Frequently Asked Questions
So, what exactly do The Sherwins do?
We optimize teams! Yay super lean product UI/UX unicorns! Blah blah blah design outcomes and culture shifts! Integrity and more honest cross-functional pivoting! Yadda yadda future disruptive robot champions!
We do all of that.
If you could narrow it down to one thing, what do you do?
We were talking to a friend the other day about the concept of emergence. About how wonderful it is when things at work just organically come into being. It's a powerful experience, and it's great to celebrate it whenever it happens. Teams and products seem to transform overnight into things of great beauty and genius.
But you can't throw some ingredients in an oven and expect a cake to emerge. Good business is about active shaping. Light touch or strong hand, it's constant attentiveness that leads to cake.
The Sherwins help teams make better cake.
I do like cake. How do you do that?
While our expertise spans several industries, we're usually focused on what people have labeled “innovation.” If that label troubles you, you're not alone. It troubles us too. So much so, that problems with actually doing innovation inform a lot of the work that we do.
We've been doing the following things with individuals and teams to help them make better products:
We help individuals and teams address skills gaps in communication, collaboration, and creative thinking. We do this by conducting training and team-building workshops with hands-on modules for group creativity and problem solving, learning from failure, refining presentation skills, fostering effective critique, having productive conflict, and drawing out tangible support for decision making in an organization. We also provide 1:1 coaching and advising to help team members improve in these skills. This draws on the material in our new book Turning People into Teams.
We do close-quarters, elbows-deep work with product teams to help them understand and embrace improvements in their product design processes. This may happen through creating custom training programs and toolkits, working alongside teams on formal design and research projects, or both. We like to help smaller groups build out these process improvements so they can make future decisions without the need for a consultant.
We provide process analysis for product teams to figure out what’s working and what isn’t, so that teams don’t lose the former by fixing the latter. This is about preserving the balance between culture and change orders, between ethos and error meetings, between joie de vivre and JIRA tickets. This is often initiated by executive teams and product groups, but we’ve also done this work with nonprofits and colleges.
We help organizations conduct more effective user research and facilitate workshops.
We are well-known for doing Creative Workshop classes, where designers improve their problem-solving skills and gain greater resilience through doing 40 to 80 design projects. Many class participants have called the experience the “Project Runway of Design,” but we’re way nicer.
We speak at conferences for people who like to do stuff, rather than just talk about stuff. Most recently, we spoke and led workshops at UX London, UX Tokyo Days, -ing Creatives, HOW Design Live, Struktur Event, and Leading Design.
We may work with our clients for a week. Or a quarter. Or several years. We make each hour count.
Is there anything you don’t do?
We don’t teach software. We don’t do large-scale change management. We don’t work with just the person at the top. We don't send emails when it's dark, unless we're in another country. We don’t require you to buy our books or a Something-Something product (though we do have one you should check out.) We don’t say no without a reason, and we don’t say innovation unless we mean it.