Optimising Success The world of research and development requires a lot of querying in order to ensure the right solutions are reached effectively. Optimal Workshop is a key resource for many and has been named as 2021’s Leading User Experience R&D Platform – New Zealand in the Corporate Excellence Awards. We take a look at how the team has thrived since its humble beginnings and what secrets lie behind their success. There were once two researchers who wanted to create a quick and easy way of running a remote card sort. Their answer came in the form of OptimalSort, an innovative online card sorting tool that demonstrated the benefits of remote user testing. Their ideas, however, grew quickly. Next came the development of an entire suite of powerful UX tools based on the team’s years of experience in user research and user experience consulting. Now called Optimal Workshop, the researcher’s dream has become an invaluable resource for researchers, designers and information architects who want to improve the user experience of their products. The work that Optimal Workshop does allows the team to serve a range of clients across a range of industries, including web design and navigation, software development, information architecture and large enterprises. Each has its own unique projects and demands, from individual researchers to teams of hundreds being applied to particular cases. Recently, the team has seen particular demand from larger enterprises in the financial and technology industries. While Optimal Workshop’s primary customers are researchers, the company’s footprint extends across UX designers, product managers, marketers and any other role trying to understand how to design a better product or process. With a range of different tools on hand, it is possible to create new ways of helping users to make informed research and confident design decisions. Key to the firm’s success has been an approach which consists of a rare intersection of experts who are easily accessible at all times. Thanks to the way in which Optimal Workshop developed, the team operate somewhat uniquely as a company. Internally, there is a supportive and cooperative organisational structure that is based on aligned and autonomous, cross-functional squads. Collectively, these squads make up the firm’s three tribes - product, revenue and operations. Everyone has a Practice Coach, someone who supports their continuous personal and professional development and general wellbeing. This approach has ensured that people work for Optimal Workshop in the long term, always exploring ways of moving forward within the business and the industry. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the industry, it became clear that budgets for research would tighten, with increased rigor from a client procurement and onboarding perspective. Despite these challenges, Optimal Workshop’s position as a remote productivity tool, in a freshly remote-focused world has allowed business to grow despite the challenges of the day. The pandemic has validated and cemented the firm’s standing in the marketplace as the remote research platform of choice for a significant Mar21490 percentage of customers. 2021 will see Optimal Workshop continue to expand, supporting the local UX community. It runs the UXNZ event each year, with this year’s hybrid event combining both live and remote audiences. With such a reach, not only into other companies, but into the research and development industry, it’s clear that Optimal Workshop will continue to thrive no matter what challenges arise. Their modern, remote way of working has not only come into its own during 2020, but has secured the business for years to come. Company: Optimal Workshop Name: Alannah Rosa Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.optimalworkshop.com With such a reach, not only into other companies, but into the research and development industry, it’s clear that Optimal Workshop will continue to thrive no matter what challenges arise. Their modern, remote way of working has not only come into its own during 2020, but has secured the business for years to come. The work that Optimal Workshop does allows the team to serve a range of clients across a range of industries, including web design and navigation, software development, information architecture and large enterprises.