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Momentum Design Lab - Company of the Year


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Company: Momentum Design Lab, San Mateo, CA & New York, NY
Entry Submitted By: Melissa Sones Consulting
Company Description: Momentum Design Lab, under the leadership of David Thomson, is a pioneer in the field of user-friendly design from apps to kiosks. It stands alone in conducting extensive research including days-long discovery workshops, spending extensive time in client companies to learn about all users (versus a few) and putting together detailed prototypes - a favorite of their many Fortune 500 clients.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Company of the Year - Internet/New Media – Small

Nomination Title: Momentum Design Lab

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

While tech firms pay lip service to user-centric software design—industry results show the opposite: 90% of all apps are uninstalled within twelve months; among software projects, 68% fail.

Then there’s Momentum Design Lab, the brainchild of David Thomson, a 20-year veteran and advocate for design thinking – he calls his work “human-centered” design – long before it was fashionable. Where others move to get quick results, Momentum is well-known for its in-depth research, beginning with three-to-five day discovery workshops aimed at learning about the users, the problems they face and translating these problems into requirements that Momentum solves through software design. In an industry where firms “get the job” and “disappear,” often for months, Momentum is hand-in-hand with the client-user day in and day out. In an industry where “eat what you kill” is a norm, they often get a repeat statement of work and become the agency of record.

As Thomson explains, “Every user is different and there must be a high degree of empathy in every design and experience we create.”

And while firms of Momentum’s size (a talented team of 15) typically attract clients of similar size, Momentum’s roster is mostly Fortune 500 corporations in industries as diverse as healthcare, automotive and oil and gas (versus the norm of a single focus). They swoop in when other agencies fail (key in 2016). In the awards year, Momentum worked with clients to factor in normally overlooked factors including environmental constraints (will an app be used outdoors in different weather conditions?), a client’s competition (will the color palette, typography or iconography infringe on another brand?) and often overlooked human traits (what if the user is blind or deaf?). They are well-known for detailed prototypes that include tomorrow as well as today (“future-proofing”), strategy, mapping, analysis, architecture and design.

2016 was a banner year for Momentum - from websites to mobile apps to point-of-service kiosks and more. Sales increased 40%; repeat business 30%.

They also thought outside the 2D box: When long-distance optical network maker Infinera needed a clear way for users to visualize their networks, Momentum designed a 3D, multilayer solution that’s as elegant to look at as it is easy to understand – obstacles overcome.

And where other firms are “agile,” Momentum is flat-out acrobatic: Social insights analyst Synthesio needed a new command center for the 2016 Disneyland ½ Marathon to enable the event’s main sponsor, Cigna, to easily compare the real-time performance of its social brand—from likes to retweets, photos to live mentions—with other sponsors’. Momentum sprinted to the finish line in only three weeks from design to development employing a sleek dashboard design and animation to get all the information on video monitors without overwhelming viewers.

2016 saw international business increase (their multicultural staff can converse in Russian, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Chinese and Italian). Team members traveled far and wide to conduct research.

Then there was LLamasoft, the global supply-chain optimizer whose SupplyChainGuru application was showing its double-digit age. Momentum analyzed and redesigned the complex app to make manipulating tons of data easy to do, and its interface easy to use. Result: “The designs Momentum put together got people—even our CEO—excited,” says LLamasoft SVP Chris Schneider, “even to the point where they said our other products should look like this.” Like many others, LLamasoft is now a repeat customer.

In 2016, Momentum was on the lookout for bad design (to learn from) and stayed up on relevant trends from the shift from “skeuomorphic” to “flat” visual design to how human gestures impact mobile experiences to how voice assistance is changing the way we search. And they’re big on work-life balance—an outgrowth of strong project-management skills that means great work gets done during regular business hours.

Because, at day's end, tech moves at breakneck speed and a sharp team with a steady aim wins the race. That alone is Momentum.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this organization since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Maintained industry leadership in human-centered design.
-Sales grew 40% in 2016.
-Repeat business grew 30% in 2016.
-In 2016, continued to include frequently overlooked factors from environmental constraints to client competition and whether a user client is deaf or blind.
-International business increased, with tech team traveling far and wide for research.
-Most clients in 2016 were Fortune 500 corporations.
-Designed and developed 3D multi-layered view of a global communications network for Infinera that was both elegant and easy to use, an industry rarity.
-Designed and developed new complex command center for 2016 Disneyland half-marathon in three weeks, faster than others.
-Analyzed and redesigned the complex app for a global supply-chain optimizer, LLamasoft, making the manipulation of tons of data easy to do.
-Maintained razor sharp focus on relevant industry trends including effect of “human gestures” on the mobile experience and how voice assistance changes the way we search

Of the following measures of success, which ONE do you want the judges to most appreciate about your organization's story of achievement since the beginning of 2016?

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