Design Explorers by Agoda Design

Empowering and building confidence through knowledge sharing

September 27, 2021 Agoda Design Season 1 Episode 8
Design Explorers by Agoda Design
Empowering and building confidence through knowledge sharing
Show Notes Transcript

Design Studio is a dedicated platform for knowledge sharing between the more experienced designers and new joiners or anyone who is facing different challenges with their work and projects in our design team at Agoda. By providing practical guided frameworks and inspiring use cases, more seasoned designers can help the less experienced ones with their weaknesses through this platform. We invited Andre to our show to tell the story behind the idea of initiating and launching Design Studio, talk about Impostor syndrome, lifelong learning, and his awesome passion for making 3D art.

Andre  00:00

So I realize in all those conversations that designers were equally excited about learning, and also sharing, and that kind of sparked, you know, something in my mind. And you know, like, I'm just the same way, if you would look at it, right as an individual, what makes you a mature designer is the fact that you can accept feedback, right? Learn from that, take from it, and sort of use those things to learn and grow. Now applied to the entire organism of the design team, right? We get feedback, we internalize it, we learn from it. Right? And then we we kind of start teaching ourselves and growing into those aspects of things. 

Nahum  00:43

Hello, and welcome to the design explorers a podcast by the agoda design team. is a global digital travel platform where you can book hotels, vacation rentals, flights, and airport transfer. In this podcast, we will be sharing the awesome work of our design team discuss interesting trends in relation to design and travel and talk about product design in general. My name is Nahum and I will be your host for the show.

Nahum  01:20

I really enjoyed it I always enjoy talking with with Andre, you know, his his passion is really contagious and his intensity, his enthusiasm, not just with the designs studio with the 3d work. And all this stuff is very, you know, his creativity is you get a sense of play. He really likes to play with ideas and play and make jokes and have fun.

Yuki  01:42

I think I mean, that there's this quote floating around on the internet about I think, I think Einstein said it or Picasso, where I think he mentioned, everyone is born with creativity. It's just how you want to, it's whether you keep it as you grow into an adult, something like that. Right? And I think Andre is 

Nahum  02:07

a perfect example of this. 

Yuki  02:10

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, he's a perfect example of that quote. And I think it's great, you can really learn from him. And it forces me to reflect in terms of what am I doing that I think I'm automatically staying away from, even without noticing. So his initiative in terms of design studio is also great. And the vision that he has, I think it's really spot on in terms of his intentions, because I feel a lot of the things that he had mentioned that needed solving for, I think, as a new joiner especially, there's a lot of not necessarily imposter syndrome, but you're still scouting out the room, like, am I supposed to do something, you're you're a little, you're, you're more reserved and conservative in your actions, from your day to day. And I think I slowly had to peel those layers away, and I guess, display my true self and be a child again, in front of everyone and having a platform to share my true self with everyone with the platform, or organizers that really cares about that is something that, you know, truly, that is valuable. In any company, I feel like

Nahum  03:36

definitely. And I think, you know, what I also love about his initiative is that he took it into a practical place, you know, it's not just knowledge sharing for the, for the sake of sharing.

Yuki  03:47

Yeah, I mean, he does mention that he was previously a teacher, which I didn't know myself, right. And I think he's bringing that aspect of you know, how to communicate what he intends to communicate in the best manner as possible. And so I think he's bringing that perspective and and implying that in a very different context, actually, so I'm glad that he's the one that is actually you know, doing all of this he's the best person to tell if you like head spear this project. Or you know, spear head spear head Yeah.

Nahum  04:24

Yeah. And you mentioned the value it's very important for you know, teammates not only having the knowledge but also building the confidence and having someone like Andre leading this with this kind of educational background and actually guiding people understand their their needs. I think this is very helpful to build the confidence and yeah, just avoid we mentioned in the in the episode like imposter syndrome, and the fear of trying things. On a personal note, I faced this like imposter syndrome all the time. Yeah, I always have this in the back of my mind. The, I'm not really a verbal person. And part of this practice with the podcast was also to work on that right to improve those skills. 

Yuki  05:13

Yeah,I remember when I first talked to you, actually, during the interview, you were super casual about everything, which I loved. But you mentioned, you know, English isn't your first language. And even though it's not your first you've tried to read a lot of books and really get familiar with the, I guess, vocabulary and expand it. And from that standpoint, I think a lot of people would guess that that person, that same person would not start a podcast in English. 

