Get under each other’s skins

Deborah Ko DK

A brief look at the importance of collaboration and cross-discipline integration.

Browsing through this article on 4 Myths About Apple Design , it shocked me that not only is there no magical dream team of insane designers or programmers behind Apple’s products, it echoes familiarly to Adelphi Digital’s mantra.

One huge take-away from this article is the power and importance of collaboration and cross-discipline integration. No, they didn’t take some virtuoso designer to tell the techies what looks good and what is functional. They hired tech developers and programmers who inherently love design. Other companies hire Apple designers and realize that they aren’t getting Apple-design quality necessarily, but it’s because it’s the whole team involved that creates Apple-design quality; it’s not the designer’s job alone – the marketing team also helped with the redesign of IOS7 with the design and engineering teams.

Although I’m still a newbie, I would say that one quite unique factor of Adelphi Digital’s culture is its ability to integrate talent. I’m sitting next to a designer and a developer, I ask for help from a user experience specialist, and have a nice single malt with a technical consultant. We are always prodding each other, challenging each other, and more importantly, learning from each other.

This type of learning elevates what we offer to each other and most importantly, to our clients. These are the types of skills that, when cultivated, make us as individuals more relevant in any job that we do. Curating specialists and then encouraging a “jack-of-all-trades” mentality makes us better at what we do.

To add in a bit of nerd for you, much of the research on creativity and these “eureka” moments is often a perspective shift – changing one’s way of thinking and integrating information that does not appear related on the surface. The better we become at integrating wildly different bits of information and see the underlying patterns and similarities, the more we foster creativity. How do you do this? You talk to people that have different knowledge sets than you.

In order to succeed in such an interconnected team, of course, communication is important, but I think what is just as important and often neglected, is personal ownership. One cannot simply say, “I’ll get X team to handle this, I only work on Y.” The idea of working together is to say, “how would X handle this? What would they say about my work? How do I integrate X’s ideas into my Y skills?” We have to always remain in each other’s heads to challenge our own work.

So go ahead, get under each other’s skins. And as a psychologist, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be in each other’s minds. Adelphi Digital should be slightly schizophrenic, slightly “multiple personality disorder”. It’s our unique selling point.

Want to come and meet the team?