Monkeys can be disruptive in good ways and bad.

Quick-witted, creative, and with intelligence that’s out-of-the-box, monkeys assemble solutions out of the blue. That’s something to celebrate in the Year of the Monkey.

The trick for you is to figure out how best to use this crafty animal as a role model for unfiltered expression without taking it too far … and finding yourself slinging poop at tourists. We think you can engage your simian instincts responsibly with these few tips.

2016_CNY_steponeRapid, free association can develop into unexpected creations. Random Lego processing is a good way to test your mental monkey reflexes.

With the arbitrary assortment of yellow bricks you’ve been given,
what can you build? A car? A house? A bookshelf?

If you join forces with a colleague, can you collaborate on something more complex? A tower? A village? An obstacle course?

2016_CNY_steptwoNow test your human skills: can you document what you’ve done with instructions even a monkey could follow?

Write detailed step-by-step instructions, or sketch and annotate the finished product. Maybe you could take a series of photos or capture a video of your process.

Share a photo or example of your documentation with us by tagging #MacktezYellow. We’d love to see what you come up with.

Don’t follow instructions — make them.

Ah, the age-old controversy: Do you plunge your hands deep into a bucket of Legos and then compose a contraption straight from your imagination? Or do you follow the included isometric directions to build the trademarked spaceship pictured on the box?

They made a whole movie about this dilemma, and — spoiler alert! — the one who liked to follow instructions was the bad guy. This is definitely the popular point of view: being a slave to step-by-step technical diagrams is for mind-washed drones. Right?

But good documentation is essential for creative collaboration. Recording your process should be integrated with your workflow. Even loose notes or a long email thread will help maintain a useful chronicle of your current project. You may take photos at each step of your work in progress, or collect and scan your notes and sketches so the archive you end up with is searchable and shareable.

Capture additional details whenever you can so the context of your process is preserved. Try to schedule regular time to flesh out and revise your notes. More detail is better, but getting anything down is better than nothing. Your colleagues and your future self will thank you.

Documentation will function in the service of your creativity, and help your next project flow more freely by letting you build on the work you’ve already done.

We’ve collected some more suggestions about good documentation as part of our Working Yellow workshops at


We made several impactful additions to our Team in 2015. Jeremy Sherber has returned to Macktez as one of our four Directors, with a special focus on workflow design. Greg Steddin adds his extensive FileMaker experience to our development group. And if you call Macktez for urgent support, you may be helped by Messiah Gholston or Shannon Phillips.

Finally, congratulations to Sasha de Koninck, our 2015 Summer Stipend Recipient. Sasha’s Garments for Uncomfortable Social Situations shows how wearable technology is not just an expensive gizmo on your wrist, it can also be a second skin that broadcasts your deepest insecurities. (Read about her work at

– The Team at Macktez