Here I am. Six months ago I set up on my own and loads has happened since then.
Although I was very comfortable in my previous role and I loved the team, I decided that it was time for me to take on a new challenge, to diversify and grow, see whether I can make it on my own.
It was painful at first, and very lonely. I got lost, and scared, and I drifted around a bit.
I feel in a better place now, more self-aware, lucid and ready to share some of the things I learnt and that I am learning everyday.
Design means actively understanding what needs change, and doing something about it
By forcing myself out of my comfort-zone, I had to run a sort of ‘self-discovery' phase.
I had to get down to the bottom of why I needed to change, re-framing where I stand and where I am headed, re-thinking what are the outcomes I want to achieve and how am I going to measure the success of the steps I am taking.
It’s ok not to have all the answers
It has been a steep learning-curve and I am still working out the next steps. There was a lot to take in to start with, and there still is loads I haven’t worked out. These are some of the areas I found myself exploring:
- Starting a limited company, including understanding the legal requirements of running a business as well as building strategies to cope with all things admin
- Understanding and navigating the industry
- Re-thinking how I fit within the industry and the impact I want to have with my work
- Looking after my self-development, getting support and keeping track of challenges and learnings
It is a continuous process, and it requires collaboration
Being on my own, I had to proactively reach out to people. I was never alone and I felt incredibly supported. I still do - thank you to all who put up with my swinging moods, and sorry to those I will bother very soon!
I have been keeping a loose diary, scattered around Evernote and paper notebooks. It is a total mess, but the act of writing it down really helped keeping focused.
There is so much online these days, but I struggled to filter the good stuff out and dig deeper into some of the topics that interest me.
Consequently, I made an effort to meet more people, more often, in person.
I filled my calendar up and worn my researcher's hat. I listened actively to absorb and learn from others, I took notes and munched over my scribbles, played my thoughts back to others. I got lost. I tried to make sense of the mess. I got lost again. I played things back to the people around me because that’s the only way I know to make sense of information and turn it into insight.
As when working on a project, I realised that I can’t work things out in isolation. The simple act of talking through my experiences helped me see through it, map it out, learn from it.
Fighting the good fight
As a design researcher, I am fighting with those that are happy with the status quo. Through research, I collect evidence to create awareness that cannot be ignored when designing product and services that create value, both for those who provide and for those who consume them.
I want to team up with those that share my passion for design as a problem solving force to make the world a better place.
There is no reason to stress out
As when working on a brief, I initially felt overwhelmed by the challenge ahead. I didn't know where I was headed and there was a lot to crack. I've been working hard on refining my strategies so that I can have fun experimenting and learn by being exposed to diverse experiences.
I am taking things as they come, I am building a vision for where I am heading but haven't worked out the exact path to get there yet.
Thank you for reading my reflections, I am looking forward to comparing thoughts and share ideas.