24 September 2014
We’ll be three years old at the end of September 2014. Here are 10 things we have learned along the way:
Service Design has emerged as a large part of what we do. We now work on product strategy for clients, discovering a whole portfolio of possibilities up front. These products and channels interlink and also feature employees and customers. This is service design. Other companies offer this as their primary distinction but we feel we are still differentiated by data being our principal building material.
One part of the Playbook that is fairly full is the section on Data Qualification. This is a guide to what risks to look for in datasets and how we can mitigate those risks and help the clients overcome any problems. This is key to any data-driven project – the data will kill the project if it is not right. We’ve got a checklist of about 60 things to look for on new projects – and it grows every time we do a new project.
It takes time to find the right people. The last three years have allowed us to meet lots of people across lots of diverse projects. We are doing more networking this year so come up and chat if you are out and about. If you are a designer who agrees with our point of view then get in touch.
We don’t sell our method too much. Clients are more interested in the business benefits. Also, our methods are a unique competitive edge that we won't be giving away soon.
We constantly iterate the Playbook, our recipes for project methods. We have a lot of new techniques in Synthesis – the key stage that turns user-insight/ business analysis into services and strategy. Clients like that they don’t need to hire an extra load of researchers. Our designers and product people do the research and carry the insights straight into design concepts.
Clients like the fact that we can bring cross-sector credibility and ideas to their project. Amongst other things, we have established ourselves as experts in the research sector of the finance industry. One thing our finance clients like the fact that we bring learning from the sectors we have worked in to their domain. This is echoed in the analytics work that we do – that leans heavily on our experience in media – making communications that speak to different levels of expertise.
We are pretty good at knowing what builds the business and what is a distraction. Focus is extremely important to any idea to take hold or for any organization to operate. We have plenty of ideas for side-projects but unless they are in support of developing the business, we don’t do them. Creating and supporting products is likely to be part of our ten year roadmap, but not until we find the right opportunity.
We are a design company. We don’t do engineering. We prefer to separate expertise – especially given the complexity of the sectors we work in. We share a studio with Equion who we work with on build projects and prototyping. We are building a selection of engineering project templates that are geared to discovery and invention projects that need engineering after a concept stage. We’ll also be recruiting technologist/prototypers/pathfinders as and when appropriate.
We don’t waste money but more importantly, we don't want to be a ‘wacky creative shop’. What we do is great design work and we don’t need dumb stuff around. The studio has some cooler stuff on the walls and Farringdon is a good place to be, but there won’t be any dodgems in reception just yet.
We only try to work with clients at the top of their game. This year we worked with Google, and return clients such as BBC and Nature are leaders in their field. We want to work with people with interesting problems to solve – get in touch here.
We will expand our design staff – get in touch. We will expand our client engagement capability – get in touch. We will expand into other sectors – health being the key focus right now.