My three months at Clearleft

I thought I’d write a summary of my three months (and equally long absent from this blog) at Clearleft. To give it some background; Clearleft is a digital UX consultancy located in Brighton. They approached me at New Designers 2013 and said that they where running a internship-programme. At the time I wasn’t that interested since purely digital isn’t really my speciality. But I sent in my application and a while later I was in a Skype interview with @andybudd (managing director) and this completely changed my mind. It became clear that they where as interested in physical as they where in digital (for this internship). This was followed up with a interview at their office in Brighton where we also took a tour of their brand new soon to be office. On my way home I was definitely persuaded that this was a good project.

2 hours and 30 minutes later I did however realise that a Journey from Brighton to North London takes, well 2 hours and 30 minutes… It also costs close to £500 a month to do this commute, these where two major drawbacks but I decided to accept their offer anyway, and I’m sure glad that I did!  As far as the expensive commuting goes, this wasn’t that big of an issue since Clearleft offered a very descent payment for the internship, something they should have massive props for, especially considering many agencies expect graduates to intern for free or in exchange for travel and some lunch money.

Anyway, the internship… on my first day I met my two team-mates that had along with me been selected because of their mixed skill-sets. There was me(obviously) with my background in Industrial Design, Kilian Bochnig (@kilianbochnig) who was currently studying Multimedia arts in Austria (MMA he called it which confused me at first:) ) and Zassa Kavuma (@zazbot) a robotics graduate from Liverpool University.

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We got handed three briefs to choose from. The one we decided to go with read; “Turn a current active digital behaviour in to a passive one”. This really intrigued me as it’s an area I really like working in. Getting technology and its associated behaviours to take the back-seat and become invisible is going to be a a very important field of work in my opinion.

We started dissecting the brief and mapping out behaviours associated with technology, devices and input methods, looking at existing devices that solved the brief and so on. To get started with the actual work we set a challenge to produce at least 20 concepts a day for a full working week. This resulted in 120 concepts of varying execution, idea-height and feasibility.

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After several screening and merging processes we where left with six concepts that we split up so that we where in charge of working up two each and present these to the Clearleft team. After a very tough vote, a concept called social radio won. During the process we constantly had drop-ins from “friends of Clearleft” that spent an hour or two mentoring us and helping us forward with the project. This with the addition of the Clearleft team meant we had a pretty solid knowledge and expertise resource.

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This was during the next month developed to Chüne. To see and read more about the actual outcome visit our website: http://www.chune.co.uk

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One thing that I have skipped is the Clearleft annual event; Hackfarm. This is where the whole company goes away to a remote location to work on alternative stuff for a week. It was great that the wanted to even bring along the interns on this years trip. We went to Skendelby Hall in Lincolnshire. It was an amazing week of inpiring project, great company, amazing food and loads of drinks and games.

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So to sum up, my experience as a intern at Clearleft has been nothing but amazing, sure the commuting took some time to get used to but apart from that there is nothing to complain on, Clearleft is by far the nicest company and working environment I have come across. All I can say is, if you are thinking about applying for next years internship programme, then DO IT, and if you aren’t thinking about it, well maybe you should start thinking! :)