menu

frog: What Is The Future Of The Design Consultancy?

frog: What Is The Future Of The Design Consultancy?
Advertising

The design industry is undergoing a change from short term one off projects to long-standing collaborations.

frog
  • 12 december 2011

At a meeting with the embedded innovation group of a massive consumer packaged goods company a couple of years ago, a vice president at the table compared new product and platform development to changing the course of a supertanker: You could turn the wheel as hard as you wanted to, he said, but the scale of the organization made any progress excruciatingly slow and laborious. As he explained it, this problem causes companies to approach innovation as a series of contained and incremental improvements, achievable in the short term and defendable, but ultimately not tied to any clear mandate. To counter that, groups like his fight to create a vision of the future that can be harnessed to create change, transcending politics in the process. For it to be successful the critical elements of that vision are a shared belief and trust that change will occur.

Design consultancies like frog used to focus on small product or service engagements that lasted only a few months. These were love-’em-and-leave-’em affairs that would allow for a quick acclimation, idea generation, a suggestion of improvements, or new ways of addressing a certain industry. Now, for a variety of reasons, we’re seeing many far longer, cross-disciplinary engagements occur in our industry. This marks a shift in the traditional creative consultancy model, allowing for deeper integration into client organizations. The benefit of that integration is two-fold: A consultancy becomes familiar with a business while remaining isolated from the rigidity of hierarchy or segmentation. This allows consultancies to speak truth to power in an environment where social mores may prevent internal employees from doing so.

The lifecycle for organizational change in large companies far outstrips the career expectancy of employees within those organizations, and it’s increasingly recognized that simply chasing higher profits in the short-term won’t create long-term success. Instead, there has to be a higher, value-based goal beyond personal career motivations to carry something through.

Inertia can be a comfortable place. Change is hard because, in many organizations, internal parties are encouraged (by design or inadvertently) to compete with one another. Cost centers and business units are often compartmentalized; visibility and hierarchy may be confused and obscured. It’s often easier to simply close the door on ideas and cannibalize the technology for an existing offering rather than reinvent the form and break down organizational boundaries.

But massive change does happen. Often it comes through fear of an outside threat. Less frequently it will come from a desire to counter potential future-states, long before they may become real. Even then, when the threat is obvious and the mandate for change comes from the very top, it’s difficult to get everyone to agree on what the end-result might be. While there are dozens of examples of companies unable to transform and dying out (Borders, Blockbuster, Polaroid) or being gobbled up or broken apart (as we saw recently when Cisco killed the Flip Cam), occasionally an organization does succeed in transforming its vision completely to meet the demands of a changing marketplace.

Continue reading here.

[Written by Nick de la Mare. Reprinted with kind permission from design mind, a publication of global innovation firm frog.]

design mind is a publication of global innovation firm frog that is updated daily to keep the design and innovation community updated with fresh perspectives on industry trends, emerging technologies, and global consumer culture. Learn more about design mind and frog.

Advertising
Trending

Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Advertising
Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs Yesterday

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Yesterday

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Yesterday

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Technology Yesterday

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better

Travel Yesterday

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

No search results found.