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How NASA’s 50 year initiative has inspired FARFETCH’s product design team

By Alix Craig
Alix Craig
Creative thinker and technical problem solver, designing efficient interfaces for Farfetch supply chain and dreaming of Saint Laurent.
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How NASA’s 50 year initiative has inspired FARFETCH’s product design team
Since 1965, NASA has been creating Mission Patches to commemorate their flights and research initiatives and, most importantly, to celebrate all the people involved in making it happen. Each patch is unique and the teams are fully responsible for the design. Daniel Barry, NASA Astronaut, states 'This very large team of people - the crew, the training people, and the mission control people - has this one badge that gives everyone a sense of working together.' article

The original sketch and final product of the 'Senator Jake Garn' patch, to celebrate his trip to space to deploy two communications satellites, in 1985.

Copyright / Owner: NASA ID #: STS107-S-002 Source: NASA

The STS-107 team with their patch (held center, and on the suits), the mission was conducted for research purposes, and focused specifically on microgravity and Earth science research.

Taking inspiration from NASA, the Farfetch Product Design team decided that, in true Todos Juntos fashion (one of the Farfetch values meaning 'all together' in English), we should also use mission patches to celebrate our milestones. Travis K. Kircher states that NASA patches were 'to symbolize the objectives and character of an often-diverse crew.' article. And in July 2017 we started to design our very own mission patches for our diverse crews.

At Farfetch, each project is designed, built and managed by various sized teams and skill sets across the business. Most projects include product managers, UI developers, engineers, product designers and researchers across different countries and timezones. With many also including data scientists, marketing teams and agile coaches. Getting a project, or initiative, released into the world with this many moving parts is no mean feat. It takes a hardworking, cross discipline team. These projects and initiatives, and the teamwork involved, are what we wanted to celebrate in our Farfetch Mission Patches.

Without further ado, here is the collection of mission patches that we have created over the past two years.

Currently, the patches are designed by those in the Product Design team and are printed and distributed to every person involved with the project. The names of all involved are put alongside the badge in our Mission Patch hall of fame on Confluence for all colleagues to see. We have big plans for the mission patches and would love to get Farfetchers from other teams to contribute to the design so we can celebrate everyone's contribution and share it globally.

Not only do these mission patches celebrate the success of a project and those involved but it also encourages employee recognition throughout the business. A study from TINYpulse found that '[Recognition] has a tremendous impact on retention, workplace perception, and interpersonal relationships.' (TINYpulse, 2018). So, why wouldn't we want to encourage something that increases our employee's happiness at work?

A Product Designers Laptop decorated with Mission Patches

Most of those with mission patches at Farfetch use them to decorate and customize their laptops. Leroy Chiao, NASA astronaut believes that '[an astronaut's] first mission patch to be a sort of status symbol.' Article and I hope those walking around our offices with their decorated laptops feel the same pride. 
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