Nahum  05:46


Yuki  05:48

But here you are, you know, you're you're doing all these things, which I'm sure is outside of your comfort zone.

Nahum  05:54

Oh, definitely. It's beyond the language because, you know, I'm not used to and I don't really like public speaking. And even though it's just the two of us here, you know, having the microphone I mean, now I'm getting used to it. But in the beginning it it was really fear, like, I were really scared for from just opening the mic and talking.

Yuki  06:13

Yeah, no, this is my second or third time. I still feel it to this day. Yeah, it's just different to a normal conversation. I feel like once you're recorded, I think everyone has that like stage fright or fear of presenting, or fear of being recorded, actually. So. Yeah, I think we're all pushing ourselves. today.

Nahum  06:39

Yeah, exactly. So with that note, and no further ado, let's jump into our inspiring discussion with Andre.

Nahum  06:50

Hi, and welcome to the eighth episode of the design. explorers Yuki and I are here today with Andre, one of our senior product designers. Andre recently started the design studio, which is a dedicated platform for knowledge sharing between the more experienced designers and new joiners or anyone who is facing different challenges with their work and projects in our team. By providing practical guided frameworks and inspiring use cases more seasoned designer can help the less experienced one with their weaknesses through this platform. We invited Andre here today to tell us the story behind this design studio, and also maybe talk a bit about his awesome passion for making some 3d art. Welcome to the show Andre.

Andre  07:26

Hey, guys, thank you for having me on the show. I'm super excited. And I'm also even more excited about the prospect that you would make me sound like Idris Elba in the post. So thanks now whom and Yuki?

Nahum  07:41

We promise to do our best

Andre  07:42

I'm ready to get started. Near erase Elbaz fine, also, I don't mind

Nahum  07:48

we will do our best.

Andre  07:50

Thank you.

Nahum  07:52

So Andre maybe we Let's start by giving our listeners some background, you know about who you are, how long have you been at agoda.

Andre  07:58

So um, so first off, I just want to say thank you so much for inviting me to this podcast. And I have been with agoda for I think about, I think exactly three years now, as of this month, so Hooray for that. So I joined agoda out way back, and I think 2019. And right now I worked across across the core, which is our main funnel on agoda for quite a while. And right now I'm working at agoda special offers, which is this brand new, brand new sort of business that we are, we've we've sort of come out with. It's quite, it's quite exciting. And as of right now I run something called the agoda design studio with agoda, which is a new Learning Initiative, which is what we are here to sort of talk about.

Nahum  08:50

Awesome, and that's exactly led us to the next question. Maybe you can explain to us and tell us what is exactly the design studio.

Andre 08:58

Alright, so essentially, I think what design studio is, like I would capture it in three words. It would be simple, actionable and relevant. So I would say it's more, you know, it's it's basically quick learnings for immediate value. Right? So I think when we started this endeavor, some time back, we wanted a way to, you know, sort of level up the team really fast. And especially, especially considering that, you know, the world moves so fast the design world itself, as you know, like at one point, we are all learning, you know, kind of working on sketch, and abstract. And the next minute, we are all on figma. And tomorrow, who knows what's next, right? And it's just not about design. It's not only design tools, but methods and ways of using things. So we always have to constantly be challenging ourselves and anything, design studios sort of that, you know, that initiative that helps us all sort of challenges ourselves to grow, to learn, but not only as an individual, but also So as like sort of a, as an entire team as an entire organism. So that's, that's what it is, in a nutshell. I would sort of if I had to say, capture it in, in two words, it would be practical learning. That's it

Nahum  10:15

And who is it mainly for?

