An Oracle blog about Application UX

Design Jams as a stimulating and creative change

Erika Webb
Director UX

We have done a lot of design jams this year and mostly they are open to anyone at Oracle, based on a particular theme or technology area.  But this summer, we ran two that were with specific product teams.  These more focused group events are amazing.  You take a group of people who in one form or another have been working together for a while and mix them up a bit, and then give them two days to break away from what they do every day and look at their product(s) in a totally new way.  Recently we ran one with the Student Cloud and Higher Education teams at our headquarters in San Francisco.  These folks were spread out worldwide, and didn't often have a chance to work together in person.  So they all flew in to Oracle HQ for a week of design work, meetings and team building.  We were lucky enough to get called in to help organize this event.

We ran this one a little differently than usual.  To try to mix people up a little, management decided to assign people to specific teams.  We had a mix of people on each team who worked in different areas and often different countries.  Participants came from all over the US, the UK, Australia, India, and the Netherlands, to name a few of the countries represented.  

Student Cloud and Higher Ed teams at work
Team Imagine Nation, center, working on their first place design

They met ahead of time with a designer from our Apps UX group to work out an idea of what they might do in their 2 days together.  We also had two info sessions to get everyone ready.   We had a design principles presentation in one info session with our design guru and friend of the Lab, Katy Massucco and then we had another presentation of what makes a good data visualization the morning of the event with designer extraordinaire (and also friend of the Lab) John Cartan.  Both Katy and John really inspired the teams with fresh ideas and perspectives on design principles.  In fact, "More!" was one of the comments we got following the event.

An event like this can really glue a group together in a way that sometimes other team building events do not.  Instead of an event totally unrelated to work, we brought folks together to do something somewhat work related, but so different that they really got to see new sides of each other and new possibilities for their products.  

Team Nebulosa
Team Nebulosa enjoying a laugh together

The teams had a lot of fun together and we got a lot of positive feedback about the energy they came away with afterwards.  As always, we're working with all of them on the great ideas they generated, and how to see those moving into product in the future.  Their management was really pleased with the results and ideas that came out of this and I think all the participants had fun at the same time.

 The great part for us is that these product team events are getting popular and we already have requests to do the same with other groups!  But before that, we have a few more upcoming events and the Innovation Lab will be hitting the road.  Next up, an IoT hackathon in the Netherlands; then Oracle OpenWorld, where we'll showcase a couple of the ideas that we have developed from other events; and then finally, we'll be ending the year with two design jams in offices in India!  Keep an eye on this blog for more details of those events.  If you'll be at OpenWorld, drop us a line!

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