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Welcome, Jonathan to Abstracts! How is your life in AJ&Smart design studio?

I guess that’s a pretty broad question, and I’m going to answer it based on my day to day activities.

I am currently the CEO of AJ&Smart, and this means that my work revolves around trying to figure out some crucial questions:

What is vital for AJ&Smart in the short term?

• What are the things that keep the company running?

• What are the things that make sure that the quality is as high as possible for clients?

Also, how do we make sure that the environment is as nice as possible?

People hearing and finding out about AJ&Smart, and this also comes down to building client relationships directly.

I’m just making sure that AJ&Smart is running smoothly in the short term. What I’m heavily involved in is thinking about what happens in the long term. So, like how and why would AJ&Smart still be open 10 years from now and be successful?

It’s easy to start an agency, and I think a lot of people can do that, anyone can do that, and the thing that’s pretty difficult is just to keep this thing running. It’s a big, expensive machine. A lot of agencies fail, so, I’m trying to figure out how to make sure that the company is sustainable but keeps the sort of high quality and charm that it has right now at its current size.

Part of my day today is travelling around the world consulting large companies. Recently I was in Tokyo working with LEGO, and I’m kind of like a Product strategy consultant on that level.

So I don’t really do the day to day product design work anymore but a lot of high-level product strategy consulting work.

You are a man of productivity and time management. How do you come up with the ideas such as Shortcuto-omatic and Lightning Decision Jam?

They just kind of happened a bit accidentally. I guess it was always related to a client coming in with a problem. Lightning Decision Jam occurred because for years of not having a system for letting clients come and talk to us and have a meeting. I really hated meetings, and I always thought that of super messy and I want to find a way to make that a little bit cleaner.

Even internally we weren’t using any systems we were just talking and discussing, and I hated discussions too. I think discussions usually goes nowhere. So lightning decision jam just slowly evolved over a few years of trying different things with clients.

Short-cuto-omatic was just something I was doing myself to solve my own problems which weren’t something I was going to make public. I was just doing it on one piece of paper, after a while I thought this is super helpful for me, maybe this is something that I can push out there into the world.

I think that I’m a huge procrastinator. That’s why I also build the system so that I don’t have to rely on me doing these things; I can almost rely on a system.