Design disruption

Love my work but don’t want to do the same in five years

This is a phrase I constantly hear in my work with design studio owners.

Most are studios that have been in business anywhere between five and fifteen years. They have five to twenty staff and are showing good profits. They are constantly working on getting new business and keeping the designers happy with good projects. But they realise it is just more of the same, week after week, month after month.

They want something more; something more meaningful. They want to do work that has a purpose. They know that it is very hard to predict what will happen in five years so they look at ways to constantly examine the business and disrupt it with new directions.

Designers I’ve spoken to after the Melbourne Disrupt or be disrupted forum have already started devising strategies that will keep the existing business ticking along with less involvement from the owner/s while they work out a different business model.

In Sydney on Wednesday night, we’re presenting eight designers who are already disrupting — their business and others . It’s not too late to join us at Disrupt or be disrupted at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Here’s some of the thinking that you will hear at the Sydney Disrupt or be disrupted.

Disrupting a service business model

When Claire Bonnor and Kass Hunt, Co-owners and Directors of Boheem changed their business model from selling a service to selling a product they disrupted themselves and their business. The result has been life changing and rewarding.

Claire and Kass will take you through their disruption journey complete with pains and gains.

Disrupting a $1.9T global economy

“Peter has become the ‘go-to’ designer for many leading Islamic companies.. (he) is among those young urban global Muslims leading the emergence of a new Muslim cool.”

How does Gould.Sydney, a small design studio get to have this accolade from the BBC? By using design to disrupt the Islamic lifestyle market.

Peter will share with us the story behind this disruption.

Human centred design used to fight disruption

Small agile businesses are now competing with the big firms, forcing them to examine their structures and culture. Meld Studios is using human centred design to help large corporates fight off disruption by much small players.

Karina Smith, Principal at Meld Studios, is a designer that also has a degree in psychology. She will explain how Meld is using HCD to change the structure and culture of large corporates.

Disruption has been and always will be a part of a design business

After 20 years as a partner in a design business, Roger Lindeback, Director, Brand & Strategy at Designate Group has weathered many disruptions.

Designing for brands and investor communications has seen Designate develop many processes and tools to keep their business relevant to the top end of town.

Roger will show the Designate pathway and its latest approach to disrupting investor communications.

Disrupting the property market

With a history of disruptive approaches Andy Hoyne now ‘owns’ the property market. His creative disruption approaches began by making paper embedded with native tree seeds to encourage recycling, through to being an early adopter of motion graphics. Currently he is the darling of property developers. Andy will talk about his latest disruptor the publication The Place Economy.

The next horizon of innovation

We’re in a decade of disruption of large corporate business models, driven by a step change in the power of technology and the audacity and speed of start-ups.

To be fit for the future, visionary companies will deliberately re-imagine themselves by injecting or attacking established models with new ideas fuelled by design and technology.

Vanessa Wolfe-Coote, Director at BCG Digital Ventures will take you into the world where design disrupts and intersects with innovators, operators, entrepreneurs and investors.

A tool for disruption

After many years of working with hundreds of design businesses Greg Branson, Founder Design Business School has developed a model for disruption. He has seen this work in favour of, many design studios and also to their detriment.

Greg will take you through the model and explain how you can become a disruptor.


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.