Wearables, digital health, AI and automated ports. In 2019, we got to work on incredibly varied, ambitious projects. How did it all affect our plans for 2020?

The saying goes: ”it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

But we beg to differ. It should never be either/or.

In our previous yearly recap post, we concluded that we want to represent the side of our field that does not produce ”digital waste”. Digital transformation has an important role in pushing things forward in our society. And that’s where we want to be, contributing in ways both big and small.

Digital transformation has an important role in pushing things forward in our society. And that’s where we want to be, contributing in ways both big and small.

Emerging from the dizzyingly eventful 2019, it makes us proud to say we have managed to stay true to that philosophy. From digital health to wearables, from artificial intelligence to automated ports – we have been fortunate in getting to focus our talent on impactful and interesting projects.

So what were those highlights in 2019? And what’s on the horizon in 2020? Read on to find out!

Suunto 7 & the future of wearables

At the very end of 2019, we finished a long project we have been unable to talk about until now: playing a key role in creating UI/UX for the new Suunto 7 smartwatch.

Previously, smartwatches have been roughly divided into two categories: sport watches represented by the likes of Suunto or Garmin, and lifestyle-oriented watches such as the Apple Watch. Suunto 7 is revolutionary in the sense that it seamlessly combines those worlds. Powered by Google’s Wear OS, it has features for both training and making everyday life easier.

We worked closely with Suunto’s own design team and other great agencies to create a product that is the next step in the evolution of wearables: a device that is as handy in monitoring one’s health as it is in paying for your coffee with Google Pay.

Smart ports and sustainability via technology

Awake.ai is a startup that quote say the clichéd phrase “making the world a better place” and mean it. They are building a smart port and ship platform that enables autonomous ships to call at ports, increasing efficiency throughout the maritime logistics chain. Savings in shipping operative expenses and reduced turnaround times leads to a significant decrease in CO2 emissions.

Having helped them with design and development throughout 2019, we are excited to see what the future brings. One thing is for sure: design will play a significant role in both facing the current global challenges and adopting new technologies within the shipping industry. It’s an honour to play a part in that process.

Building bridges between Artificial Intelligence and people

During the past few years, AI has been on everyone’s lips. But most people are still pretty much unaware of what it actually is. Saidot is a company building a platform that helps the public sector communicate what their AI algorithms really do and why.

In terms of ethics, this is weighty stuff. For example, making it clear what personal information these services utilise is crucial. Especially because these technologies are becoming increasingly commonplace at a fast rate.

The print version of our Trust & AI report and Anna presenting the results at the 2019 SHIFT business festival.

We have been involved with the service from a very early stage, and it has been a joy to see the project featured in public discussions around the topic. Explaining relevant aspects of technology to citizens requires carefully crafted communication strategies – and UX that makes often difficult topics approachable.

As a part of the project, we conducted a survey that studied what kind of conceptions people have about AI and how that affects their trustfulness. The full report can be downloaded here.

Healthcare and self-monitoring

We are no strangers to working with healthcare applications. In 2019, our biggest project on that front was co-operation with Bayer, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Europe.

Together, we created an app called Wonder. It supports the users of the hormonal coil – also known as intrauterine system or IUS – before and after installing the device. Monitoring one’s condition with the app makes it easier to see both long and short term changes and discuss them with medical professionals if need be.

We believe digital agencies can bring a lot to the table when it comes to health. When great UX meets medical expertise, the results will be positive and wide-reaching.

New faces & ever-growing company culture

Creating an exceptional work culture is a process that’s never finished.

There are many aspects at play here. For starters: creating the best possible environment for the daily work itself, supporting everyone involved in their career goals and making sure that we continue to grow as an equal, respectful, inclusive, safe and rewarding space to invest your skill, time and energy in.

New Taisteians (yup, we just made that word up) from left to right: Timo, Pyry, Jinhee, Niina, Eetu, Aleksis, Roosa, Masoumeh and Eeppi.

Of course, what matters most in this equation are the people. In 2019, we were once again joined by some fantastic talent. For us, it is extremely important to make 100% sure that in addition to their skills, our team members are also equipped with emotional intelligence and kindness. The result has been an exceptional group of individuals that we are proud to call our colleagues and friends.

Putting ourselves out there: the events

2019 was also a busy year for events – both attending and organising them. We went to ASO conference and App Growth Summit in Berlin to give a talk about app onboarding experiences. We travelled to OFF Festival in sunny Barcelona. We organised an epic 24-hour Suunto Movehack hackathon in Turku and presented the results of our AI research at SHIFT Business Festival.

Suvi & Tuomas at the App Growth Summit in Berlin.

Events are great for making yourself known, but the real gist of it is the connections you make. The world seems smaller in a positive way when you realise how similar life in digital agencies is around the world – and how fun it is to have real-life conversations with your peers. We hope to continue to have these encounters this year, too.

Success comes from a holistic approach

As our projects keep getting bigger, what is the biggest philosophical takeaway for the year 2020?

Building successful digital services has a lot in common in being a worthy contributor in society in general. Understanding all the complex aspects that affect the end result is the key to making the right decisions.

In practice, focusing exclusively on either technology or UX design is simply not enough. Today, world-class digital agencies need to be educated across the board. User and market research, business insight, data-driven approach and deep understanding of both the users and the client’s field are all vital pieces of the puzzle.

Building successful digital services has a lot in common in being a worthy contributor in society in general. Understanding all the complex aspects that affect the end result is the key to making the right decisions.

So, to continue making small improvements to the world around us, we promise to keep on widening our perspectives. While choosing to keep working on meaningful projects, of course.

Because it’s about both what you do and how you do it.

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