Andre  10:17

So, um, so actually, that's a good question. It's obviously for the presenter, the audience, I think those are the main two actors in this in this scenario over here. So, you know, the presenter, you know, basically works on topic works on a presentation, they come in with those actionable learnings. And there's the audience who sort of absorbs it like a sponge, and kind of you know, but it's not just a, you know, like, I don't want it to be just only that format. Right, I think, I think it should be a more reactive format. But that's what I'm, you know, that's what I wanted to grow into a more reactive format, where the presenter comes in with a, with a radical idea, or radical new learning, but also the audience comes in, and, you know, they kind of work together and challenge each other. So for the presenter, I think it's, you know, for the presenter, they want, they need to learn to present or other it's for them to learn to present. And it's not that we just throw them in the deep end, right, it's, as a presenter, you know, the, the learning starts way before, when we try and give them actionable coaching, I think, I think Nahum if I remember, clearly, you were also there in the initial, you know, sort of initial building blocks of a Agoda studio. And at that point itself, we established that, you know, one of the biggest learnings for the presenter is that we give them actionable coaching from us, as well as the leadership team, right, the manager can coach them, you know, they, the PMS can coach them into kind of, you know, and not only that, also us into becoming better presenters becoming more confident, you know, learning how to tell a story, learning how to, you know, learning how to grow minds as such, for the early for the audience is, it's a no brainer, it's also to learn something that they can practically adapt. But they're, they're just not just there to learn, but also to provide more information back, right, it's like that feedback that helps the organization grow. Right, like, like, Take, for example, that, you know, data, you know, data is one of the subjects, right, so what if, you know, I mean, just having a mute audience, just, you know, accepting it all in without, you know, questioning, without challenging without asking why, I think, I think it won't be as impactful as when that happens. Right. So, and then there's a third unknown, sort of, you know, actor behind the scenes, which is the leadership. And I think they pay a huge role in this right to, to not only coach and support, but also to come in and, you know, and talk about things that only leaders can sort of talk about, right. So, just to give an example, we have this, we have this awesome leader on our team, called Li Yah. And I do remember when we did, when we did have our initial one on ones together, she herself was extremely excited about this. And she actually nominated, you know, a person, a really talented designer, Ali on our team to come and talk about, you know, data experimentation. And, and she not only did that, but she also gave behind the scenes, she gave actionable feedback, she gave a lot of coaching to, to Ali herself, and, you know, help enable it, right. And what we got as an end result was it really was a fantastic thing. And helped really uplift the that level of data that that level of data culture that we have at Agoda. So I think I think the design leadership plays a huge integral part in, you know, in the in this whole level of process that design studio brings along with it.Yeah, 

Nahum  14:09

yeah. And I like how you summed it up as a practical learning and learning that they can actually use.

Andre  14:16


Yuki  14:16

Yeah, I think it's really interesting how you mentioned more emphasized a lot of the practical aspects of the program or design studio. And I was interested in, you know, why this initiative even came up in the first place. Yeah, what was the reasoning behind this idea? 

Andre  14:36

That's actually a great question. And I think we've had many efforts at sort of jumpstarting, I would say, or starting initiatives like this. I think we had one a few years ago called Skillshare, which was pretty good. We got a lot of, you know, we got a lot of actionable learnings. But as things sort of progress You know, this, this happenings is hard to keep it up, right. So. But I think it's very important for a team to actually have some sort of Learning Initiative, because I think being being in Microsoft, and also speaking to a lot of people in a lot of other companies, right, a lot of them do have some such initiatives. And I think that's one of the hallmarks of you know, of a mature design team. Just the same way, if you would look at it, right, as an individual, what makes you a mature designer, is the fact that you can accept feedback, right? Learn from that, take from it, and sort of use those things to learn and grow. Now applied to the entire organism of the design team, right? We get feedback, we internalize it, we learn from it. Right? And then we we kind of start teaching ourselves and growing into those aspects of things. So I think it's sort of a jumpstart, of lessons learned from a lot of previous initiatives. But I think it's, it's very important to so when I spoke to my my manager, Shane, he sort of brought about the fact that he listened, you know, what, we need something like a Agoda studio. And, you know, let's, we need to partner up, we need to learn from our mistakes. And we need to try to figure out something that can work well with in agoda. So as a whole, like, if you if you look at the DNA of what agoda is, we are all about, you know, moving fast, and experimenting. Right? So I think, I think this iteration, or this incarnation of design studio, is starting to work well with that itos itself. Yeah.

 Nahum  16:44

Now, Ander, I've seen you're working on this project, and you're very passionate about it, I think it can you can even hear it in your voice, the passion. So maybe you can tell us, where is this passion coming from? Why are you so passionate about it?

