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Posts from the ‘Work’ Category

Why We Need Less Design “Alternatives”, but More Design Iterations

February 17th, 2017

It’s so familiar in the life of designers, that a coworker, or somebody who owns the project, to say something like, “can you explore more alternatives?”, or “can we present 3–5 alternatives, and let the boss picks one or two?”.

I am one of those designers who believe less and less in “more” and “alternatives”, instead, I believe in a focused yet continuous iteration of one problem or flow.

There are some reasons why design alternatives are bad for the design process.

“Design alternatives” are often insecure, indecisive and wasteful ways of presenting and consolidating on designs.

Consider the following scenarios:

Inability to define priorities. I want to include feature A, B and C. I don’t know which one should be incorporated first. Should I even include all of them? Heck, why don’t we just provide 5 alternatives each sporting different sets of features? Who knows the boss or client might like it?

Lack of user insight. The user might want the ability to shuffle the list of images. Or they might not. Or they might. Heck, why don’t we present 10 alternatives at how we might do this?

Design or product bias. “Well, I did this for my previous company and it worked great!” — well yeah, what about this product you’re doing now? “It certainly is cool to do a visual collage of these! The customers will love it! You know I love it!” —well yeah, are you the customer? Why do you think a visual style works better than the rest? Oh heck, we can always prototype 5 more collage alternatives. Or even worse, “I don’t like this design. Try something else.” OK, you’re the customer.

In the end, presenting multiple alternatives of a design would usually end up in:

Combination fatigue. “Can we combine this cute picture of a monkey with a big type all over it, and then add some augmented functionality in it? Oh, don’t forget that correct blue tinge on the eyes of the monkey.” Suddenly, we’re not speaking the language of the users, but more of personal taste and heavy assumptions.

Micromanagement. Designers have reasons why they do something, be it from technological, cultural or time constraints. It is wise to give them problems, but never micromanage their answers. Even more, if you’re already taking part in nudging or nitpicking the visual elements. Never do that. Depart from the problem, always.

Design by committee. This is the worst, absolute worst thing that can happen in any design or product. While democracy is good, design needs decisiveness and ownership by the designers. There are some design choices that need to be made to assure that the design has empathy to the users, more than the business goals, more than personal goals. And this is achieved by trusting the designers a bit more.

What is a good alternative? Here’s what I am proposing:

Design one thing at a time, then iterate. Depart from clarity, focus, and insight for the users, business and other goals. But mostly, it should be the users first. Create one version of one thing, then explore more at the pace of one iteration at a time.

Set the key question and answer. At the very beginning, set the key question. What am I trying to do? What is the user trying to accomplish? Then, set a few key answers, and follow that strictly.

Focus on the experience, not the visuals. Visuals can come later, and they are the domain of the designers. Focus on the experience, the flow, the information architecture, and nail them down first. Then you can talk visuals.

If things fail and you need alternatives anyway: limit to 2, and be deliberate in the reasoning why you need the alternatives. Never combine features just because you like both things. It has to come from the user’s key question and answer.

Building a Design Culture: An Idea

September 30th, 2016

First up, disclaimer: I had no experience in building a design team from scratch, although I had managerial experience very briefly, and not in a very large team. That said, this idea is something that needs more experimentation and validation. However, I am pretty comfortable at sharing this to you.

I always found that companies everywhere are struggling with the idea of design. They are confused as how design should be positioned and treated. Mostly, they are part of the “production” process in which it is perceived to be a very mechanical mean to achieve something, and certainly, more often than not, they were not part of the stage where a business or product gets formulated. Most of the briefs we have as designers always come from such people called “stakeholders”. They probably had meetings in the ivory tower or somewhere in the mountains and only after they have a pretty solid idea of what they want, they begin to hire designers (and engineers, project managers, product managers, and the whole team saga).
This presents us designers a very nerving situation where our problem-solving skills are limited to answering the client’s predefined needs. We don’t have the opportunity to challenge the needs, the wants and the vision of the “clients”, because, well, uh, they paid us to do this job?
In the end, people always think designers are just the same as mechanics, and even worse, drivers on a car who don’t get to decide where to go. After all, that’s how business works, right? I pay you and you do work for me as I wish!

