One of our peer advisors told us once that the early years of childhood can often be used as a good metaphor for a new business or startup. An age when every year brings new experiences, unlike any you’ve had before. The years when you start to understand very clearly what family looks like—who around you most contributes to your well being, happiness and safety. The years when your instincts are put to the test, becoming acutely aware of the sustenance that keeps you moving, and the shelter that keeps you safe. They say that in these first few years of life, your brain is firing more synapses and capturing more information than you’ll capture in the rest of your life. This metaphor has never felt more accurate.
Next year, we’ll be celebrating our 5-year anniversary since running our very first design thinking workshop in Brooklyn. Our first 2.5 years, we felt as if we were simply born into the world. We started to develop a personality, we made people laugh, we learned what felt good and what to avoid. We captured every piece of data we could find, soaking in the world around us with the widest eyes we could muster, because we could—because the world was so interesting we couldn’t bear not to taste it all. Then we hit 3, when we learned to walk—rolling our fun side project into an actual business. We learned how to feed ourselves, how to ask for what we wanted and how to make friends on our own. These years can feel hard in the moment, but you realize it’s just because you’re trying so many new things for the very first time. In the grand scheme, most of it feels trivial in retrospect, but it’s very clear how much stronger you are for having faced them. This period is all about building a foundation that will last you for years to come.
And that brings us to present day—nearly 5 years old. We could not feel more ready, or more excited, to be hitting what feels like a very new stage of life. A stage where we no longer marvel at having a voice, but spend our time exploring where we might use that voice to make the biggest impact. A stage of life where we no longer just have playdates with friends, but come together with those we admire to build something meaningful—the grand scale equivalents of ambitious lemonade ventures and audacious tree houses. And finally, a stage where we don’t just accept family as a support system, but we actively work to cultivate, develop and give back to that family—the people at the center of what we do and define who we are.
Yes, we are excited for 2017. Excited for bold risks. Excited for playful adventure. Excited for deepening existing relationships and building new ones. Excited for diverse collaboration. Excited for what’s to come.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being with us every step of the way and for helping us grow up. You’re the reason we get up each and every day, and there’s no other place we’d rather be.
Here’s to a New Year,
The Design Gym Team
Our Favorite Moments from 2016
1,116 change makers getting their hands dirty in 64 public classes.
3 amazing panels, 1 Industry Night dinner and 1 Collective Conscious event for peer listening around the election.
26 client projects across 20 amazing organization (including our first car client for you Mad Men fans, and our first 800+ person audience).
3 new team members (welcome Jason Cha, Erin, and Jane!), 15 Lead Trainers, 3 new TDG babies and a brand new 30-person home for us all to play in.
4 surfing trips, 1 skateboarding lesson, a virtual reality roller-coaster and an unknown quantity of tacos during ‘Field Trip Friday’ team days (focused on learning, bonding and overeating).
And, a candy cane in a pine tree (we couldn’t get the partridge or the pear tree).