Change The Game – Think StartUp

15 12 2011

Todays business success stories are coming from organisations that have really changed the game.

New entrants are taking the place of established businesses, and kids fresh out of college are not just coming up with new ideas, but are able to take these to market and establish global businesses in just a few years. Facebook and Google are well established now, but there are new entrants that you haven’t heard of yet rushing along in their wake.

In the economic downturn in USA and Europe we see large corporates, and public sector / third sector organisations all failing to create new jobs, and as a result there is a growing number of startup businesses that have been set up as a way for individuals to create a job when they can’t find a job…

These entrepreneurs are reinventing the world, as Forbes magazine recently reported.

So why aren’t big companies and organisations starting to think like a StartUp?

Do they even know what it’s like to think like a StartUp?

If they did could they be more successful? Probably, since they have many more resources.

So can established companies and organisations change the game too?

Isn’t changing the game an imperative for long term survival?

In my opinion, only those that constantly reinvent themselves will continue to stay at the top for a long time. So I began to ponder on what StartUp mentality is all about. Here are some of the keywords that came to mind:

Visionary; Inspired; Passion; Purpose; Creativity; Innovation; Opportunity; Thrilling; Hungry; Committed; Tenacious; High-Energy; Fast-Moving; Risk-Taking.

How many big corporates and organisations do you know that have cultures matching the above?

I know some organisations have ‘Skunk-Works’ where small groups and teams work on new products, often in secrecy in select teams, hidden away from the mainstream employees. But what about all the ideas from those outside this select few? What about new innovations in Business and Service Models? There seem to be few of these, so how can changing the game be possible in a business context?

Does your organisation have facilities for encouraging and supporting these initiatives? And if you are an employee with ideas how can you bring them to fruition within the corporate environment, with encouragement and support? Are you an ‘Intrapreneur’ waiting to break out? Or are you an Entrepreneur that will have to leave your company to chase your dream?

So my advice is “Think StartUp” if you want your organisation to change the game. And if you sit at the top of the organisation then you need to develop a way to foster StartUp Mentality… Fast!

My colleagues and I in DesignThinkers network  are about to launch StartUpLab as a creative environment that is open, sharing, human centric, and which will be internationally connected yet operate locally. We will work with StartUp’s, SME’s, Large Corporates, Public Sector, and Third Sector organisations and universities. We will use our Service Design Thinking tools and techniques to help ideas mature and create viable businesses and services.

Contact me if you would like to know more about our Business and Service Design capabilities, our tools and methodologies, our insight, our networks, and how we can help you and your organisation to think like a StartUp…

James Rock – MD and Chief Business & Service Designer  CULTIVAR Consulting

 

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The Snake That Ate Itself – The Evolving Role of The Designer

4 10 2011

Design Thinkers - London Service Design Party

I recently helped to organise the London Service Design Unconference and Party as an event within London Design Festival 2011. The event was a great success, with over 100 people involved in the world of Service Design participating in either the unconference, the party, or both. The event drew people from across Europe and as far afield as Brazil, and it stimulated ideas, discussions, and collaborations about what service design is, and what it might be in future.

During the unconference session I joined a really interesting group that spent a few hours developing a future vision of what Service Design might look like in 2021. With participants from UK, Sweden, Spain, Germany, and USA, and with a variety of service design experience, this eclectic group mapped out how the role of the designer had begun, where we are now, and where we need to be positioned in 10 years time.

It quickly became apparent during our conversation that while the role of the designer has changed during the ages, it has always focused on providing inspiration and creative linkages between the needs of society (the market), individuals (the user), and technology (of the time). We identified how the earliest designers were the skilled craftsmen using hand-tools to produce things for their community; how this developed into the industrial age when the designers role moved to machinery, automation  and mass production processes; through post-war consumerism when an excess of production capacity meant that advertising and graphic design developed to help sell products and fill production capacity; and more latterly with the outsourcing of manufacturing from west to the east and the consequential rise of the service economy within the internet age.

My group visualised our thoughts within a flip-chart drawing shown on the right (click on this to get a larger version).

The diagram shows how we realised that the number of designers has multiplied from the 1,000’s in zero B.C. to many billions in 2021, driven by dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a desire for greater efficiency and effectiveness e.g. via time-saving. In future we expect everyone to become a designer, asking questions and integrating needs, co-creating and collaborating in large-scale personalisation of products and services. We envisage that this opens up a global market, and will all be facilitated and empowered via emerging technologies based on the internet i.e. personal mobile devices, networks, cloud computing, etc. It will be much more complex than today.

In summary we were inspired by the image of “The Snake That Ate Itself”. This symbolises the ever-changing role of the designer. A role that has evolved as the needs of society and the individual has developed, and embracing the latest technology of the period as an enabler. We need to continue to evolve as Business and Service Designers, operating globally, within growing networks, in collaboration across the public, private and third sectors, and always involving the end-user in co-creating the increasingly efficient, effective, and personal products and services of the future.

Contact me if you would like to know more about our Business and Service Design capabilities, our tools and methodologies, our insight, our networks, and how we can help you design for the future…

James Rock – MD and Chief Business & Service Designer, CULTIVAR Consulting