Design disrupts

Technology doesn’t disrupt, design does

In the past few months as part of my mentoring and Virtual GM program I’ve been visiting many design studios across the country and talking with owners and senior staff.

Along with some research and the outcomes from the Disrupt or be disrupted forum in Melbourne this has lead me to think a lot about what is happening to Australian design studios.

I have reached a number of conclusions none of which are earth shattering in themselves but collectively they’re changing the design business landscape in Australia. Designers who understand these factors and use them to rethink their business will become disruptors. Here’s my six take away points:

  1. The rate of change is so fast that past successes are no longer relevant – you have to show how you will shape the future for clients.
  2. Large management consultancies (PwC, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group etc) are buying up creative agencies of all types. They are creating new competitors to independent design firms. They are also expanding the market by creating more knowledge of design value within large corporations. This should eventually have a trickle down effect for all design businesses.
  3. Inhouse creative teams now rival privately owned studios in quality, experience, and skills. There was a time when inhouse designers were seen as lesser skilled designers. This has changed as more businesses see the value that highly skilled designers can add in all areas of the business.
  4. It is widely accepted that technology (digital) is disrupting. This thinking focuses on the outputs rather than the outcomes. If you focus on the outcomes you will see that the four areas that cause disruption are; people, processes, systems and clients (customers). Technology just aids these areas of disruption. If you would like to hear more about this ideas attend Disrupt or be disrupted Sydney.
  5. Design has moved from the aesthetic to the empathic level with clients wanting design based on deeper understanding of their customers. This is confounded by the demand for instant response.
  6. Competition has never been more intense with studios based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (88% of the Australian design market) all able to compete without having to establish separate state studios.

It’s encouraging that Australian corporates make relatively low use of design. I observe that many disruptive design businesses are finding new inroads into corporate areas previously devoid of design.

Want to learn more disruptive ideas? Attend Disrupt or be Disrupted – Sydney.

Disrupt or be disrupted – Sydney

A forum for designers who want to disrupt

When: 6-8pm 16 November 2016

Where: Powerhouse Museum Theatrette, 500 Harris St, Ultimo

Tickets: $35+gst

Bookings: Here



Contact Greg Branson if you would like to learn more about becoming a design disruptor.

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Greg Branson

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.