Juice Labs was birthed out of a curiosity to "experiment" new ways to connect people together while at the same time inspire others to get their "creative juices" flowing and share their ideas. It started with a simple idea. "What if we can create a community where designers, developers, and digital marketers can come together and share our knowledge and resources to raise the standard in our craft?" The idea quickly picked up momentum and within a year, Juice Labs has successfully hosted 5 evening events with up to 40 participants attending through word of mouth. We bring industry experts as guest speakers to share on topics the community wants to grow in and have a great time meeting new people over a family style dinner.
One of the first challenges of entering into a new industry is the lack of connections of people, resources, and knowledge of other disciplines within the field. During the time of my early bootcamp days as a designer, I found it challenging to find enough time to understand what developers and digital marketers did exactly but realized that since our interaction overlapped so often on projects, it would benefit to learn how they think and operate so we can better collaborate. I found that there were plenty of meetup groups within our own disciplines but there weren't a lot of multi-discipline groups to learn from. The more I looked into it, the more I realized how uncomfortable people found networking events to be and the missed opportunity of building collaborative relationships. One fairly new occurrence that is taking shape in the tech industry is the increasing amount of new grads from tech bootcamps flooding into the market and the lack of available resources or platforms for continual professional development.
The purpose and goals of Juice Labs are threefold:
As the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect". These were lessons we learned along the way as we iterated and improved after each event.
A big part of making these events happen is having a system and being organized with the logistics of planning. This is where the inner nerd in me loves designing the operations of all the tasks on my new favourite app, Notion. It's google drive, notes, and Trello all into one...and then some. Below is an overview of how I created the engine behind Juice Labs.
Please refer to events above.
When it all comes down to it, it's all about the people. I learned that although it's important to utilize technology and create systems in place, it's more important to focus on how it can improve the experience of the people. In this case, we applied UX principles to quickly identify the problems people had with networking events and iterated and improved upon the feedback until people was satisfied with the events. At Juice Labs, we'll continually learn to improve and innovate the way people connect.