A year in review

Normally, the first days of the year are a good time to look back to assess your results and mainly, to consider the actions you took towards achieving them.

I have a habit of writing a small annual report for myself. I check how I’m doing in terms of progress towards my goals, and I read through my monthly assessments and check the accounting numbers.

So how did 2019 go? There was some good progress, but there were also setbacks. What did you expect?

The tiny agency

Last year’s major event was the creation of GRAAAF. This entity is my online marketing agency. It’s a separate brand, and it’s fully focused on Digital Marketing. I needed to spin that part of my business life off in order to create something that focuses on just one service. It was no longer possible to represent this aspect of what I do adequately on my personal website.



During the spring, Leila Bouanani and I gave a 2-day workshop in Geneva on the topic of social media. The class was specifically designed for museum professionals. We will be holding this workshop again this year, in the Laténium in Neuchâtel. Registration is open.

The Big Project

During the second part of the year, I was busy with the relaunch of a website for the Luzern public transport company with Web Essentials. My role was handling the project management aspect of things. I facilitated communication and decision making between the customer in Switzerland, the designers and the development team in Cambodia. For this client, we created three smaller subsites for sub-companies in the same launch. It was a great project and an intense one, and it’s not finished.


The side-project

The beginning of last year was devoted to a completely new side-project. Roger Aeschbach and I took the leap to propose an idea to an innovation challenge. The Design Thinking Bot was born.

We wanted to propose a tool that would help remote teams improve their ideas, with the help of the design sprint methodology and a bot interface.

As normally happens with side-projects, if your funding runs out, you often have to return your focus to your main business. For now this project is on hold.


The creative part

One of the goals I set for myself in 2019 was to do more creative work. How did I reach this goal?

The cool thing when you run your own company is that you can decide which conference or team-building activity you want to attend. The down side? You have to pay for it!

So earlier in the year, I decided to visit the FITC conference in Amsterdam as my yearly outing. Yay! I chose this event with the idea of being inspired and having a chance to visit AMS again. Two talks that really inspired me were one that covered creative coding by Matt DesLauriers and another that looked at the use of AI for art by Mario Klingmanns.

This caused me to start sketching animations with P5.js. Why?
This activity incorporates 2 aspects that are important to me: design & technology
I can time-box it to 30min (and I can schedule it for the after-lunchtime productivity dip 😉
The gear I need is always with me (my laptop)
Learning the coding part helps with the rest of my business (Javascript, Git)

While I initially considered it just a routine-breaking exercise, one that provided me with some mental fresh air and an almost meditative project, something else happened: I ended up getting a gig because of it.

During the summer, I gave a creative coding class for students at the Schule für Gestaltung here in Basel. Roger and I presented a module during a 2-week workshop given by Giovanni di Stefano and Michèle Salmony di Stefano. This was a great experience.

Copyright Christian Flierl


Thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter.
I wish you the best in the new year.

Yann Graf
I am an experienced Digital Strategy Consultant based in Switzerland. After over seven year respectfully crafting and improving the digital presence of Terre des hommes, Nautilus and G-Star Raw, I am now a freelancer. Please have a look at my Portfolio