Design Disruptors

Digital Marketing

by Sam Munro 333 Views 0

Recently a couple of us from The Tomorrow Lab attended a screening of Design Disruptors, a documentary by InVision. A  screening event was kindly hosted by PWC in the MAC Belfast. This was a follow up event to Belfast Design Week, an annual series of design events featuring a great number of multidisciplinary talks and workshops to bring the design community together, as well as a boutique design conference – Design camp.

Luckily the documentary was screened a second time in Belfast last week, this time by Queens University Belfast Computing Society and PWC. This got me thinking it would be a great time to give it a little writeup and share my thoughts on the documentary, looking at how we can apply the ideas and methodologies from industry leaders to our workflow here at the Tomorrow Lab.

About the film

Design Disruptors is a full-length documentary by InVision exploring the power of design in leading digital companies and products. Interviews in the documentary focus on leading designers from well known brands including Twitter, Netflix, Airbnb, Spotify, Salesforce and many more. It’s a story led documentary focusing on some of the biggest names in tech and how the rise of design has revolutionised their industries with the concept of design disruption.

Disruptive design is the idea of interrupting something which is maintaining a status quo. Creating the next big thing by toppling old industries or ideas with new, smart and agile technological approaches. Uber is often referenced as a prime example of a major disrupter by transforming the taxi industry by offering a great user experience for both customers and drivers.

Key Take-Away Points

Prototyping was an ongoing theme from many of the designers, although the processes greatly varied they were an essential part of every product designers process. At The Tomorrow Lab we employ several prototyping techniques beginning with simply sketching wireframes to constructing clickable prototypes with Invision and rapid frontend prototyping.

Google Ventures were certainly big heroes in the documentary, they showcased their Design Sprint process. A week long workshop to “Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”. A process documented in the Sprint book which we’ve just completed reading in The Tomorrow Lab book club. Have a read of Thomas’s thoughts on Sprint for insight on the book.

We were introduced to Facebook’s 2G Tuesdays by Julie Zhuo of Facebook. The idea of looking at your technology through the eyes of often forgotten user groups. In Facebook’s case these are the millions of users still on slow 2G connections around the world, they often get forgotten and lose out on the experience with a slower connection. At The Tomorrow Lab we know that our internet speed is faster than most of our end users so this is why we take performance testing seriously. In a similar fashion to 2G Tuesdays we include Network Throttling in a testing procedure to ensure users with a slower connection are not forgotten.

Mail chimp gave a good overview of their friendly user approach and how small features achieve big wins. High Fives relates to the users current mood making them feel closer to the product. There’s a certain stress caused by sending out large email campaigns and when a chimp high-fives you afterwards it can be quite a relief.


I’d highly recommend Design Disruptors if you’re from any design discipline, especially digital design of products or services. It’s a excellent film, you’ll be very interested to see how these companies have achieved great success in billion dollar industries through design led processes.

Despite being a documentary it’s full length and action packed. Every design leader interviewed brings something unique to the table giving a good snapshot of their companies approach to design driven business.  I did feel that the end could have had more of a conclusive approach or controversial ending.

If you want to see the documentary lucky for you there are numerous screenings all over the world, however with the 2nd screening in Belfast was last week you might be waiting sometime for the next.