As a designer myself, I face constant challenge everyday where most of my design work is mostly client-driven, and this thing, although fun in some regards, is highly dependent on the quality of the client and the product. Once you lose passion or face a problem in that particular environment, you are tempted to move on. Thus, many designers I know are constantly job-hopping or going freelancing. They’re on the constant search for that “perfect environment.”

Thus, I am offering a little bit of solution here, both for companies or clients and the designers themselves.
For companies or clients, I think you should provide designers a room for mistakes. Even if you have a solid product idea, expect to get challenged. Challenge is good for your product to be improved. It also shows that your designers get excited and want to contribute more than just answering briefs. Even better: present your design team with a set of problems than a set of solutions. For example:

We need to find a safe & feel-good way to pay online.

That’s completely a different perspective than if we present the designers this brief:

We believe prepaid cards are the best way to pay online. Data X shows this is how it’s done in the US. We want to try here. Can you design an app for that?

The key difference is that one is an open-ended question, and needs research and validations, the latter one is already a conclusive statement (if not to say assumption).

It’s certainly easier to make-pretty a shitty idea, and if the product fails, blame it all to the designers & engineers who “didn’t do a great job”, and continue moving on to the “team search”, than if you engage your team to continually challenge your ideas and assumptions. You’re paying them to make your product better and loved, not to do what you say.

“But, I don’t have time for a trial and error. I have investment money pouring in with a strict schedule.”

Let’s think about this for a moment. This is actually where we all fail. The whole ecosystem is broken. We need to fix it. How do we fix it? By having a decency to convince our investors to have a bit of a breathing space to formulate the best product experience. It’s your job as a stakeholder.

Better yet, a fundamentally good business is always about bootstrapping. Start small. Nobody can build PayPal overnight.

As for designers, it’s our job to continually fight and make things better in every endeavour we take. Sometimes we have to lose it out, but don’t forget that we need to think beyond mechanical work. It is about building our confidence in defining and pushing for the product design process that works and benefits the users at first.

The idea is: A well-designed product is potentially a well-destined business.

Coaching Design Thinking at 1000 Digital Startups Movement

August 22nd, 2016


About two weeks ago I’ve had an excellent opportunity to coach discerning startups on design thinking, based on the Google’s Design Sprint methodology. The startups are part of the 1000 Digital Startups Movement in Indonesia, where Kibar, the organizing entity, aims to collaborate with the government and partners to coach startups into incubation. It was done in Bukalapak‘s headquarter in Kemang.

They feel like there’s a missing link between idea and incubation or funding, which is the coaching part.

Here are some photos from that event.









The Case of Design Sprints

August 14th, 2016

I’ve been following up on the design sprint quite intensively in the past few months, particularly because one of my clients agreed to have it after we offered it, because they didn’t know what to do with their product, and needed our help to jumpstart a revamp. Secondly, I’ve been in a volunteer in a national-scale movement to generate a new spring of startups through a series of mentoring sessions, and finally, incubation.

As a designer, I am sure loving the idea of spearheading design in every possible opportunity, especially the idea of integrating design in the core of businesses. I must say I agree that one of the ways for it is through design sprints. However, I must say that we shouldn’t explicitly conclude that the only way to enforce design thinking is through design sprints, nor the idea that it is just another “gimmicky” effort for make-believe.

A specific counterargument I’ve had about design sprints revolved around the idea that any method or process is useless. You know, that “anti-process” movement. Especially, when you “talk to only five testers in the end,” versus the idea of rolling out a feature or minimum viable product over thousands of users, or doing A/B testing in a quick successive way. That design sprints are a “waste of time”, because “we’ve kind of decided what we want to do.”

I must say this to you: Design sprint is only one method of many. It sprung up lately because it is a very lean activity to jumpstart and validate an idea. As you know, idea is cheap, because most of them are assumptions, and we need to validate those assumptions.

The argument against design sprints

If people argue that “it’s a waste of time” and think they’d rather launch the product first and see the feedback from the people who use the product, then I’d say, be it. Launch your product, and see.

Especially, if you have the time, energy and money to do it.

I suspect Google isn’t trying to force everyone to use design sprints, but I perceive it as a way to democratize design so that everybody in the company, regardless of their roles, can contribute to the design decision. For many years, designers have been in the “sit-in” and silent role. It’s a position where other people constantly question why a design decision made.

