Fixing Things

As a designer and passionate creator I’m slightly obsessed with finding problems and fixing things. At times I might come across cranky while using a microwave, irritated when reading a restaurant menu or just flat out furious when dealing with remote controls, but I’m ok with that, you can’t fix problems you don’t see. In this post I want to share with you a weekly habit that Melissa and I have adopted, which thankfully has allowed us to spot problems and take quick action.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” ~ Albert Einstein

Here is how it works for us.

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1) Survive until Friday afternoon

The meeting is designed to reflect on the weekly progress so we have it every Friday afternoon with a beer in hand (generously provided by our co-working space. Thanks WeWork!)

You will need 30min to 45min, a couple pens, 2 colors of post-its, and a couple glasses of beer. Beer is not mandatory, but it goes down nicely on Friday afternoons.

2) Post-it out

We take 10 minutes to write down on yellow posts-it the good things that worked during the week, and on pink the things that challenged us and didn’t work as planned.

It’s good practice to write a good amount of things that worked to start off with a sense of positive progress but even more important is to think back on all the things that happened during the week and note down what could be improved.

Write down in a very concise way, no need to go in details, just a quick headline that you will elaborate on in the next step.

Here are some examples from last week

  • (Worked!) Finished project x
  • (Worked!) New coffe machine in the office rocks
  • (Didn’t work) Project X client meeting
  • (Didn’t work) Project X presentation
  • (Didn’t work) 1000 emails for X

3) Present

One at the time give a quick presentation of each post-it and place them on the wall trying to cluster them by topic.

Here is how my post-its were elaborated:

  • (Worked!) Finished project x – High five team!
  • (Worked!) New coffee machine in the office rocks – Yay!
  • (Didn’t work) Project X client feedback meeting – The meeting was slow, akward and ineffective.
  • (Didn’t work) Project X presentation – The Skype presentation started 10 min late because of the technical difficulties and meeting energy went down quickly.
  • (Didn’t work) 1000 emails for X – We got into a 12 people cc email for what should have been qick feedack. That qickly grew into a 72 email thread making it pretty much impossible to filter through the actionable feedback.

4) Cluster & Discuss

The leader or mediator of the team analyze the top 1 or 2 problems and together identify actionable steps that can be executed the following week.

The top problems we identified were “Inefficient feedback process” and “Poor presentation start”, and here are the solutions we intended to integrate the following week:

  • Inefficient feedback process – We need have a more structured feedback process, set cleared objectives right at the beginning of the meeting and require unified feedback back (not 10 different opinions).
  • Poor presentation start  – Next time we’ll try google hangout, schedule the meeting 5 min earlier and have set a positive intro.

4) Document it

Write down some place (for us is a Google Doc) the problems and solutions discussed in a list fashion so that you can check back for reference later on AND at the end of each year you can look at the huge list of problems that were turned around and give it some heavy celebraton!

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You will notice that week after week old problems will fade away and new ones will emerge which is a great! It’s called progress! If you slowly run out of problems that means you have an even bigger problem. Not get yourself in situations challenging enough, or not striving enough for improvements.

This has been working very well for us and it’s something we actually look froward to, it makes our progress more tangible, gives us the opportunity to grow faster and have a good beer time on Friday.

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Ignazio Lacitignola

Founder & Designer

on repeat

Ignazio Lacitignola

Founder & Designer

Meet Ignazio, affectionately known as “Igi” to friends and colleagues. An Italian designer, creative and entrepreneur who finds it a bit peculiar to refer to himself in the third person, but he’s willing to do so for the sake of this bio.

From his earliest memories, Ignazio’s mind has been a canvas of creativity, and his love for digital design ignited as soon as he could afford a computer and an internet connection that wasn’t the sluggish 56k dial-up.

Growing up in the less glamorous corners of Milan, Italy, Ignazio defied the odds, earning honors at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti without ever brushing shoulders with the law.

Following his heart’s call, he ventured across the Atlantic to San Francisco, USA, to immerse himself in the startup and User Experience world. It was here that he kickstarted his journey with Meno Design, a digital design studio dedicated to distilling complex digital experiences into their essence, while learning through experimentation.

In Ignazio’s eyes, every piece of design is a potential masterpiece, an artistic expression in its own right. His ongoing challenge is harmonizing his meticulous attention to detail, sometimes bordering on OCD, with the practical timely demands.

Beneath his approachable and calm exterior lies a delight of colorful Italian cursing that surface whenever he stumbles upon poor design choices—though it’s worth noting that he’s incredibly friendly, and a simple “ciao” is always welcomed.