Creativity is everyone's job

28.06.2017

Digital agency SinnerSchrader Commerce claims creativity should be a basic task of all employees. Tobias Ullrich, Director of User Experience, explains why.

No longer is it contemporary to compartmentalize an agency’s creativity in the form of a creative department to complete successful projects. Creative departments consisting of graphic designers and classic concept developers have seen their day. This is primarily due to the fact that a team working on complex digital products needs to know all that is going on in order to develop innovative, effective and individualized solutions at low overhead. A designer must understand code just as a developer must understand the necessity for design elements. A continuous creative exchange is the best answer, otherwise product results might end up being mediocre, if they are even implemented at all.

This is why we view creativity as a basic task of all employees. For this to happen, the creative department was phased out and with it creativity as a separate service. From now on, every employee is expected to contribute their personal strengths and expertise to creative thinking: developers, designers, UX designers, business consultants, analysts – and even our clients. The entire project team will be working together as a whole from the start.

As a result of integrating developers early on in the process, implementation risks can be made transparent from day one.

It’s a good idea in theory and in practice, too. Initial experience has proved around 20 percent less developer costs. On the one hand, there is no longer any need for project prep and on the other hand, solutions found during development can be replaced with more efficient ones. This saves coordination loops and minimizes potential conflict.

In order for this strategy to work, the rules must be clear. Our approach is as follows: Next to the requirements of our technical departments, the UX team directly surveys the client about user needs. What role does the client play? From the results of these surveys, wish lists are created and prioritized by our clients based on their unique business objectives. A SinnerSchrader Commerce client knows what their users want and with their business sense, they are able to prioritize a wish list for their users – essentially a winning list, prioritized by business value. This in turn serves as a user-oriented briefing for our cross-functional creative process. Simply put: the ideal foundation for our work.

The greatest advantage of this process is that we are all involved from day one. Neither our client nor our team will lose valuable time compiling complex specification sheets or requirement catalogs, which can be problematic to implement. From project start, our designers visually capture our client’s ideas, which are then directly tested by the user. Tangible and accurate. In a sense, the designer is the client’s advocate, because he is responsible for visually transporting the brand. The UX designer, on the other hand, is the user’s advocate, because he creates visual ideas to best suit the user’s needs. Debate is welcome and necessary. In the end, the clients and users are brought so close together, that the needs of both are visible. This is how we figure out where the journey is headed in a short period of time.

Our project teams are now in place to support this process: Nancy, Sabrina, Juli, Sebastian, Scharly and I initiate new projects. We are in direct contact with the client and have an important role as part of the New Business team. Our approach continues to prove right and is winning us new clients. Many new projects are being implemented this way. Our client satisfaction has risen significantly over the past six months.

About Tobi Ullrich:

Tobias Ullrich has been Director of User Experience at SinnerSchrader Commerce with a focus on multichannel e-commerce since 2016. He is a specialist for user-oriented project implementation and highly values agile collaboration between developers, UX designers and business consultants.

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