Imagine this situation: a CEO comes with a brief for a product concept. He constantly blurbs out amazing data and facts—combined with his enduring experience, most likely 15 years in the “industry”—that this product idea will make the next big thing. Sure, he got that investment money and ready to roll. He just needs everybody below him to see his wisdom and look up to him, and do as he says. The engineers, the designers, the PMs, the business guys, all come in and are obliged to take a nod to the Big Vision.

The “resource” team would do their “magic” and roll things out as the Big Vision tells it. No questions should be asked.

The product launches, after millions of dollars spent, and somehow, it delivers, but only in mediocre scale. What went wrong? “My team is terrible,” I believe that would be somehow in one of those train of thoughts by the CEO.

This is where design thinking should come in and hopefully save the day. The CEO could ask everybody to assess his Big Vision and try to see what would work better. Better yet, the idea by the team then will be validated by the users quicker. From 10 possible directions, they could narrow to 3, and their chance of failure is reduced, or at least, they are trying to answer a better question.

Now, if the CEO doesn’t mind spending millions of dollars to validate his idea, then by all means, skip the design sprint part. I am not going to argue against your business model.

Design sprints have been designed to reduce the wide varying answers for the very basic business & product question: will this work for my customers or people who will use my product? It will not produce the correct one, nor the God-forsaken the destiny of your product, but it will help you reduce your choices into the better ones. Nothing guarantees success!

The 5-day format is also designed so that it can be executed in a short period of time, with the most-readily available tools and space, and with the most compact composition of participants as possible. It is just the right size. It is basically a solid answer to the worry that “design thinking takes a lot of time and my company doesn’t have the time or resource to do that.”

Why is it so structured?

Designers and engineers probably think the way the sprint is structured look very rigid, because they’re used to thinking quickly, acting quickly and the most dangerous thing of all: jumping into solutions and conclusions before understanding the problem. I believe, this also applies to businesspeople as well.

Design sprint is designed so that we can all follow the proper problem-solving flow, one thing at a time, so that we find clarity every single day. It is pushing people outside their comfort zone: the easy way, the jumping-t0-solution way, the non-fussy way. Dive deep into the problem, and let it sink over nights. By the end of the sprint, we all find a common understanding, a common clarity.

It is also structured in a way that it accomodates every single type of personality. Every meeting that I’ve been always focused on the extroverts. The worst meetings are when the bosses are the extroverts. The bad meetings are when one of the staff is an extrovert and he pushes his thinking to everyone. With a voice. So loud. Cutting every conversation. This is truly bad for the team.

Design sprints have varying dynamics of ideation: sometimes it’s speaking, sometimes it silent work, sometimes it’s zen voting an idea. Or, call it “brainwriting” if you will. It makes sure that everybody gets listened to. Nobody gets in a way, regardless of their position in the company. A VP of Engineering will not push his opinion against designers just because he talks louder.

I am thinking that while design sprints are not perfect, and that there are many other methods, they are quite versatile and adaptable. If the team is not comfortable with 5-day duration, I’ve seen cases where people do it in 3 days. Although, I must say that, if your team is just starting a design sprint tomorrow, I’d highly recommend that it will be the 5-day one, and see whether the pattern fits your team. If your team is experienced enough and can think through quicker, 3-day sprints are fine.

Just make sure one thing is being done: validating with customers. Without this, your sprint is just another “self-satisfying” session with no purpose to serve the people who will use your product.

Unless you don’t care about the people who will use your product, or you just have a lot of money and time to burn.

Mentoring at Google Launchpad Week

November 19th, 2015

I had the pleasure of mentoring local Indonesian startups at the first Google Launchpad Week in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Mentoring at Google Launchpad Week Jakarta

A total of 43 mentors and 13 startups attended this event, spread over five days of full-day intense workshop, presentation and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Each day has its own theme: day 1 was product day, day 2 was UI/UX day, day 3 was technology day, day 4 was marketing day and the final day was pitching day. Each of these days had its own dedicated group of mentors. I was in the UI/UX days mentoring 2 startups. I also had the chance to talk with the other startups and gave my humble opinion on their UI/UX processes and results.

Mentoring at Google Launchpad Week Jakarta

It’s my first time mentoring in Google Launchpad Week and I am really proud of it. I didn’t give any presentation, but I enjoyed the one-on-ones. It made me realize how important UI/UX to a business is, and sharpen my idea of design process. Learning is both ways, of course.