Andre  16:56

Oh, alright, so I think so actually, that's a really good question. And I think it would take, it would be a very long podcast, if I had to talk about it, like as my whole life story. So I'm just gonna keep it short. So actually, I'm actually from an education background also, like, like I, I was a professor at the prestigious Xavier's Institute of communication, you know, back home in India, in Bombay, was, I think, one of the top journalism colleges in, in Asia actually. And over there, I, I had a module where I thought, writing for the internet, basically blogging, writing for, you know, various websites. But I'm also a sort of a published writer. So I think this falls in line with what I'm doing pretty well, because while I've never had the opportunity to create a syllabus, right, or rather, I've always had, you know, but I've been I've been mentored by a lot of really world, world class professors in creating syllabuses, right. So I think this is, you know, merging those two worlds. I think this, this, this was a natural fit for me, because I am sort of passionate about learning. I love presenting. Because I do have stage fright, like everybody else in the world. But I do love you know, I do love the act of learning, right as a whole. And I always find new ways of kind of, you know, upskilling myself, I do speak. Like, I think everybody I've spoken on the team always has the zest to learn. Right? So I keep conversing with everybody. And everybody said, Hey, you know what, I actually spend my weekend learning, you know, this, I learned this, I'm excited to share it, right. So I realized in all those conversations that designers were equally excited about learning, and also sharing. And that kind of sparked, you know, something in my mind, and you know, like, I think the Nahum, you know, me, right, like, I get like, super excited I get like I vibrate when you know, this is an idea. It's

Nahum  19:12

so contagious, you know, seeing you

Andre  19:14

Yeah, if you remember our first few meetings, we were like, We kind of there you know  talking, you know, talking each other, ears off. We were kind of like making those mistakes. But I think those are important in in kind of, you know, learning in kind of getting that the learning experience out there. That would be great for for our audience at agoda and agoda. Design.

Yuki  19:39

And yeah, a it's interesting how you kind of got started into this with all your passion and education and talking to people learning that designers really enjoy the process of teaching as much as learning themselves. I think when from the moment where you had this moment of passion where you were vibrating As you said, How did you kind of translate that into action? And what were some of the challenges that you faced throughout the way? Because I presumed like, who should who should be presenting who should be learners, these types of questions come out? along the way? How did you kind of what principles actually helped you make these decisions?

Andre  20:20

I think that's actually a great question. And, you know, just sort of framing my answer to, you know, to sort of the very beginning, I think, what we realized was, anything, I've had had a lot of conversation with several designers, what we realize was jumping in, into what I affectionately call the TED Talk format. And I know you can't see it here, but I'm doing air quotes, the whole TED Talk format, we've seen it sort of hit and miss. Right. And I knew for a fact that I mean, my initial thought was, Hey, you know what, let's just do a series of TED Talks, and, you know, kind of people were happy. But I think, you know, sort of, kind of pushing myself and challenge challenging myself, I had a lot of intimate one on ones with a lot of the designers that, you know, on on the team, and I realized that this was so much more, right. Like, I think a lot, a lot designers opened up and got really personal about their learning experiences about how they like to learn, but also about the state of the world today, right? I think you have to realize that you when this initiative was being born, like we in Bangkok, we're like in, in lockdown, right. So there was a huge shift in the way people were thinking, after almost a year of not being in lockdown. We were in lockdown again. So I think there were a lot of, you know, fears, a lot of thoughts that work sort of creeping up a lot of, you know, in terms of, you know, like, what's, what's going to happen out there with with this whole, you know, kind of numbers increasing and everything, and I think, I think there was, there was a need for positivity, like to all of this. So I think that was the biggest challenge, right? Like, that is why I added positivity into one of our sort of, you know, tenants over here. So positive actionable learning, right? What can we bring to the table that make you feel good about yourself? To sort of expand upon this, like, think about the, the act of learning itself, right? Let's imagine if you bought about a TED talk straight up and said, Hey, you know, what, we're going to teach you the, like, the entire like, like 500 pages of data, you know, a book on data into one talk, like, all of a sudden, you're like, you know, by the end of it, you probably felt like you've not learned anything. But what if we gave you the means to get started? Right? That was what came out of those one on ones, most of the designers and we spoke to felt, hey, I want to learn this. But how do I get started? Right? What is the first step I need to take. And that's when it kind of dawned on us as a collective that, hey, you know, what, we need to empower people to take the first steps, because after that, they will take the second and third and fourth steps, you know, on their own, or we can provide them to those steps in kind of advanced learning things. So that was one of the first challenges that we kind of, you know, overcame?

