What is the hive?
When you enter the HIVE cylinder at thecamp, don’t expect to find thousand of bees buzzing. Here, the bees are the 20 residents, coming from different backgrounds and walks of life ; and the honey are their projects, developed over 6 months of work.
thecamp – an innovation hub – hosts a residency program called the HIVE. In 6 months top, teams lead projects from ideation to delivering a prototype. A team of 6 persons support the Hivers* on their creation journey, as well as a plethora of mentors (Matali Crasset, Jean-Noël Portugal, Emmanuelle Champaud, etc.). Our project, MERGY, emerged in this context. It was born from an lucky encounter with two of my co-resident and multi-skilled designers.
As is thecamp, the HIVE is an experiment. From projects to methodologies, everything is to be tested on the spot. As a first edition resident, here are some of my impressions and feedback on the program’s methodology.
The HIVE methodology is strongly inspired from the design creative process. Ready to learn how we developed in 6 months top seven projects from ideation to delivery (prototype)?
During our on-boarding weeks, we met entrepreneurs, researchers and experts in different fields. This is pretty equivalent to the research and empathising phase of the creative process. The objective was to pinpoint issues to address to and interact with users to be sure to respond to a need.
Each week, mini-hackathons in teams of 5 were organised so that we could propose possible solutions to the weekly challenge. It was also a way to see how well we could (or could not) function together as the teams changed each time.
Once we all had a first outlook on each challenge we could chose to tackle (Oceans, Education, Mobility, etc.), came the moment for us to start gathering all of our new insight and prioritise. “Which issues matters most to me?”, “Which one seems the easier to address to?”, “How could I act on this?“. In short, it was time to narrow down the different issues to focus on one and one only.
This diverging phase is a tricky one. Often confused with brainstorm, ideation is, in itself, a creativity process. At this point, quantity does overrun quality. The objective is to produce as much ideas to resolve the issue chosen as possible.
Each seemingly applicable solution had to be prototyped quickly. If it did not past the frugal prototype test, the ideation process had to start over again.
4. PROTOTYPE / DELIVERY
Once teams found a valid idea that was both prototype-proof and mentor-proof, they entered the delivery phase. For us, it meant that by march 2018, we had to finish a first functional prototype. In other terms, we had to grab the essence of our project and accurately convey it through our deliverable.
5. HIT REPEAT
The double diamond is named this way to remind us that iterations and testing are inherent to any project’s early stages … So we continued on ideating / testing / asking our users to be sure to deliver a prototype answering to the need we chose to address to in the first place.
Another way to accurately represent our creative process would be “the Squiggle” by Damien Newman* *, especially in our project’s case. Curious about how MERGY’s history and management? Discover it here!
The HIVE methodology – in test for our BETA residency – bears different objectives for the teams, whether it be project-related or management-related
As it was the HIVE’s first edition, we knew straight on that we were ourselves BETA testing a made up methodology. As a manager to-be, I had no experience of how to prototype or even design a methodology. But eventually it is what collaboration is about: testing out new working formats that suit everyone in the group. So for me, the HIVE was a really interesting playground / first case. Everything was not always on point, but it was the game and we played by the – shifting – rules ; I am confident that the next HIVEs are going to be tremendously exiting as the methodology will grow stronger.
As users, we were not always aware of the methodology’s pivots and diverse shifts which created sometimes confusion and tensions inside the group. The feedback culture was lacking at first, but eventually rehabilitated.
Overall, I learned a lot about managing groups. The HIVE made me realise that trust, communication, and most of all transparency are values that should be inherent to every project.
It’s also thanks to the HIVE that I decided to dive more deeply into collaboration… and lead to OUR MILLENIALS TODAY project. But this is another story!
* Hivers is the nickname given to the program’s residents
**: Damien Newman is a designer from Central Office of design. Discover them here