It’s really interesting to see how these startups are so dedicated and enthusiastic about their businesses (of course, they should be). Some have prototypes, some have MVPs, some are still in ideation stage.

UI/UX Mentors at Google Launchpad Week Jakarta

I would definitely do it again. Thanks Google!

No Job Is Too Mundane

November 12th, 2015

Some people understimate regular 9-to-5 gigs. While it’s true that there are more options to sustain yourself and achieve your dreams, and to stay out of the corporate rat-race, there is something very substantial about working for someone else.

First, not everyone is keen on pursuing lifetime goals with starting their businesses. We understand you can take risks more than anyone. However, not everyone is entitled to taking that risk. Family issues can force someone to take any job they could to sustain themselves in the short and the long run. If you have a family that is basically peaceful and have enough financial means to support themselves without disturbing your life-changing dreams, then be it. Take the different paths. Be different.

But, please, don’t just think anybody should do it.

I see career as two-way goals. First, it sustains you, mostly financially. Second, it helps you achieve your creative goals, particularly if you are passionate about something. Of course, you can work on something solely on financial goals, or solely on doing something you love. Your choice. However, I don’t see any problem in people taking whatever means they want to achieve the two sides of career goals, including if they can bear the 9-to-5 thing, and not do some breakthrough entrepreneurial endeavours.

I agree that people ought to have passive income and asset and whatnots, especially when they bear kids and they get older. However, we can achieve it without breaking our bank accounts or sacrificing our family.

Yes, you can go to India to help poverty and live very simply. Yes, you can go to Laos and be a monk and forget about life. Yes, you can go to the south of France to live remotely and drink wine to contemplate on life, then write an epic novel. Yes, you can travel the world and live like a nomad and advocate people to leave their cubicles to break free. But no, you can’t think your only way is the only way that other people should live their lives.

I find it a bit selfish to be out there in the world of your own and claim it a success or a way of life, while the closest people around you are suffering. Imagine helping to help people in other countries but you don’t take care of your family. Of course, if your family is happy about you doing all that, it’s totally fine. Just think of them first.

So, just remember that your parents might have worked the “regular jobs” that you hate now to be able to allow you to enjoy what you wish for. Never take anything for granted, and every small step towards sustaining life, whether it is a boring or a euphoric adventurous job, counts towards the continuity of human lives.

It’s a Good Time to be a Designer

October 30th, 2015

I started my design career in 2007, when I graduated from undergraduate school of design. I joined Oracle that time designing for a non-profit web platform for schools worldwide.

Even though I’ve been designing for the web since five years before that, joining Oracle was a point where I had to learn how to work in a big organization and working on their digital product(s). The products are not commercial, but still, they managed to develop and maintain it internally and did so very well. I was working remote from Jakarta, with my manager in San Francisco. I thoroughly enjoyed the “remote working” feeling of it, although I worked in the Oracle office in Jakarta. I learned about product development, user interface design (visual design, wireframes, specs), even learned a bit about persona and user experience methods (although not comprehensive). I also learned how to observe the users of my products, students and teachers, by attending trainings (and actually taught them how to use the product). It was both educational and fulfilling. I felt like I was doing a good thing.

Then, I moved on briefly to a national English-speaking newspaper. I helped them conceptualize one of their digital products — a travel site.

My best career move was the next one. I moved to, an Indonesian e-commerce that connects customers in a marketplace. Customers can sell items to other customers. Achmad Zaky, the CEO, is a friend and he gave me full trust in revamping Bukalapak. I was not set a deadline. I was given access and freedom to the team to see what we can do with the product. It was a great year. I learned to do product design from scratch, validate the design with the team, speak to customers, work with very smart engineers and a team full of energy. Everybody was in sync with their work. We came to work everyday with passion and a strong sense of ownership. I was learning to use multiple tools to design, including Apple Keynote — who would’ve thought?

The only thing that lacked from my Bukalapak career was I didn’t learn much about how we should develop products: waterfall, agile, scrum… and all that stuff, but maybe there’s a good side —we were experimenting fully with what we thought best for the product at that time.

As a year went by, I yearned to develop my portfolio and learn more about product development. I thought joining Ice House, a mobile development shop, was the right thing. It had everything that I wanted at that time: client work to build various portfolio, smart engineering teams, good employee benefits, and an agile workflow. I learned to continue my design process & methodology, but also learned how to integrate it with agile. I worked with some of the smartest engineers I know. I enjoyed working with clients (I never thought I would, judging by how difficult I am with interacting with people). The team gave full support and respect for me.