Andre  23:26

I think the second challenge is connecting designers to topics, I think that's one thing that we are still sort of solving is, you know, we have a lot of, you know, we have a lot of designers who are passionate about a lot of things. I think it's about finding what those where those passions lie, and connecting it to that group of designers that need it. Right. So, so we, one of the solutions was we structure it into learnings into a lot of the smaller teams and a lot of the larger teams, right? So they could be awkward learnings. But they could also be learnings that could matter to a smaller team first, because they could you know, action on that faster, and then move it outwards to to sort of other teams. So So that was one of the biggest challenges that we have enough facing now. And I think another challenge is getting folks outside their comfort zone to embrace this. I think that's one of the biggest, you know, one of the biggest challenges and, but hey, it sort of takes a village right. So I think, I think that's when the whole team sort of came in, lend a hand and say, Hey, you know what, I would love to do something like this. No, but I need that needed courage. So I want to talk about you know, I need to rethink. I spoke about Li Yah earlier and our talk about Ali, who's a designer sort of really stepped out of her comfort zone. And you know, and kind of put herself out there right? You know what, I want to talk about this I am passionate about x experimentation and passionate about organization. Let's put those two together, you know, and you know, and she actually built a framework around it. And, you know, a Great Design Studio actually provided a platform to kind of, you know, to kind of sell the concept to kind of get the concept out there. And now we have several people that actually using that experimentation platform, all because Allie decided, you know, what, I want to get out of my comfort zone, I just want to go talk about this and get it out there. I think that's the hardest thing, but her courage has actually infected a lot of people, because we've had people, you know, sort of coming up to us and saying, Hey, I have this thing I want to sort of talk about, you know, like, Can you can you? Can you schedule me? And I'm like, Yeah, let's do it. So yeah. So those are the challenges that we face. so far.

Nahum  25:55

We mentioned in the beginning, we talked about your passion for making 3d art. And the reason I'm bringing it up, is because it helped you in the beginning to launch the initiative. And I think there's a very cool story here, that can be inspiring for our listeners. So do you mind sharing with us how you use your, your other passion, which is making 3d to help you to initiate this project?

Andre  26:17

Sure. Yeah. Thank you so much for that question. So I do hope you've like asked all your question, because this is going to be taking up the rest of the podcast. I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. But actually, like, the, the 3d art thing actually started off is one of those lockdown things that you learn. And I think last year, it was like, you know, we were kind of locked down for about two months or three months in Thailand. And at that point in time, I said, Hey, you know, what would it be cool to do that? I was actually inspired by a lot of the stuff happening at the apple conferences. So I said, you know, what, how hard it could be? Right? So I just taught myself, you know, sort of 3d I taught myself blender. And 

Nahum  27:06

Wait, so it's only started last year?

Andre  27:09

Yeah, it's only started last year, 

Nahum  27:11

you're doing really cool stuff. 

Andre  27:13

Thanks. I mean, it was a lot of fun. I did watch a lot of tutorials, had a lot of time to so. And I think, you know, I kept at it, right, like, no matter what, it was always an escape for me to go do 3d stuff, create 3d things, right? I especially like those dynamics. So you said like, you know, a few things. And there's the 3d software, sort of, like gross flowers or stuff. Like, I always loved those things. So I think that kind of got me, like, you know, I looked at her as my safe space. And when, when sort of it came to the design studio, all of a sudden, it logically connected in my mind, hey, you know, what, here's something that I learned. And I want to use this to kind of, you know, you know, talk about design studio, and whenever sort of talking to my manager, Shane, we kind of realized that, hey, you know, what, maybe we can kind of bring both those worlds together, right? I think, if we are doing something, we need to advertise the, you know, the heck out of it. Right. So, I think I decided to use that, that 3d passion, and sort of start building things. And you know, I think for this for I think, a good art studio launch, I actually worked on, you know, sort of a really cool, nifty 3d movie on like, flowers growing dynamically. And, and stuff like that, which was kind of well received, though. We showed it on on our, you know, video call software, which was, I think, like, ran at like two frames per second. And my video was, like, 60, FPS, render, kind of, kind of look really bad. So I had to kind of share it on slack. But it's okay.

