When pulling together a list of things to reflect on for the year, there seemed to be a overwhelmingly common thread. Whether talking about new hires, award wins, product launches or brilliant content, it's been the people of Kyan that have made 2019 such a good one. Here's ten of our best moments.
1. Eleven new #facesofkyan
Enough to make a football team. Or field hockey. Or cricket. You get the idea. We welcomed 11 new faces to the Kyan team throughout the year. Software Engineers, Product Designers, Product Managers, Client Partners and more. We grew, and made some fantastic new friends in the process. Head over to our Team page for a who's who, or better still, follow us on Instagram to get regular insights into our team members, new and old.
2. Toast, our breakfast meetup
We'll be honest here... we were getting a bit sick of dull and stuffy breakfast events in the area. You know the ones, death by Powerpoint over warm orange juice whilst someone spits croissant crumbs in your face. So we decided to start our own. We launched Toast, a breakfast meetup 'without the waffle'. Whilst that pun didn't really stick, the meetup was very well received and we were humbled by your response to it. It's breakfast on us, a chance to meet new people and a 10-minute lightning talk from a Kyan speaker or a guest speaker. Sound like your cup of tea? Sign up here.
3. Employer of the Year
This one really took us by surprise. We were up against some stiff competition, but were incredibly proud to bring home the trophy for Employer of the Year at the prestigious Surrey Business Awards. The category's judges, Surrey Business School, visited us earlier in the year for a tour of Kyan HQ and to meet some of our staff. It was radio silence until the event itself, so when our name was called our table was a heady mix of surprise and excitement. I'm sure I echo everyone at Kyan when I say it felt fantastic to be rewarded for something that our founders and us have worked so hard to achieve: making Kyan a great place to work.
4. Campus Workshops
It's no secret – introducing Design Sprints to our way of working has radically transformed how we produce products for our clients. In fact, we see it as so beneficial that we decided to share the love. Our Campus Design Sprints Workshops are a place for product people across many different industries to come together and gain insight into the 'Kyan flavour' of design sprints, how we run them, why we run them and the science behind the process. Keep your eyes on joincampus.tech for upcoming workshop dates in and around London. We'd love to see you there!
5. Getting Scrummy with it
A huge congratulations to Amy Callaghan, who not only became Scrum Certified this year, but also went to the immeasurable effort of taking every single person at Kyan through Scrum Training. Which is no mean feat considering that there are over 40 of us, all with our own calendar commitments, meetings, toilet breaks, and so on. Amy took some time out to write about our learnings using Scrum. This is a great read for anyone working in a digital agency environment that uses or wants to use some form of agile: Key Learning from Running Agile Projects Using Scrum
6. Our tech blogs
Software Engineers are busy people, and ours are no exception. They're the backbone to our business, but we found time to put together some insightful blog pieces. Whether they're technical deep dives, informal interviews or general opinion pieces, we got a lot out there, with 15 technical blog posts and 10 internal developer meets. As our resident 'content guy', this makes me very happy. If you're an agency or studio with a tech team, absolutely sit down with them and get a content plan together. Check out our README interview series or more general tech posts in our News section.
7. WXG 7
This year's WXG broke new ground for us. We experimented with a new venue, a theme and lasers. Loads and loads of lasers. The Electric Theatre felt a lot more 'us' – a community-centred venue with a grass roots feel to it. And the theme of 'tech for good' was uplifting and inspiring. We welcomed some truly brilliant speakers from across the UK and were graced with a wonderful audience. A big thank you to Wirehive, who once again co-organised with us. For 2020's WXG, we're going it alone. And oh boy what a lineup we have so far. Check out wxg.co.uk for info and tickets. It's going to be a blast.
8. Legal Design Geek
When worlds collide. We partnered with northern legal powerhouse, DWF, to bring TWENTY FIVE workshops to the attendees of Legal Design Geek. And that was all in one day. The theme was design thinking and the goal was to introduce legal professions to design sprints and how they could work in practice (oh, a law pun). Despite a very exhausted team by the end of it, the day was a success, we had some great conversations and made a bunch of new friends.
9. Design Sprints
As we said further up the page, Design Sprints have really hit home for us. We ran 24 sprints this year with a real mix of businesses, from startups to huge financial providers. Harry & Will, above, have been the figureheads and driving force behind our sprint offering. It's now a key pillar in our business proposition and is bolstered by Kyan Labs (our user testing offering) and Production Sprints (our fast-paced delivery method). All of this forms our new Rapid Digital Development system, which you can read about on our new Services page.
10. Clients, glorious clients
It goes without saying, really. Clients new and old have made 2019 a strong year for Kyan. We've continued our work with our mainstays, Canada Life, Zurich and Sage, and we've started exciting new projects for the likes of UK Connect, elvinyl, AEVI and ElectroRent. Please do keep your eyes on our Work page for new case studies, which will be landing imminently. We're lucky to see our clients regularly, with most if not all of them spending time at Kyan HQ, joining us for social events or partnering with us and our events programme. And we hope to keep it that way throughout 2020.