Another opportunity came, and this one was an easy call. It was DBS Bank from Singapore. It was perfect. I wanted to work overseas. It was a really good pay & benefits. I was about to have a baby. It was a solid team, with a long designer friend I admired, and a boss who came from PayPal. While I enjoyed my time at Ice House, I wanted to try this before it went away. Ice House offered me to relocate to San Francisco as an attempt to keep me, but I had a baby coming and the financial benefits of Singapore outweighed San Francisco. Sorry, Ice House. I moved on.

At DBS Bank, I learned how to work with large organization again, and to be a “fox” — how to make my way through the organization, justify, seek consensus and generally be friends with the bank team members to push my design through. It was not an easy process. I was frustrated so many times. However, I feel like I made the most progress at DBS Bank, as a designer. What I mean is that I discovered about myself more than in any other place. I also worked with super-talented team members who continually gave me support no matter what. Thank you, there, Chooake.

Now, I am back in Jakarta — helping some companies in starting up products and businesses. Leaving DBS Bank was a difficult decision. My thought that time was I want to take ownership of my work more and live a simpler life. I want to feel better & happier in general. I was burnt out. I was worried if it was a totally wrong decision. It might have been. Sometimes I feel that I regretted doing it, especially for my family. It was a solid company with good pay, and a good team. Maybe the way I coupled with things was a little wrong. But anyway — here I am, in Jakarta, back at home, with the baby and wife. I would like to make the most of my time while here in Jakarta.

It turned out that by opening myself to opportunities, those opportunities really come to me. Some freelance works came. There are even full-time job offers.

It seems that as a designer, it’s a good time to be alive and working, and I will not worry about not having anything to work on.

Things are getting better.

Why Designers are Rebels

October 2nd, 2015

Designers are often misunderstood in several ways, especially in a company setting. They are perceived as rebels, misfits, or generally a bunch of people who are hard to work with. “Why must we consolidate with designers? Why must they decide what goes on in the page? Why must we hire them?”

Companies that are not design-driven often have this struggle. Engineering-driven companies think everything should center around engineering, and they reward engineers the most, and hire engineers the most. Business-driven companies think everything should center around business, and they reward businesspeople the most, and every other things must follow them. Designers don’t always get the fair share of voices, because they are executors. Only a few companies really care about design and put designers up top in the top level management. It’s hard for designers to make a change if they keep being in the “lowly” levels. They should be part of the strategic levels.

So, why are designers often perceived as rebels? Priorities, priorities, priorities. I’ve had a friend who works as a design manager in a corporation and when he participated in a managerial-level training, they were asked, “What motivates you everyday to work?”. There were businesspeople, engineers, designers and administration staff in the room. Most of the people wrote “money” as motivation. The designer friend wrote “to make a good product”. While money is important, designers come up to work daily not to pursue it blindly: they want to make good products and be known for them. We have a portfolio to build, not just CV, or sales numbers. We want to show case studies, how we succeeded in solving problems with design, and that we carry on towards the next companies. It’s not enough to just think about numbers of years we pour into a company or product. It’s more about what we achieve. To achieve it, of course we need money, but it’s not the goal.

I think this is where the problem lies. Designers care about the product more than anybody else, who mostly think they work just to survive the months. We work towards a life-long goal of being good designers who solved real-world problems, and have a design portfolio that we can be proud of. You can’t talk to designers about career progression only. You can’t talk to designers about key performance indicators only. You can’t talk to designers to go about pleasing anybody, including clients, only. Our work and life goal intertwine, and that is bigger than the sum of all parts — career progression, KPI, making clients happy, bringing in revenues, and most importantly, we breathe in and out everyday thinking about the users of the product.

Another New Chapter

July 5th, 2015

Soon, it will be my last day with DBS Bank, and my last day in Singapore.

I am returning to Indonesia. Not sure what I’m going to do next, at least I am going to take a break for a while and enjoy time with my family and new-born daughter, Janis.

It’s been a rough six-month period. I learned a lot of things, about the company, about myself, about the industry, about design. Bad or good, I take everything as lesson.

