The Official OpenRoad Blog


OpenRoad and Honeywell Named as Finalist for SIIA CODie Awards

Honeywell Smartline is up for another technology award.

We’re proud to be finalists in the 2018 CODie Awards; “the only peer-recognized program in the business and education technology industries.” With our client Honeywell, OpenRoad has been named a finalist in the Best Manufacturing Solution category, for Honeywell’s SmartLine Application Validation Tool. This category recognizes the best solution for managing the manufacturing supply chain, including everything from from planning and scheduling, to monitoring, managing, reporting, analyzing, and more. Innovation, vision and overall impact in an industry are among the assessment criteria.

OpenRoad nominated for CODie Award


OpenRoad Brings UBC’s New Strategic Plan to Life Online

We’re proud to work with the University of British Columbia as they usher in a new era. Here’s how we collaborated to conquer a complex project.

The University of British Columbia recently unveiled a new strategic plan, “Shaping UBC’s Next Century,” to articulate their vision, purpose, and values for the future. This plan has been presented with a print publication designed by UBC and a new responsive website designed and built by OpenRoad.

UBC Strategic Plan

While the site alone was a big undertaking, it was only a piece of the project’s puzzle. The primary document—a 73 page print publication—had yet to be finalized and content was still being written and structured while the site was being developed. Our challenge was meeting the tight deadline, building a site to accompany a text that was in development, and working with UBC’s large and complex team of stakeholders. The goal was to bring the two teams together to produce print and digital content that was aligned, and showed no evidence of having been created by different teams. (more…)

Who are service designers?

Reflections from Gordon Ross on the #SDinGov 2018 conference in Edinburgh on who service designers might be and what that means for an evolving design genre.
Me and my polar bear shirt speaking about uncomfortable knowledge at #SDinGov 2018 / photo @w_harmer

Last month, I attended and spoke at the Service Design in Government conference in Edinburgh. I made the 7000km sojourn from Vancouver to Scotland to give a presentation on some of the design for policy work we’ve been doing and to be with a group of people whom I feel a great deal of professional affinity. It was my second time attending, having presented in London in 2017 on our service design work for the Ministry of Justice here in BC.

I may not work as a public servant or as a service designer embedded in a government department, but I spend a good number of my hours working along side them, attempting to make government services less obtuse, easier to use, and hopefully resulting in positive civic and societal outcomes. My professional identity and sense of professional community is very much influenced and shaped by practicing service design in, for, and with government.


OpenRoad Recognized Among Canada’s Top Workplaces

OpenRoad is nominated for the 2018 Employee Recommended Workplace Awards.

We’re so thrilled to be nominated for the 2018 Employee Recommended Workplace Award. The award, presented by Morneau Shepell and The Globe and Mail “recognizes excellence in achieving a healthy, engaged, and productive workforce.” Fifty-three Canadian companies—including leaders in finance, transportation, technology and more—join us as nominees as a great place to work. Nice.

What makes this particular award unique is that it’s all based on completely confidential employee feedback. Companies are evaluated on their employees’ responses to questions regarding Total Health—physical and mental health as well as general satisfaction with work and life. (more…)

Talking Visual Design and Brand in Copenhagen

The city of design

Last week in Copenhagen, Denmark—where smart design thinking delivers an eminently livable experience to the city’s over 580,000 residents—OpenRoad Creative Director Wil Arndt was invited to share his knowledge of branding and visual design to a passionate conference of communicators and digital workplace experts.

Wil talks about visual design and brand at IntraTeam 2018

Photo courtesy IntraTeam (

You’d think it was the idea of presenting in that design-forward context that had Wil puking rainbows.

But it wasn’t just the nerves. (more…)

OpenRoad converges on Service Design

Hundreds of people from a range of industries from across five provinces attended the sold out event in Toronto.

If the buzz at this year’s CONVERGE: Canadian Service Design Conference tells us anything, it’s that Canada’s service design community is blooming.

It was great to see participants from the public sector this time around (33% public sector, 52% private sector, 15% academic). And OpenRoad was proud to be there, too, supporting the future of civic design and multi-level service architecture.

OpenRoad partner Gordon Ross speaks at Converge: 2017 Canadian Service Design Conference in Toronto

OpenRoad partner Gordon Ross speaks at Converge: 2017 Canadian Service Design Conference in Toronto

OpenRoad shares Service Design knowledge


Service Designers: Expand Your Palette

OpenRoad is sharing our service design knowledge at Converge 2017

Curious about some of the design methods we use in our client workshops? Well, now you can learn how to use them yourself!

Jacqueline Antalik, our Director of User Experience, and Deborah MacKenzie, one of our amazing User Experience Designers here at OpenRoad, will lead a compelling workshop that allows participants to sample some of the unique methods we use in our practice. (more…)

Helping Youth Impacted by Divorce

OpenRoad’s recent design for social innovation work gets some early recognition.

In 2016, the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab—a group of volunteers, lawyers, counsellors, and mediators—approached OpenRoad to help them better understand the experience of youth going through divorce with the hope of influencing change within the justice system.

And we’re proud to see the Provincial Court of British Columbia—our home province—recognize the potential of this new approach to justice reform.

Recent Additions to the ThoughtFarmer Team

Ever wonder what it takes to develop and maintain vibrant software that powers workplaces around the world? Just ask one of our three new additions to the ThoughtFarmer team.

Back row: Mina Abdelsayed. Front row, from left to right: Hollie Hodge & Graham Small.

Mina Abdelsayed, Technical Support Specialist

Our ThoughtFarmer clients will recognize Mina as the kind and helpful voice behind their troubleshooting calls. Having joined the team about a year ago, Mina is our new-ish technical support specialist. As a technical support specialist, Mina’s goal is to provide assistance for our clients and maintain ThoughtFarmer’s 99% client support satisfaction rating. This includes responding to support requests and performing installations and upgrades.

Mina has a degree in computer engineering, with a software designation from UBC. While most of his training has been in coding, he says he prefers support roles over being a developer. “As fun as developing code is, I love the challenge of trying to figure out what’s going on,” said Mina. “No two tickets are the same. It’s like a ‘deadlift for the brain’, always starting from the bottom and having to pick it up”.

Gordon Ross talks Service Design, this time in London!

Gordon Ross, Vice President of OpenRoad, is venturing out on another road trip to speak about service design. In December, he travelled to Toronto to speak at Canada’s first service design conference: IN FLUX. This time, Gordon has been invited to present at the fourth annual Service Design in Government conference on March 8th in London, England!