Design Jam #2: The Gathering

22 Designers from our Romanian Studios Gather for a New Annual Tradition

Hello there, welcome to the second article about our Design Jam.

This entire event is on its way to becoming a tradition, and we knew exactly when we would do this: in December. Speaking of traditions, there’s something us humans do in the winter time: we all gather around to eat, drink and tell stories. At least that’s what we do here in Romania.

Video by Andrei Mogan

For the first time in our community, the designers from Bucharest, Iasi, and Timisoara joined their colleagues in Cluj. It was a great opportunity for us to meet face to face, this entire experience brought the team together in a way no Skype call could ever do. And what happens when you have 22 designers in one place? Well…a Design Jam!


If you read last year’s article you probably remember the setup: 4 teams, 3 hours and a 5 minute pitch. We had a list of proposals we had to vote, and the outcome was easy to predict: Adopt a pet App!


I know you’re curious about the projects, so we won’t “run after our tail for too long.” Here are the apps as told by each team.

Team Fight Club

We started from the fight each stray animal has to endure. The numbers and statistics offered by the American Humane Association in 2016 are quite harsh and there is no need to talk about them here. But we did find something interesting: Millennials (especially men between the ages of 18-36) tend to adopt a pet instead of buying one.

We went all in from the start, we talked about our past experiences with pets or friends who adopted pets. Came up with a name, a logo and a slogan and then decided the final list of features and user journeys to showcase. Our app has four features: Adopt, SOS, Map and Donate. Let’s take a look at all of them briefly.

  • Adopt does exactly what you think it does, it offers you a newsfeed of pets that are up for adoption, with a brief description.
  • The purpose of the SOS section is to signal a lost dog (if you lost one or you’ve seen one) or to announce certain situation such as “I found a box of puppies.”
  • The Map gathers information from the users and shows you where you can have a local impact based on your GPS location (where you can find a hungry pup, adopt a chubby cat or help a nearby shelter with cleaning).
  • Last but not least, the Donate feature is here to give a helping hand.

We wanted to have an emotional approach and to conceive the most idealistic scenarios on this app. By bringing people together we can all help the animals in need. You can check out the prototype here!

Team Pulp Fiction

We started by trying to find out what problems we have to solve. After we brainstormed and researched on the Internet, we found out that we have a great opportunity to disrupt with a mobile app. Adopting, sponsoring and fostering were the main problems we had in mind when searching for solutions and finally building some rough wireframes.

The user can adopt, sponsor, offer a dog up to adoption and so on. The app is targeting individuals, but various NGOs and associations can join as well.

The dashboard has a news feed listing the dogs that were recently added to the “ready for adoption” category,and you can filter the list to find the perfect one for you. As soon as you select the dog you like, you see all the info you need in order to adopt, foster or sponsor. More than that, you can make him a visit if you are not sure that you are a perfect match.

We wanted to make sure that the animals in need and our users can live happily ever after, and we believe our app has the best chances to do that!

Team Godfathers

“Markers? Check. Sticky notes? Check. Whiteboard? Good, let’s go!”

That’s exactly how we started. We had a different approach: rather than focusing head on a solution from the get-go, we took a step back and tried to do a “5-day sprint” in three hours.

We began by trying to understand the problem: how do we make adoption a “one-click” action? But on the way, we found out we can do more than that. Besides adoption, you can also rescue and foster a pet. This is not something that’s going out of our main focus, but rather it’s incorporated in the solution itself.

Good, so by now the table was already filled with sticky notes and ideas. It’s really hard to say “stop” at this stage especially when ideas and proposals keep on coming, but the clock was ticking. The next step was to prioritize our ideas, by using the dot voting method. We managed to unify the top ideas under one big feature to showcase: The Rescue Map.

We mapped out a scenario in which you found a wounded pet. That app would be of help because you would proceed to pin it on the map and notify all the nearby users of the situation. Unfortunately, there are also more severe cases in which the animal would need immediate medical attention, that’s why the map singles out the nearby veterinary centers with additional information (proximity, phone number, how to get there and so on). If the situation is urgent, capable nearby users can give a helping hand.

We thought it would be a waste to put only some random quick solutions on the table during the Design Jam. Rather, we focused on the discovery and the workshop part in order to find out as many problems as possible. You can take a look at our presentation here!

Team Dark Knight

We went ahead with a freestyle approach: we’ve proposed to cut some methodology corners and to deliver something that’s worth the podium!

We started by gathering as many ideas as we could in a limited amount of time, pulled them through a sorting and filtering stage and then decided on the final features. Many outstanding ideas were put on the board at this point. Some of the wildest ones: national blacklist with bad pet owners; adopter profiles and reviews; support a shelter pet; AI-based matching with your future pet; one-tap animal rescue hotline; smart leash with GPS; pet detector sensor in cars to avoid accidents.

Then we proceeded to rapidly mash up a user flow and to get some logic into our ideas. In the meantime, we’ve put together for an inventory, in order to have no surprises in the next stage, where we’ve wrapped up a couple of rough screen designs. Time was a bit against us, so the last 10 minutes were spent putting the finishing touches on the screens and making quick adjustments on how to approach the pitching session.

The time allocated for the teamwork went by pretty fast, and after a quick coffee break, all teams were lined up to rock the stage while presenting their ideas. Stefan from our team did a stellar job and delivered the winner speech to the crowd. We were glad that our colleagues have appreciated our work and they have decided to give us credit.


The pitching session was awesome; we were all excited to see what others came up with.

Similar to last year, we used a System Usability Scale questionnaire to determine which team would win. Any guesses? Well, it was really close, but Team Dark Knight took the first place! The exercise itself was a good opportunity for us to boost up the bonding within our team. Keep in mind that (almost) all the designers from the Cognizant Softvision Romanian Studios joined this Design Jam, so all the teams were made out of designers from different cities.

At the end of our delegation, we took a pledge to make a tradition of this event. Hopes are high for a 2019 edition of the Design Jam. On the other hand… who said we can only have one Design Jam per year?

Thank you for reading! We will speak again soon, the year has just begun.

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