Operation Tadpole

Service DesignStrategy

Self-initiated Intern Project
Created at: frog design
Year: 2017

During my time at frog design, the other interns and I challenged ourselves to improve their onboarding process, which is a crucial part of the employee life cycle. Operation Tadpole aimed to rethink the experience, making it more fun and empowering for new hires, with the hopes that they can find their place and feel at home. Our research culminated in a strategy playbook, with concept proposals for the company. 

—>   Check out the full playbook


The Team

From human resources, to design, to strategy, our awesome intern crew had a diverse set of skills. Through Operation Tadpole, we wanted to learn from one another and work across disciples. Our Team Leads Tammy Baird, Andrew Haskin, and Kat Davis also provided guidance along the way. Together, we formed a list of goals to achieve within the next 7 weeks.


User Interviews

For our on-the-field research, the interns and I conducted user interviews of with recent new hires, past interns, and current interns. During the interviews, we asked participants to describe their experiences in three words, map out their own journeys, and recount key moments during each phase of on boarding. In addition, we consulted with experts involved in the hiring and on boarding process. 

Our interview list consisted of 3 experts in the field, 3 recent new hires, 3 interns converted to full time, and 1 intern from another frog studio. 

Defining the Current Journey

We identified key moments during the onboarding process. Based off our interviews, we then found the pain points and strengths along each stage of the journey. 



Following the interviews, we captured the ideas, quotes, and observations of our participants. Clustering and re-clustering lead us to insights, which ultimately helped us identify the two key opportunity areas and generate how might we's. Ultimately, we found that the onboarding experience can best be improved by alleviating anxiety and fostering connections.


The Workshop

In order to generate ideas, the team and I conducted an ideation session within the studio. We had participants ideate around the opportunity areas and our how might we's, encouraging them to come up with as many fun and interesting ideas as possible. Afterwards, we had them act out their ideas to everyone, using props they found or made. 


Concept Development

After the workshop, we collected all the ideas, organized them, and voted on our favorites. We aimed to build on these ideas or form new ideas.


Experience Principles

The experience principles served as guiding posts for the ideas we voted for. They are essential to the ideal onboarding process and we wanted our concepts to embody them.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 11.54.40 PM

The Final Concepts

Our ideas lead us to signature moments for the ideal onboarding process at frog. 

Next Steps

We presented the final playbook to Emily Brinkert, frog's Head of HR, and Oonie Chase, frog's Executive Creative Director. They were already in the process of re-evaluating the employee life cycle, and were looking to improve onboarding. The timing of our project could not have been more opportune. Along with the signature moments, we included action items and key considerations to keep in mind.


The Result

Overall, our contributions were well received. Emily and Oonie and are trying to implement our playbook and the signature moments in their new plan for the employee life cycle. Through our findings, we were also able to identify blindspots in onboarding that the executive team had. We hope that our work can continue to live on at frog in a meaningful way and provide an improved experience for those who are hired there. 

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