Balanced digital ecosystems

POSTED ON April 08, 2019

If you’ve visited our office recently, you’ve probably stopped to stare at our aquascape. It’s the first thing you see when you walk through the door – a purely symbiotic system of relationships that requires intense cultivation behind the scenes but appears like an elaborately decorated fish tank to the casual observer. Whatever your impression, you’d be right.

The aquascape exists in a delicate balance. Its plant life provides oxygen and cleans the tank without need for a filtration system. Its fish and aquatic life care for the plant life to keep them healthy and in harmony with the rest of the system. And the circle continues.

Simultaneously, it exists as eye-catching, moving décor.

A trained eye in the sophisticated world of aquascape design will immediately recognize a complex system at work, while a first-time observer will likely see something far more approachable, and easy to understand. It’s the same way we approach digital ecosystems, and the aquascape is a metaphor we use to visually induct clients into our world and process.

Marker Seven develops digital products that combine a processed approach to a harmonious, balanced digital ecosystem. We utilize complex, custom back end development for each project, to meet the unique needs of our clients and their businesses. We combine this back-end detail with accessible user experience, user interfaces, content and visual designs that the end user will experience with ease, in a way that meets their understanding, wants and needs. Neither can exist without the other – back and front-end design and thinking, a business without customers, or an aquascape without the right combination of plant and aquatic life.

We recently applied this process to a new internal portal for Genentech’s marketing training team. One of biotech’s original and most prominent companies, Genentech was in the midst of some big changes. With increased competition from both startups and biosimilar drugs, the company was placing a much-elevated focus on product marketing to better promote its life-saving science. Additionally, a company-wide adoption of agile methodology, internally known as ‘New Ways of Working’, was being rolled out in an effort to make the company more nimble.

Genentech’s Marketing Excellence (MX) team was charged with fostering both of these initiatives for the marketing group – a mission critical task in Genentech’s new path forward. Needing an online solution to engage, support, and train its marketers, the MX team engaged Marker Seven for the project.

Using the agile concept of a minimal viable product (MVP), we focused on a streamlined experience that met business objectives and offered high value to the audience. Our interview process and persona development gave focus to a feature-set that was immediately useful, and we designed it with extensibility in mind for future iterations. As time passes, we’ll receive data and feedback to learn how audiences are using the Hub. This data will directly influence how future enhancements are approached, and guide the MX team how to focus resources, time, and budget for a balanced whole.

To learn more about our work with Genentech and other leading companies, visit

And, next time you’re in the office, take a minute to examine the aquascape, or at least wave hi to Kuri the robot on your way in.

  • John Clauss