Weeknotes by Chan #12–15

8 min readSep 28, 2021

Oh gosh, another month has flown by and my week-note has now slowly developed into a month-note! This month has been a hectic, yet peaceful one. I have been off client work so had a lovely chance to get to know the dxw team and work on some impactful internal projects.

This month has also been a shitter on the bank balance for me as I’ve travelled around the UK including Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester and then tomorrow, London, but it’s been a much needed adventure!

Here are my top ten stories from the last month:

Stories from work ⬇️

Passed my probation!

Four months in. I am now a fully-fledged dxw’er!

The lovely making the announcement on Slack!

Congrats to me! I don’t know about you, but the word probation makes me well nervous as it just reminds me of prison (I’ve not been to prison by the way, this term is just way too serious).

Well, you’ll be glad to hear that I passed it! I feel dxw is a place where I can make real impact, particularly in building the design community and bringing new perspectives to the way we do things in the company. Me and my line manager

discussed feedback and areas for self-development for the future, and now I am at the point of setting some habits and systems to get me there. Now fingers crossed for that senior role 🤞🏼

Building best practices at work.

Looking at how we improve our delivery outputs at dxw.

Showing off our works of art in our ideation workshop.

A small group of us kicked off an internal project with a goal to create clear expectations about what good work looks like through our delivery and what outcomes this will achieve, for dxw and for our clients. After a two week whirlwind, we developed a prototype of a new ‘guide’ around creating ‘discovery reports’ which will soon be part of our playbook. This project just acted as a reminder of how valuable internal projects and how the time between client work can be used to make impact in a business.

One thing that gave me the love of life was the strong bond that we developed in such a short space of time! From inside jokes, to making 11:11 wishes to naming ourselves after kitchen utensils and a load of randomness in between, it was a project full of hard-work and plenty of laughing fits!

Website re-design.

It’s nice to get back to doing some good old graphic and web design.

Designs in action on Figma.

Yesterday, we announced that we are now an employee-owned business 🥳 That means the future of the company is now in the hands of us, the staff. As part of this new change, I have been spending some time along with a group of writers and developers, giving our website a refresh. Sometimes I miss a bit of graphic and web design so I was really happy to pick up this work over the last few weeks. It was also a great way for me to brush up on my Figma skills as it’s been a while — most things are on Miro for me these days!

Power of mentoring.

Last month, one of my mentees landed his first graduate design role at University of Salford. Last week, another one of my mentees got her first role at Diffusion PR. Big claps to them 👏🏼 It’s been nearly four years since I started mentoring and it just makes my heart warm to see my mentees smash it and discover things about themselves they never knew! I hope our portfolio coffees, interview role plays and CV chit-chats continue to guide them on this amazing journey they are starting on!

Back to the beeb.

Six months feels like a lifetime ago.

Feedback from the ‘zoom’ conversation

Last week, I was invited back to the BBC to talk about some of the things I have learnt in my new role over the last 6 months, and what I would do differently if picking up previous BBC projects. For me, it feels so good to deliver work and see your designs go live, which can sometimes be difficult in larger organisations.

I have also realised that service design is so much more than a map. A map should never be treated as the outcome, but just simply a form of an output to get to the outcome. In my earlier days, I would focus on creating lovely, structured maps but on reflection, I spent far too much time on that when there was a much bigger problem at hand. What if we had to do a project in service design where maps weren’t a thing? Lot’s of thoughts rolling around in my head on this one recently.

Finally, it was so lovely to meet old faces, especially those who I worked with when starting out in UX. The progress is real 💪🏼

Service design in government.

Didn’t realise how much I missed a good old conference.

Format of a ‘break-up email’ by George Aye

A few weeks ago, I was chuffed that dxw secured us a ticket to the #SDinGov conference. What a day it was! I went to so many talks around hybrid working, service design in the public sector, designing for young people and more, which all left me with plenty of food for thought on how I can improve my craft.

One thing that really stuck with me was the final talk by George Aye (Co-Founder and Director of Innovation at Greater Good Studio) around design ethics and what happens when we reach our peak craft. He went through an example of a break-up email and how it should be accepted to say no to things that don’t align with our values or ethics, no matter how much money we lose. How might we re-wire our brains to think of ‘no’ as a positive? Hmmm.

Stories from home ⬇️

Sister broke her scapula.

Thump. The worst ever sound of a 9-year old rolling head first down the stairs.

A clear cut snap of my sisters shoulder blade on the x-ray.

My sister had a right fall last month and completely snapped her scapula in half! I have spent most of this month, making sure I don’t rag her around (me and my sister do not go a day without having a little play fight) so that’s one thing I’ve missed doing. She is healing well and been rocking her far too fashionable sling at school, but I cannot wait for the day where she can brush her own teeth again as I am sick of being the tooth-brusher in the morning 😂

Life coaching is amazing.

A fresh set of eyes on my life is just what I needed.

Our signature ‘peace’ pose.

If someone told me this time a year ago to invest in a life coach, I would be like ‘Why the hell would I need a life-coach?’. As someone who’s heavily into law of attraction, positivity and all things energy, I would say that I know what I want and definitely in control of it. But within the last two years, Covid messed us up big time, relationships ended, I moved back home (plus a hundred other changes all at once) and certain parts of my life were lost completely or put on pause. Little did I know, this angel called Gaby Power could walk into my life and help me rediscover myself.

After just a few sessions we soon started realising that around 90% of my cup was being poured out to external people and projects and hardly any energy was being poured into my own cup. I went through a phase of constant work and more work after work topped up by side projects taking up my weekends that I had absolutely nothing left for myself! I also had a major problem in saying ‘Yes’ to everything, which I think makes sense at the start of your career, but your body ain’t a robot — burnouts will soon come creeping in! Anyway, I am at a much better place and had a massive realisation that self-love, in whatever form, comes before anything.

New routines.

Got a new rule. Friday equals cafe day.

Screenshot of the short videos I have been publishing on Instagram.

Every Friday, or every other Friday, I get myself out the house and sit in a random coffee house and work. A great way to have random conversations with strangers and enjoy fresh coffee (decaf for me). So far, I’ve worked at a vegan cafe called Prana. A coffee house called 200 degrees that roasts it’s coffee at a a slightly lower temperature than normal of 200 degrees centigrade that yields it’s smoother, deeper taste, hence the name.

Last week, I was enjoying far too many matcha lattes at Foundation Coffee in Manchester and then found myself in a secret garden called Mala. Of course, I make instagram reels of this stuff so do check them out.

Early bird is here for life.

Early bird in the week and night owl on the weekend.

Who says you have to be one or the other? I was convinced that a night owl is a night owl for life for some reason, but that is a proper myth. I now wake up at 7am everyday, shower, meditate, exercise, drop sister off to school, go for a 5k walk and then boom work starts. Even writing that down, I’m like ‘Is that really me?!’. This time a few months ago, I was waking up at 9:55am and starting work at 10am! It’s also a habit that’s had a ripple effect on my sleep, energy and overall productivity. Note to self: keep this going 🤞🏼

Finally, I am off to London tomorrow for work, catch-ups and a mentoring brunch. So excited to meet some of my zoom friends in real life!

Have a good week wherever you are!

(By the way, 2022 is in 95 days 😱)




📍UK. Designer of *positive* experiences. Right now @dxw / Ex @bbc. Service design + UX/UI + Branding. Mentoring the future gen. + having a good time.