This week, we’re introducing Maurice, McGinley, Design Director who recently wrote about how passion powers our organisation.
How did you come to join Innovation Labs?
I was invited to help set up the Innovation Lab at the very beginning in 2011. I was sorry to leave the Design group at Philips, but I was excited to get back into software and build a new group. This was in the lead-up AVG’s IPO, so it was an exciting prospect.
What does your day-to-day look like as Design Director?
I’m part of an amazing and versatile design team, so that’s a good start. We design apps, services, presentations, print materials, videos, and even physical products. We even wrote a poem for the onboarding screens of our first sleep tracking app, Koala. No two weeks are the same. I love the variety.
Describe the way you work
I pay a lot of attention to understanding the why of any project, because the biggest problem any project team can have is working on the wrong problem. It happens. I emphasize doing the right thing over doing the thing right. This suits my personality, and it suits how an innovation group should work.
The job of Design is to create maximum value for users and business, with minimum technology. I try to make sure that projects are defined with focus on the value we want to create, and not on specific solutions. The best results come from a precise problem definition and wide-ranging solution exploration.
In the words of Orson Welles “The absence of limitations is the enemy of art”. Defining those limitation is very important to us. When you see YouTube videos of young kids breaking bricks with their hands, it’s not because they’re stronger, it’s because they are focused.
What challenges do you face?
At AVG Innovation Labs we have representatives of several major cultures, and some alternative lifestyles as well. And a few hipsters. Not a challenge. A real challenge can be the different professional cultures of Design, Business, and Technology. They don’t always speak the same language.
Design, Business, and Technology experts must collaborate closely to create the next big improvements to everyone’s daily lives. The visualization, prototyping and user-testing skills of our design team play an important part in getting all the experts on the same page.
How do you spend time outside of Innovation Labs?
Well, I have 4 kids, so we’re not talking about a lot of spare time. But at the moment, I’m learning about minimalist music, trying out HIIT training on my bike to work, reading The Master and His Emissary, and considering alternative education programs for my children.
Trends for the rest of 2016?
Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs), Internet of Things (IoT), and Virtual Reality (VR).
CUIs are really a leap forward in human-computer interaction. I think this is the step that will finally get your grandmother to buy her gin online.
The IoT world will experience a few major scares this year, but this will raise public awareness and help drive the market to open, secure platforms. Don’t worry, public, we’re on it!
VR is the new bitcoin, by which I mean something good will probably come out of it, but I can’t say what. I already find books very immersive, and they did OK.
What’s the next big thing at Innovation Labs you’re looking forward to exploring?
We have really big plans for our router project, Chime. The team has had some ambitious ideas around where the router sits in the home and how so much more could be done with them. We’re already starting to test some of these ideas and hope to share more on them soon.