Joe: 2020's Surprise Lessons

December 9, 2020

At Aquí, we take our cuppa Joe very seriously. Rest assured, because the same applies when it comes to design. As avid coffee drinkers, we often ask, “How do you like your coffee?” And as a creative boutique, we like to ask, “How do you like your design?” Joe is a blog segment where we - #TeamAquí - share our design inspirations.

There’s something about end-of-year reflections that warm our hearts and instill a sense of gratitude. Perhaps it’s because we get sentimental about endings, but it could also be about the satisfaction of tying up loose ends and welcoming the next phase. ‘Full of surprises’ is what 2020 has been like for all of us. In this retrospective post, we look back at some of the surprises we met with and share the valuable lessons learnt.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

Speed and quality is what everyone looks for when it comes to delivery of work. In one of the projects that we worked on this year, we were granted more room and resources to experiment and iterate after seeing an opportunity to bring the project to greater heights. The unexpected turn in events led us to witness the correlation of time and quality; realising that all good things take time to achieve.

“Every project has to be given the time it needs to develop, with the scale and quality in mind. Testing and iterating are key to the refinement process and sometimes it might require a longer or shorter time than imagined,” María explained. 

“How do we make it better?” and “Do we have the resource?” are two questions that are always worth asking. With the world shifting at every second, we need to remind ourselves to keep questioning and iterating.

Empathy Begets Empathy

Many things were disrupted due to the unprecedented events of this year – everyone was impacted. There was movement going on in every business and we were prepared to receive news from our clients. The situation was beyond our control, but what we did have control over was the way we decided to deal with it. With all that was happening, we found it extremely crucial to be more empathetic towards one another as we were all dealt with a bad hand.

As we all adapt to new circumstances, there might be times where we struggle with insecurity. “Sometimes my mind goes to this question: Are we not doing a good enough job?” Yu Ting said. Word of advice: don’t make it about yourself.

The key to reaching a common ground in discussions with clients is acknowledging their decisions were made in the interest of their business in the face of a pandemic. It never feels good to be on the receiving end of bad news. Try to understand the decisions of others the way you’d want others to do for you.

Focus on the Wins

While a lot of the change is happening, there is a tendency to worry about not being able to return to the status quo, or focusing on the things we no longer have. While our worries are valid, so are our small wins. Good morale is essential especially when our team works closely with one another. Positive reinforcement and reassurance kept us going and helped us in building good rapport despite the uncertainty.

We overcame new challenges as a team and made sure we recognised the achievements made along the way. It is vital for those going through change to feel confident about adapting. Positivity in the workplace can be very empowering and influential. “We’re very lucky to be where we are,” Evelyn said.


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