It might sound immature to some of you, but for me, it’s just a spice of life. You learn, you move on. You design your life and forget the past. Six months later, the company you worked for would’ve moved on and would’ve forgotten about you.

There is one reason why I leave DBS Bank, no matter how many people say it’s better to be here.


Before you think I am a self-entitled guy, let me explain. I’ve been in corporate, but never been in an industry outside technology. It is very difficult to adjust myself in. Even if I give myself time, I am afraid I’d fit to their culture even more and will not be able to “depart” from that culture. I am afraid I will be blended in. I want to stay what I am now.

Corporate environment is where you are not allowed to make mistakes. Your heads will be cut off. Everybody is risk-averse. This is not how design operates. We assume, experiment, prove and iterate. Business environment is different. They never can make assumptions, nor experiment, let alone prove and iterate. They are very strict and money-driven: This is what we want to do to make profit and here’s our projection. Do this our way or we’ll cut your head off. The only measurement tool is profit, profit and profit. Design success is not measured only by money — nor short term benefits — it’s about recognitions, experiences, feelings. These things can’t be directly measured. Only good companies who care can really recognise these benchmarks.

I know you’re going to say that every company has the same problems, big or small. Well, I gotta say you this: I am not expecting to escape all these. I am just expecting to get out of these frustration within a grand scale and find a scale I can tolerate more with — maybe with a smaller company, maybe with a better culture. I know I will always find issues, but I believe there are issues and companies I can deal with.

That said, I am currently open for opportunities. If you are interested in engaging a full-time digital product designer who focuses in user experience and user interface, please email me and let’s talk!

On Making a Dent in Corporate Environment

June 20th, 2015

People still see design as a tool, not a way of thinking. I have to admit that, and often take the red pill.

When corporations decided they need to have a design team embedded in-house, what were they thinking, really? There can be multiple reasons. They might have a little fed up with engaging with the design vendors to execute their programs. It’s either expensive or time-consuming. It can also be energy-consuming. After spending millions of dollars they still get something that they expected. They build a design team in the hopes that they could do design in-house — as a tool — and execute business programs better. They might also need a design team to advance design thinking through the company: changing the culture of work. This is very daunting and it involves changes in all departments.

What I see is that mostly it’s the first. Companies think design just as a tool. They still do business they way the always do it. See, it’s very comfortable way (albeit not the most effective) to do things. They start with business requirements, and the business guys think they are the everything in the company. Everyone else is just executing their programs, thus, they need to listen to the “business guys”. Please, don’t ask any questions and just do whatever the things we ask you to do. “This is all business requirement.”

Because, this has been the way we did it. Business thinks they have a project and the budget has been approved by the management. They formulate things, but only from business perspective. Will it make profit? Will it be different from the past? What “business improvements” can we make? What can we do to make sure that the investments pay off?

Then they spend nights and days working to get the concept right, and put everything in into a humongous deck with diagrams, jargons and whatnots. Oh, don’t forget there’s a requirement document to be made. It has to be 100 pages long. Every scenario needs to be accounted for.

Business will present these things back to the management or to the next in the pipeline: delivery team that includes design and engineering. “Do it as we say, or you’ll die.”

“We’ve spent a lot of thoughts in these and we think it’s the best! Why can’t you do it?”

You know, because design and engineering have different perspectives and limitations, they start to counterargument. They’ve never been consulted previously. This delays the timeline. Business guys are so pissed off.

Things need to be revised! But no, please, timeline is only 6 months! There’s no way we can adapt to these changes proposed by design and engineering! We’re so screwed.

Why can’t design and engineering listen to us?

The thing is, business guys, there’s nothing crappier than assuming that every project only has one dimension to it: profit. There’s a whole lot of dimensions that should poured into one. How can you make profit if the way you present it to the customers lack good user experience? How can you make profits if engineering can’t deliver a single thing because your items live in a distant land of innovation that your company has never invested in?

Do you think design is just making your crappy idea pretty? Should we just lay that long, “corporate speak” text in an elegant typeface and be done with it? Should we follow your business-centric approach and apply blindly to interaction flows? You think designers are makeup artists? Even makeup artists had education and they help you find the best solution.

What I feel is lacking in corporate environment is the willingness to listen and be open to new frontiers, like design and engineering. Particularly design, because it takes time. They don’t want to take the time.

Take the time to listen. Engage design and engineering upfront.