Nahum  28:55

It was awesome. I actually thought you're doing this for years.

 Andre  28:57

No, it's just like, just one year. But yeah, I mean, I'm still a noob when it comes to a lot of things. So I think I, you know, I kind of want to use this to practice, you know, my skills. So I think so. So now, when somebody wants to kind of, you know, join in to a agoda studio, and they want to learn, or they want to kind of teach Why do is I, you know, I have like a sort of a format, wherein I understand what they're about, understand what their topic is. And I go and challenge myself to sort of create, create, like an action sheet in 3d. do kind of put it out there to sort of, you know, blast advertise there. They talk just like how they do in like, you know, these larger conferences, so, I think it's kind of exciting. It also keeps me you know, keeps those creative juices flowing. But yeah, 

Nahum  29:46


Yuki  29:47

Yeah, that's actually really awesome how you kind of combine your own passion and saw this space to share some of that passion yourself. So you've combined your own passion. With, with the story of creating this design studio as a platform, to share ideas and you wanted others to, to kind of also share their own ideas, because you, you think that there's a lot of that already happening. But we just need another platform to kind of broadcast those knowledge that is being learned throughout the day. And I'm not sure where I'm leading to with this question. But

Andre  30:27

yeah, it's interesting how you use the word share out probably like, you know, change it to showing off. But yeah, I mean, if you want to use the word share, it's fine.

Yuki  30:38

Showing, that's a great thing to right? I mean, you also mentioned the recipient, the beneficiary of this program, is it just the the person that's listening to these talks? It's the people that are giving these presentations as well. And I think that's great. And I think in the future, what do you kind of foresee this program to stand for in the future? If someone asked like, what did design studio do an impact Agoda design team? What do you think? Or what do you want that answer to be?

Andre  31:12

Oh, if I was sort of, so I've thought about this a lot. It's, you know, I think, I think, but every time like, I kind of wrap my head around this, this sort of question. And believe me, I've asked this question to myself a lot. I think the only thing that pops, to my mind is a future of a team without fear. Right, I think, I think we've had, you know, a couple of conversations around this, too. But that's something I fervently believe in. Because, you know, I think, I think we are inherently afraid, not, not as a team, I'm just saying, human beings always inherently afraid at times that you know, what? This, there's always a new mountain, right, I've just climbed a mountain. Right. And I just see they're, like, 20 mountains in the distance, you know, so, which is why we are like, Hey, you know, what, I just kind of, you know, just block out the view. And I'm, I'm chilling on this mountain, you know, that I am on? I think the goal for a Agoda design studio, one of the goals that I always envisioned is that, hey, what if they opened up? Like, don't be afraid, because those mountains are there within your reach? Right? We'll help you get there. And as a team, as a huge, you know, like, as I said, as that one organism, we can move towards it together, right, and in multiple directions. So I think, I think, you know, what I want and is as not sort of fear learning. But actually, you know, kind of, kind of embrace it, and kind of move here. And that is, that is what I want to kind of imbibe with design studio. I don't know. I mean, like, and this is not just me, this is something that I've gleaned from a lot of the one on ones with designers, because, because I know, like many of our designers, if not all are never too, you know, too afraid to learn something new, right? Hey, from a new software, to a new sort of framework, they are always learning growing and looking at ways of adapting it. Right. But it's about taking those fearless learnings and adapting it across the, you know, like, across the org wide thing. So that's one one way, like one sort of role. I envision it. The second role is to sort of level up the team quickly. Right. So I mean, like, I've touched upon this earlier in this recording, where we talked about how quickly paradigm shifts are happening, right. Like, today, it could be, you know, you know, let's say, jobs to be done framework. Tomorrow. It could be another framework that that would work well in the context of agoda. Right. Agoda studio is one of those things that can that can easily leverage in grow the design team into those particular frameworks fast. Right. And that is that's the goal. You know, and I think so, I think one of the things during during the various lockdowns, especially now during the war we've embraced, like a lot more. Right. I think that is one of the those low hanging fruits that you know, we can that we have used the power of Agoda studio, to kind of leverage, you know, the greater the greater team enlarge, to kind of user testing everything. And the third thing that I'm thinking about and I think, Nahum we've had like a few conversations and even with Rochelle, about onboarding, right. Like, there is a future on onboarding, especially when new, you know, sort of new blood joins our team, I think, I think, you know, the Design Studios a perfect way to onboard them quickly on methodologies that we've sort of want, you know, sort of people to grow into want people to hit the ground running would be the right term that I would use it. So yeah, so that's my vision. it's by no means small visions. But hey, I get ambitious. 

