Torkel Mellingen, Vice President of Design for Cisco collaboration products, builds experiences, products and services that help people work better together. He is dedicated to making user experiences that people stop to appreciate, either through a product that delights by its presence or a user interface that simply empowers people. Torkel started his designing collaboration products when he joined Tandberg in 2004. When Cisco acquired Tandberg, he helped create Cisco’s new design language. He joined Acano in 2014, a UK-based collaboration startup, leading design and marketing for apps and meeting room products. In 2016, he rejoined Cisco with the acquisition of Acano, where he brought his design thinking to the Cisco Spark Board and the new Cisco Spark app, gaining his team’s 19th Red Dot Design Award, and this time a Best-of-the-Best. Torkel lives in Oslo, Norway and enjoys, wait for it…skiing and trekking.
Torkel Mellingen will share why designing for teams is the future, and Cisco’s approach to developing award-winning tools for teams. Many of us dread meetings. The team at Cisco wants to change the way teams work together, completely transforming what it means to meet.
But most productivity tools are designed for individuals, not teams. Personal technology is designed for people’s relationships with their devices and apps. Team tools need to be designed for people to connect with one another, with technology fading into the background. The Design Group at Cisco calls this Invisible Design.
We’re using invisible design to eliminate the drudgery and frustration in today’s meetings. In fact, we’re blowing up the idea that a meeting is what happens in a location at a scheduled time. High performance teams need tools that help them engage and build trust together both inside and outside of a meeting room.
Cisco Webex Board won the Red Dot Best of the Best award for “extraordinary, innovative design.” The team applies three principles. The design was made ‘embarrassingly simple’, looking and acting like an enormous tablet for the wall. The Board has one button – even small kids know how to use. The design is ‘holistic’, including hardware and software for the Board, as well as connecting to a mobile app. And finally, the Board was designed to ‘inspire’. It has a personality to it, with bright colors that surprise and delight users. Every designer works with these three core principles as they design, whether they are designing the hardware, like the tactile feel of drawing on the electronic whiteboard with a finger, or designing the Information Architecture to unfold with colorful activity circles.
Torkel and his team worked together to formulate these design principles, so that by helping to define the principles the team members internalized them – they have become second nature.
It was essential that the designers shared this common design language because The Design Group has had to recruit designers from around the world. The designers come from very different cultural backgrounds, from China and the U.S. to Poland and Norway. Yet the designers talk about the team as community and even family. Torkel explains how he has achieved this, “What's special about The Design Group is that it has completely taken out the hierarchy.” He has established D-zone, a gathering of all collaboration designers to share best practices. D-Zone creates its own team culture that transcends regional differences.
D-Zone and the culture of creativity also helps break the team free from the company’s networking roots. Cisco is a leader in networking and security, but those products do not have to be instantly understandable and loved by individuals working together on a team. To transform collaboration into ‘consumer-grade’ solutions that inspire, the team has had to be very stubborn about their principles, and to support each other.
Torkel admits that this transformation from technical products to products people love to use is challenging, but “creating a family of designers who learn from each other and elevate each other in a close-knit community is really inspiring to me. Designing things with people you trust is something very special in this group.”
In his keynote, Torkel Mellingen, Vice President of Design at Cisco, will discuss three fundamental design principles that guide his team and how the team collaborates to achieve this transformation:
1. Holistic. Cisco designers consider their suite of collaboration tools as a “service” that addresses the needs of a team, rather than individual products. Designers at Cisco strive to create a unified experience across the user journey, from ideation to feedback to decision-making.
2. Focused. When designing the Spark Board, Cisco designers stripped out unnecessary functions and doubled down on enhancing the most used elements of the collaboration experience. They made it “embarrassingly simple”.
3. Inspired. When we enjoy tools, we are more likely to use them and return to them again and again. Spark Board was specifically designed to help people be more creative together.
People are already making their own choices about the tools they use at work. With teamwork growing in importance, demand for technology that helps people work better together and lets them be creative, empowered humans is the future. Every conference participant can benefit from applying these human principles every day to drivel the rise of teams.
1、Why designing technology for teams is critical with today’s trends
2、Key design principles for designing hardware and software
3、How a “Red Dot Best of Best” product was designed by applying these principles