What’s a hybrid?

It’s a person who builds on their different skills and experiences, and creates their own unique skillset, bridging between different but relevant disciplines.

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At Adaptive Lab, we build beta businesses. To do this, we unite smart thinking, brave design, and nimble build. These parts can’t stand alone. And how each bit is connected greatly determines the outcome. Adaptive Lab connects each part by matching skills, capabilities and experiences that complement each other and the problem at hand - hybridging what our process and people offer.

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What does a hybrid look like?

For this bit I’ll have to share a little about my background. I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My parents are both Korean, but I’ve never lived in Korea. I lived in the US for many years, where I completed my undergraduate degree at Parsons School of Design in New York city. And more recently, I’ve been happily growing older with London in the last two years.

It all started with building my skills in fine arts, where I found a love for process and exploring raw materials across different mediums. But as often is the case, I found it difficult to create impact with infinite creativity. After my second year at Parsons, I changed my major to Strategic Design and Management. There, I learned about service design and how it can drive social impact. This is where I found my passion.

During these studies, I got together with a really talented group of students and one very dedicated professor to build a portfolio of non-profit micro businesses. Most failed. One or two worked out really well. And we learned something every single day - a balanced result of brilliant thinking, happy accidents, and not so happy ones.

In reflecting on our accomplishments, time and time again, I discovered a lack of digital and technical skills within spaces that were committed to doing social good. While aware of the likely reasons, such as budget, resources, and time, I grew tired of asking people to do this digital thing and that digital thing for our teams. It became clear to me that the future of service design could no longer go above and beyond without the speed that digital interfaces support. I needed to cut the middlelady and pick up these skills myself.

I applied to dev bootcamp, a coding academy to learn web development in Ruby and JavaScript. It was arguably the most intensive 19 weeks of my life, but in turn it also completely changed my understanding and perspective on learning as a whole. The main takeaway wasn’t to become a master of code, but to learn how to learn faster and smarter.

Since then, I was hired to help launch a start-up where I developed my first hybrid app, got a scholarship to complete my Masters in Interactive Digital Media at Ravensbourne here in London, and was invited to join one of the coolest agencies in the world.

Prior to joining Adaptive, I was quite happy with the uneven layers of skills I had moulded together. This meant that rather than working to make each layer equal, I was more interested in keeping the same mould and growing the whole shape with more experiences. Adaptive Lab has given me an amazing opportunity to do just that.

How do hybrids fit in at Adaptive?

From my very first introduction to Adaptive Lab, it was clear that interweaving people’s personal experience and goals with the projects they take part in is greatly valued and a top priority.

My first project involved understanding a very complex service, testing various solutions, recommending improvements, and delivering impact. It was a great chance to onboard with our ways of working and meet the wizards at work.

The more recent project I’ve been working on is a perfect example of how hybrids help build beta businesses that launch faster, grow quicker, and behave bolder. Shifting roles from strategist, to UX designer, to service designer, I worked side by side with our senior product strategist to uncover and pitch a kickass proposition, then with our senior designers to build out thoughtful user experience with a beautiful interface, and finally with our service design principal to shape a customer service that people will love.

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Why do we need hybrids?

This type of work would never be possible without each individual’s ability to bridge strategy, design, development, and service through a shared understanding of how each discipline should intermingle. Together we make better, faster decisions, early on in projects. As with any project, the more efficiently we can carry and build on knowledge from one phase to the next, the better we are in connecting smart thinking, brave design, and nimble build.

It’s the little bits that add up.

This is why for example, rather than separating visual designers, UX designers, UI designers, here they’re all called designers. It’s no mystery that all designers are bit of this and a bit of that. This way of thinking allows the flexibility for each designer to be a bit more of this and a bit less of that depending on their goals and each project.

We need hybrids to help us bridge not only each other’s skills but also our own. Adaptive Lab sees this and gives us room to grow into the shape that we want.

This people crafting is what makes Adaptive Lab so unique.

I don’t think I could have learned as much as I have in the past few months anywhere else. I’m wiggling in excitement just thinking about what’s to come next.

So, what type of hybrid are you?