Old Ships at Sail
February 27th, 2017

Unexpected Benefits of Hiring a Design Firm

A famous quote from Peter Drucker sets up the basis of this proposition—as does our 30+ years of experience:

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”— Peter F. Drucker

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a Facebook, an Apple, a Ford, or the company you work for right now—someone, somewhere, at some point in time summoned the courage to step beyond what was known, to explore new opportunity. They did what another heralded explorer posited this way:

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Christopher Columbus

The problem is, you may in your heart and soul embody this brave sense of adventure, and so may members of your new product development team, but there’s the reality of day-to-day operations and decision making that reins in true explorative thought. The dreaming. The imagining of “what if,” and “if only.”

What is this reality? It’s the incremental evolution of your product line that just makes sense. It’s what you believe to be the expectation of your customers to not get “out of your lane” as a brand. It’s your current in-house manufacturing processes and expertise that limit your choices. It’s price pressure in your category that boxes you in with the perception of what your end user will buy and pay for—frequently substantiated by your buyer, who if it’s in retail, is under enormous pressure to not shake the bushes, and instead seek certainty over opportunity.

So, now enter the Design Firm—a firm like ours.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hiring us to explore a completely new solution—to break through—or if we’re coming in further down the project path because you need to raise the aesthetic appeal of a next gen model. We are going to push the boundaries. We are going to explore deeper than you expect us to. And we are not fully shackled by all the constraints your in-house team, and you, feel. Why? Because you give us permission; it’s what you want, and that is our job. If we don’t go there, you will be disappointed.

And we will not present “pie in the sky” ideas either. Our concepts will be supported by 30 years of experience, end user insights, thorough and well-reasoned design thinking, and human-centered design practices. But we will challenge the status quo and push beyond the boundaries set for your in-house team.

And the result of employing a firm like ours—especially to a mid-size durable product manufacturer who doesn’t have a full-blown innovation team—is that the eyes of the fearless will once again be opened.

This is not to be dramatic, but we have seen time and again, that when you allow a firm like ours to show you, your team, and your C-suite colleagues, that exploration and discovery can open new avenues of opportunity and profit, if done through the proper system of checks and balances and proven process, then courage is rekindled. A thirst for breaking through barriers is renewed.

The benefit, unexpected as it always is by our clients, is that this new-found courage unleashes your team to dream, to imagine, to explore. And it creates a dogged determination to not be constrained by long held norms and impenetrable paradigms.

Imagine Courage, Freedom, and Determination once again being the guiding principles of your new product development team. Being the principles your company once again embraces and with which you now challenge your competitors and markets.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain


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