sharing
- Group message/feedback

02/03. Interview-PM

Project Manager's Workflow

Babette Strousse,
Project Manager

Humanities & sciences product designer, worked for Noika and Nike as global director of operations.
“As a manager, before starting a project, I need to find the right candidates. I also have to control budget as well as each project’s process.”

For project managers,
they need

- Different groups development
- Team tracking by individuals
- Document charging
- Task resourcing
- Project time management
- Budget / balance control

02/04. Interview-The third party

The Third Party,
Other Collaboration's Workflow

Siwei Wang,
Project Manager

VP of WELLDESIGN Studio in Beijing, collaborating with designers across the world.
"I work with designers across the world. It's hard to deal with different working styles and time zones."

For the other Collaborators,
they need

- Project involvement
- Time difference
- Information sharing
- Progress checking

02/05. Interview-The Whole Team

The Whole Team's Workflow

ACBA Team

ACBA | ArtCenter Branding Atelier 2016
“We share, update, and align our work on time.”

For the whole team, they need

- An easy way to share inspiration
- File / conversation track back
- Documents folder
- Goal / Steps alignment
- Budget / expense alignment
- Schedule planning

02/06. Workflow Overall

See the connections between each roles

By overlapping each point from the diagrams, we could get a mess overall workflow diagram.

Mess Team's Workflow

02/07. Workflow Overall

The Overall Workflow Diagram

After cleaning up the mess workflow diagram from each stakeholder, I got this diagram with a more in-depth understanding of each one's behaviors.

The Whole Team's Workflow

02/08. Workflow Insight

Most Frequently Overlapping Functions

By interviewing different groups of target users to understand their workflows and user needs, we found there are five functions that our users would all like to access quickly.

02/09. Quick Access

Accelerate Workflow

Side buttons embedded in the desk surface give instant access to any crucial point of the work.

02/05. Generative Research & Design Report

Understand how digital and physical environments could influence creativity, communication, and collaboration.

02/08. Insights & Criteria

Disconnection

There are disconnections between each project phase because people cannot see the entire evolution of the project.

Big Picture

Allow everyone to see the entire evolution of a project and understand on an equal level.

Miscommunication

There is a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding when exchanging information.

Clarity

Eliminate any possible ambiguity in communication.

Isolation

People are often intimidated to approach others and don’t feel like they can freely share their thoughts and give feedback.

Sharing

Allow people to feel free to engage and share their thoughts and give feedback.

Self-Limitation

Many people feel limited because they aren’t able to express themselves freely.

Adapting

A configurable system that encourages coworkers to show freedom and personality.

-> CHALLENGES

01. Generative Research
02. User Research
03. Design Solutions

How do current creative workplaces operate?

What do productivity and collaboration mean to a team?

What is the more efficient way creatives to interact in the workplace?

03/01.

Office landscape hardware and software system designed to enhance collaboration in the workspace.

CONNEC Mobile App Highlights

03/03. CONNEC Totem

CONNEC Totem Knows

CONNEC Totem is your personal ID to initiate the system. Each color represents an individual.

03/04. Totem Gestures

Right Move
= Go Forward

Right Move = Go Forward

Hold + Right Move
= Save File to Personal Channel

Hold + Right Move
= Save File to Personal Channel

Left Move = Go Back

Left Move = Go Back

Swipe Down = Delete

Swap Down = Delete

03/05. Totem Freehand

Seamless Communication Digital Experience

CONNEC Totem could help the entire team discover, exchange, and empower their creative collaboration, such as planning, comments, sharing ideas, etc.

03/06. Totem Freehand

Use Totem

Drag the contents that you want to share with others.Save the inspirations that you inspired by others.

Shareboard Experience

Shareboard is a public display where team members could share and find inspirations, ideas, and thoughts.

03/11. Hardware

Hardware Set

Team Shareboard

A boundary-less platform for sharing inspirations and progress.

Hardware Set

Personal Desk

Track your progress and quickly swipe information to a colleague’s desks.

Connec Seat

Simple seat to encourage conversation.

Peg Wall

An expressive environment promotes individuality.

Connec Divider

Configurable divider for improving concentration and privacy.

Right Move = Go Forward

Next Steps

1. Emphasis on remote working environment.

Because of COVID, working environments will be remote and more flexible. CONNEC can develop features that adapt to different remote environments such as at home, taking care of kids, and unstable wifi mode.

2. Develop more freelance-driven functions to match the future needs in the creative industry.

Freelancing continues to grow in popularity, and is estimated to be $1.2 trillion economy in the U.S. We need to develop more freelancing-friendly functions to help the team leaders organize project-based teams quickly and enhance team relationships with stakeholders.

3. Explore the new opportunities of meetings in office and remote situation

We plan to keep improving the meeting section of CONNEC's design by exploring new opportunities for team meetings under different environments and wifi situations.

4. Explore roadmap for CONNEC set

In addition to the current products, we have more ideas to concept and design out for a comprehensive creative team/office with different perspectives such as clients' sides, supply chain stakeholders, and other related teams.

Reflection

1. Sketch out everything to reduce ambiguity

It was my honor to work with my teammates, who are first-class of industrial designers. So, when creativity is the team's foundation, it is crucial to visualize every idea, no matter how small it is. Communication is the key to teamwork, but it is essential to sketch out details, thoughts, and unclear points for excellent design team communication.

2. Work hard, play hard, and aim for the "best," and don't take critiques personal

In order to create something new and extraordinary, we pulled all-nighters, disputed ideas, and worked through disagreements. Through all this, no one took the disagreements or criticism personally. We critiqued each other's plans but not each other. Because of this respectful working relationship, we grew a lot as design professionals.