Nahum  35:22

I really like you know, how you using knowledge as a tool to empower the designers and build their confidence.

Andre  35:29

Yeah, I mean, that is true. I think that without fear aspect, I think that is that is another hallmark of mature designers. Right? I mean, yeah, there's no, there's no mountain, I won't climb it, there's no, there's no road, that's too far enough for me to kind of, right, as long as I get to that destination, as long as it enables me to kind of, you know, learn more and grow more. I'll take that one step at a time. And I think that is that that is the ethos that I want to imbibe over here.

Yuki  36:01

Wow.That's right. Yeah, very deep. Actually. I think there's, I believe this term is in psychology, but it's called psychology, psychological safety, where people are willing to kind of share it within a group setting, without the fear of being an outcast, with having different opinions or something like that. And so I think that kind of speaks to that as well. But I think you also added another dimension to the fear of believe imposter syndrome, in a sense, where, you know, you only climb to one mountain, but you have 20 more to go. But I think having this program, accept that you don't have to have complete knowledge of something to share it, you can still, it can still be a work in progress, but you you embrace that work in progress and, and give them a platform to share in case that you know, something new happens, or to keep the team agile, in terms of updating the team with new knowledge as well. And so there's a lot of ambitious goals that this design studio is trying to fill. But it's also great, how you've kind of encompassed all of those things together into a single program that is designed studio. So I'm really amazed by all the things that are the visions that you have created and embedded within this program.

Andre  37:24

Yeah, thank you. And to just sort of rewind back to something that you had mentioned just now, Yuki which is on imposter syndrome. I think, when I touched upon the term positivity, right, I think when we sort of spoke to a lot of designers, I think, you know, the underlying tone is that the underlying tone of strength is not a lot of designers felt that imposter syndrome. You know, a lot of a lot of designers felt that alone. I mean, they being alone, right? Sometimes. So I think the the whole, one aspect of design studio is to embrace that positivity. I'm putting out a show like, Hey, you know, what we actually did? I think Rochelle, one of our designers did a mini talk or a lightning share, on, like, on imposter syndrome and how to beat it. And it was surprising that, you know, a lot of us kind of felt that because, you know, all of us are kind of cooped up in our homes, a lot. A lot of the lockdown things we are trying to learn again. Many people were actually home alone as such. Right. So I think, I think bringing that, you know, bring their positive bring that learning, I think, I think really helped helped them.

Nahum  38:36

Yeah, I can even resonate with it, you know, even Personally, I have this feeling of imposter syndrome, even doing this podcast and, and hosting it. I mentioned it before. And what you're doing, you're providing not just knowledge, but a way to practice and build that confidence, which is great.

Andre  38:53

Yeah, I think I think the underlying messages, you know, what, everybody is, everybody's there, for he isn't right, you're here. You're doing this because you're, you're not you're, you're one of the best at it. It's so remember that and keep working at it. Right. And, you know, that's where learning comes in. Also, I feel that learning something that always reinforces things, always, you know, kind of sets that that heart ablaze, right? Oh, man, I'm learning something new. You feel great at the end of the day, right? You you've you've attained some some form of wisdom. And now you can kind of chill and apply it. Like chill, chill. Chill when applied.

Nahum  39:36

We talked about the vision. Maybe you can share with us. How do you plan to scale this like what are the next steps, the things that you can share?

