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2019: The year we rebuilt and refocused

Every New Year I sit down to make an honest assessment of the past 12 months at Kind and think about our priorities for the year ahead.

Mat Hayward

Article by Mat Hayward

BLOG 2019 Rebuild Refocus
  • Environment
  • Digital process
  • Strategy

A tough start

At the beginning of 2019, we weren’t in the best of places.

Originally, Tom and I founded Kind hoping to make a positive impact and help organisations who had purpose. We had plenty of work, but productivity and motivation was low and we were not achieving the balance between operating a successful business and maintaining our values and mission. We knew it was time to make a change and take steps to achieve that balance. After a frank discussion with the team and re-working our strategy and business objectives we were able to refocus on our original goals while still providing quality output and continuity for our clients.

On the positive side, it was clear that we were in a position to turn things around ourselves and I was really pleased with the reaction we saw from the team. Productivity improved massively and we hit or exceeded our targets for the next six months in a row.

As a team, we pulled ourselves out of the mire and it honestly became one of my proudest moments of the year, if not the entire five years since we started Kind.

Somewhat of a perfect coincidence (some might say fate) is that at the same time we were firmly back on track, we celebrated our 5th birthday. This gave us the opportunity to thank everyone who had played a part in taking us this far with cocktails and meatballs at the fantastic 31K.

After that we took our team to the Peak District for a few well-deserved days away from our desks, including an awesome team building game with PeaksGo, called Hunted.

Part of our re-worked strategy involved repositioning the production roles within the business to ensure we had the skills to take Kind to the next level and when Chris and Sam left for new adventures of their own, we had the opportunity to put our plan into action sooner rather than later.

Seth started in September as our Senior Front-end Developer and his passion for clean, accessible and high-performing code will help us to maintain our high-level of quality output.

In October, he was followed by Ben and Maria who joined us as Senior Designers, both of whom enjoy user-centred design projects, simplifying complex user interfaces and creating long-lasting design systems.

With these three great new additions to the team, Kind feels like a entirely different agency to what it was at the start of the year and we’re ready for the challenges that 2020 will bring.

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During all this, we still managed to deliver work we’re proud of including a library of collaborative data patterns (our second project with the Open Data Institute) and working with the V&A to help Cultural Heritage funders and researchers to seamlessly share their data.

And there are more coming… right now, we’re excited to be coming to the end of a major project for Henley Business School and are looking forward to seeing the user-centred redesign of their website in the wild.

We’ve also been working with the Sainsbury Laboratory on a cleaner, more usable website which is due to launch in April as well as continuing our work with SHU on adding consistency and quality to their online presence.

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Making a positive start to the decade

We’re excited for what the new year (and new decade) might hold for Kind and have already started making plans for where we will focus the efforts of our small team.

Taking action

Every year, we want to do more to increase our positive impacts on the environment and society. While we joined the Global Climate Strike in September and continued our commitment to giving 1% of our turnover to environmental charity, the time we’d invested into recovering our business position meant we otherwise feel like we've not made enough effort in this area.

2020 will be different, we’re putting in regular team catchups and booking time to work on the positive impact projects we're undertaking this year, whether that be collaborating with other like-minded professionals to help small organisations with little or no budget for digital marketing or connecting with a long-term charity partner who we can help with both skills and monetary donations for the next 5 years.

Collaborating

Just before Christmas, we reconnected with the rest of the team behind the Nottingham Craft CMS meetup and welcomed Abstrakt’s Jamie Jenkins to the team. Like Kind, Abstrakt are one of only five verified Craft partners in Europe and are also keen to do more with the growing Craft community in Nottingham. We’ll be working with them and the guys at Makermet to put on more regular meetups in 2020 and continuing to advocate for a better web for all.

Showing appreciation

We’re really appreciative of everyone who has played a part in Kind’s success over the past five years, but our biggest thanks are saved for our team. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to deliver our best work and so, this year, we’ll make sure to enjoy more time together outside of the office and away from the distractions of work and projects.

We’ll start by attending Nottingham’s digital design conference, New Adventures in January.

Mat Hayward

Mat Hayward is Co-founder and Partnerships Director at Kind