RIOT: Driving Digital Innovation and Transformation Through World-Class Product Design


RIOT is a Poland-based awarded digital innovation lab with a unique skill set in strategy, design and technology. The lab helps its clients plan, design and build any kind of digital product: from web and mobile to smart TV and even to Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, everything they need to succeed in a digital-first world.

RIOT’s mission, from the very beginning, was super simple – to design and build digital products that make difference, that make people’s lives simpler, easier, that people care about, and last but not the least – that people truly love. There has also been an internal mission as well – to establish friendly workplace employees feel comfortable at. The company never wanted to be another typical software house turning loads of coffee into code; from the early days on, its dream was to have total control over projects it does: ranging from high-level design concept to UX and visual design and further to actual production (development). RIOT’s ambition was to give its clients the possibility to execute the entire digital project under one roof, no matter how challenging and innovative it is.


Profound Leadership

RIOT was co-founded by Bartek Papież and Szymon Paluch who are current Design and Tech Director, respectively. Both are brilliant generalist, having vast knowledge covering digital product design, user experience and brand strategy as well as software development, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. What’s truly great about the duo is the fact that they are capable of leading the team through even the most innovative project regardless of the end platform (web, mobile, IoT, Smart TV, voice assistant, etc.), project maturity (proof of concept, prototype, MVP, product/market fit) or customer size (startup or enterprise).


Technologies Accelerating Disruptive Innovation

The founders believe that technology is the new rock’n’roll. All over the industry, it can be observed how digital products are changing human relations, changing the economies and overturning the current state of affairs. There is no longer a division between online and offline – the world has truly become digital.

“People used to borrow books from libraries, now they can access a wealth of instant knowledge via Google. They used to buy vinyl records, now they can stream music from Spotify directly to their mobile devices. People used to rent VHS tapes (remember?), today the world has Netflix – a global movie rental provider”, Bartek said.

These days, most of the adaptation by business occurs as a result of new technologies. If we look around ourselves; mobile apps are controlling every aspect of our lives, virtual reality is replacing architectural visualizations, artificial intelligence is replacing the consultant in the call center. Now, there are interactive showrooms instead of typical shop displays, marketing is based on hard data instead of crazy inventions born in the minds of advertising experts. “Machines are the new production line operators. Big data, Intelligent watches, TVs, houses and whole cities, Autonomous vehicles, one can go on forever, knowing these new buzzwords, people live with them every day now,” he added.

At RIOT, the team refers to all of the above as “digital products” and truly believes that success can only be achieved by brands that will be willing to utilize all these new technologies to combine in-depth knowledge of its own business with an awareness of the real needs of modern consumers. In doing this, the company will gain a real competitive advantage by achieving better organization of work, customer service, production optimization or, to put it more broadly, using new business models which account for the most important macroeconomic and social trends.


 A Learning Mindset

The company believes its uniqueness comes from the founders’ mindset. They are always eager to learn something new and accept even the most challenging project. “That’s not something you learn at the university, you need to be born with that kind of attitude. Pushing the envelope, that’s what they do on a daily basis,” they said.


Delivering Thought Leadership

Every now and then, whenever the company finds spare time between commercial projects, it tries to give something back to the community – all in all, and continue learning that way too. That means RIOT contributes writing articles, publishing blog posts on its company website, conducting guest lectures in Polish universities and participating in industry events. In 2018, RIOT had been invited to give six speeches across diverse events in Poland.


Gaining International Recognition

In as short as two years, the company managed to receive almost ten local and international awards and recognitions, including six Behance Feature (four of them were for the interaction design excellence). Also, in December 2018, RIOT was named one of the thousand best digital companies in the world according to Clutch 1000 List 2018. This could not be any better for such a young company.


Overcoming Barriers

The founders feel the biggest challenge for the company so far was customer acquisition. In Poland, clients are accustomed to splitting digital projects between two, three, and sometimes even more companies. Usually, they involve brand design studio to create brand identity, UX firm to prepare wireframes (and visual layouts) and nail down most needed functionalities and lastly a software house – to code layouts delivered by UX studio. One can easily tell that there are definitely too many moving parts to keep the project on the right track. At RIOT, the team does its best to educate the market that there is a better way and that digital project may be executed within given deadline and budget under one roof, where strategists work hand-in-hand with designers and developers.


Looking Towards A Bright future

“As technology is the new rock’n’roll, everybody wants to listen to it! “Some time ago I came across an interesting article where the author stated that in the nearest future every company on earth will be a software company, at least partially. He couldn’t be closer to the truth,” said Bartek.

At RIOT, every individual shares an ambition to participate proactively in shaping the new reality by creating digital products for innovative clients who wish to succeed in the digital era.

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