Andre  39:43

Yeah, that's actually a good question. In fact, it was something that I was that I've been mulling over these last few. You know, these last couple of weeks actually. Like about scaling it. I think now that you know, we sort of conference on The approach that, you know, kind of tested it across a few sessions, like a quick conference about the approach. So I think, right now we want to, you know, bring in people. First we want to bring in people from other departments, right? Like, I think I can think of, you know, 10 different, you know, product managers that could bring actionable learnings to us. from anything, right, from anything and everything. Right, from I think one of the biggest asks was how do you build great relationships with your, you know, with your product peers? with engineering? Right, I think we can, we can get that started, you know, and I think, I think that is, that would be one of the first steps to do bring people from within maybe people from business, people from, you know, people from marketing to, to kind of talk to us people from supply, you know, to bring actionable learnings, I still have to think as to in what context, but definitely from other departments as one. And as we scale up, and as sort of as Bangkok opens up, as the world opens up. And since remote work is quite predominant, right now, maybe we look at bringing in people from, you know, different walks of life, different sort of other industries, maybe, maybe different companies to kind of come in and share their learnings, you know, share how they do things. Right, I think, I think there's so many open ended questions on quite a lot of things like, you know, you know, what is like playcraft is one of them. They're so vague and subjective sometimes, but yet, you know, we do have a, you know, a lot of benchmarks on them. So we got to learn where and what all these benchmarks are in the, in the industry in large. So I think those are the two things that I want to do for design studio. And the third thing would be to grow it even more, right, right now we've had, you know, we just, we just do one or two, sort of, you know, sort of studio sessions per month. But I want to kind of increase it to a little bit more as, but again, it's like, it's about reading the room, right? You're not trying to get more time trying to get more, more people to give us their time. So still trying to figure out those sort of logistics around it. But yeah, definitely more design studio. More time, people from outside people from other departments.

Yuki  42:34

Awesome. I love it. And I'm sure there are a lot of rooms to grow in terms of inviting other guests from different departments. Yeah, cross department collaboration and things like that. But I guess, from a person who initiated this program, and as a teacher, or previous teacher yourself, like, what kind of worded advice or tip for the audience?do you have?

 Andre  42:56

 Um, like, I think it would be, oh, it would always be to be passionate. Right, about learning. I noticed. This sounds kind of cheesy, like, you know, you see it at those cafes and stuff like that, like, ignite your passions, you know, like, sort of like a, you know, cold ring commercial of some sort. But yeah, I mean, I think I think it comes from, you know, you need to keep stoking those fires of curiosity. I think it's all stems from there, right? I think that the day you stop being curious, is a day used, kind of except, like your, your weathering wondering away, is the day wither away, rather, right? I mean, I think, I think designers in large, and, you know, designers in our field, right? Like, product designers in large, are curious by nature, which makes, it makes us all the more easy. So but if you ever find yourself losing that, you know, kind of a kind of curiosity to find out, hey, like this, I think in that in my vocabulary is there's never such a line to say that, you know, what does that button do? Cuz I'm just gonna go and press it. You know, and I think anything, that's a good thing, right? If you see a button is red. And if it says we'll launch nuclear missiles, right, I mean, you know, you probably would press it because, like, really curious to see Oh, is that sign true? You can edit this out if you want. I'm not sure. But kind of struck me. But yeah, I mean, if you see a big button out there, right? deck, curiosity would like internally kill me if I don't kind of try and figure out what that does. Right? If one press it allows people around, but always be curious. Always be that like, like, hungry for knowledge. Right? And always keep doing things. You know, I think that's like that's, that's the only sort of piece of advice I would probably give would be just keep doing this right if you have an idea rightly, in your mind. Like, flesh it out, you know, as give yourself a design challenges flesh flesh out, you will find 10 things in that one design challenge that you do for yourself. You'll find 10 things that you can learn, right, or 10 things you will learn. And if let's say you started on a weekend, I think last weekend, if you start something, probably by the end of Sunday, you still be kind of tinkering at it, and you'll be still kind of making it perfect. And you'll be having the time of your life because that's what life is, again to get deep.

 Nahum  45:35

Now, that's awesome. And it's a great way to end up this show. very optimistic and the passion is obviously, you know, in your voice and I think our listener heard the passion in your voice. So thank you so much, Andrew for for coming today and sharing all this.

 Andre  45:51

Thank you, Nahum and Yuki for having me on the show. It was quite exciting. And, you know, to all of you out there. Yeah, keep that growth mindset growing. Keep that grit to learn. And yeah, stay safe.

 Nahum  46:10

Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you are listening, and share it with your friends and colleagues. Don't forget to subscribe to our show to get notified when we are releasing a new episode. And if you want to learn more about the work of the design team at agoda, visit agoda dot design. Thanks again for listening and hope to see you in our next episode.