My IBM Design Bootcamp Experience – Make Things, Break Things

By Eytan Davidovits & Rachel Sibley

 This is part 3 in a 6-part blog series by (and about) Eytan Davidovits, a Visual Designer who joined IBM Design in December 2015. In January 2016, Eytan embarked on IBM Design Bootcamp, an intensive 3-month onboarding experience for early career design talent, and decided to chronicle his adventures. Take a peek inside Eytan’s world; you’ll learn skills and practices at the heart of IBM Design Thinking. Eytan is one face of the future of IBMand of Design itself. 

make and break

Building Towards Unity

“You should still be iterating on your designs. If you present the same designs next week as you did this week, I’ll be disappointed.”Patrick Chew

After successfully pivoting to the new product, we spent weeks two and three developing concepts and low-fidelity mockups. In the Week Three Playback — the Vision Playback — our three hill teams combined to give one unified playback.

Overall, the feedback we received was that, while our concepts were great, there were clear inconsistencies between the hills. It was evident that the final week would be spent tightening everything up.

To accomplish this, first we needed to physically shake things up; we rearranged our whiteboard walls to group ourselves by design affinity — visual designers, data visualizers, storytellers, deck animators.

All disciplines poured over every screen to pick elements worth keeping.  We then rebuilt our screens to create a visually cohesive product. Our Front End Developers had to complete the build in one week—and they nailed it.

For our Final Playback, we elected just three team members to present our outcomes. It was a celebration of four intense weeks of work. The entire Security team sat front and center, and — with minor tweaks because design is never truly finished — they agreed with our final solution.

reflection on microproject

Microproject Reflections

“So, how hard is Security?” Liz Holz

After finishing our project, the Yellow section met outside in the Austin sunshine to reflect. We were left with two main ideas.

Security is hard. Even after four weeks, we probably understand about 10% of the space.

New designers are often asked to hit the ground running in a difficult space. It’s important not to be overwhelmed by what you don’t know. Make mistakes! You don’t have to be the subject matter expert immediately. Learn what you must in order to start solving the problem. Trust that you’ll learn along the way.

In the beginning, we were given three hills — and each team set to solving each hill alone.  Over time, we learned to work as a unified team.  Imagine that we were designing a car. Each team was designing a different part, for example: the dashboard, seats, and windows. But when you drive a car, you experience it as a whole. That’s where we had to go if we wanted our work to succeed—and be a cohesive experience for our user.  When we felt we were losing cohesion on our product, we stopped, analyzed, and made changes. We iterated not just on our work—but on our team structure, and we came out much better on the other side.

The Section

“You’re each here because of the unique perspective you bring to design.” —Doug Powell

talent image

The talent of my cohort continues to amaze me. One person has released two fonts, which have been downloaded thousands of times worldwide. Another designed the IBM Winter Design Bootcamp poster that we’ve now printed, signed, shared and treasured.

It can be difficult to mesh all those disciplines and leverage their perspectives rather than stepping on each others’ toes or muddying the work.

My biggest takeaway from this project was learning how to best help my teammates—and how to let them help me. The way I see it, my design skills lie along a bell curve. What’s great about Bootcamp is that the designer sitting next to me or the one across the room can fill in those low points. We all have such strong and varied raw talents; being able to turn to the person next to you to help fill those gaps of knowledge has been priceless.

If you are a passionate problem-solver, able to empathize with users and turn that empathy into design insight,  join IBM Design and help us create exceptional experiences.

Learn more about IBM Design Thinking

Connect with IBM Design on Twitter and Facebook.

Read previous installments of Eytan Davidovits’s IBM Design Bootcamp experience here.

Eytan Davidovits


Eytan Davidovits is a UCLA graduate and current member of the IBM Analytics team. He specializes in Visual Design. Connect with him on twitter @eytand.


Rachel Sibley


Rachel Sibley is a communications maven who loves to tell great stories. She has served as a communications consultant to executives in international tech, the Los Angeles and New York art worlds, and leading international publications. Her current delight? To source and share design-centric discoveries as lead storyteller for the global IBM Design studios. Connect with her on twitter @sibleyspeaks.

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