Some examples of our work

“It would be ludicrous to think that we were new to this, we do this, this is what we do.”

– George Clinton

Often, companies see digital adaptation as the change, but the challenge is a lot bigger than just “go digital”. Becoming a customer-centered organization finally comes down to nothing short of cultural transformation — relearning how to see a problem, embracing the discomfort of risk-taking, and realizing the expansive possibilities of collaboration.

Global leadership team learns to communicate, share and play nice

The challenge:

A Financial Services company with Sr. leadership scattered across the globe (you’ve seen this – U.S., Europe, APAC…) each region with its own unique brand identity discovers that, although they share common problems, there’s no easy way to leverage the best they each have to offer … to help each other. And although when things go wrong help is very welcome, outside of those times everyone prefers people mind their own business. Between the fear to adopt what ‘wasn’t invented here’ and competing priorities, they were missing out on the chance to leverage each other’s great ideas and assets. The big picture was, there was no big picture.

What did we do:

Established a forum for regional Sr. leaders representing varied aspects and arms of the business to come together to:

  • Communicate, educate and share products, business plans, roadmaps and visions
  • Identify shared opportunities and how to act on them
  • Learn about and leverage emerging technologies and ways of working
  • Inspire creativity
  • Share the love — no really, these people all found out they liked each other and developed lasting friendships

We brought the forum together every two months via video conference, facilitated information sharing and curated a series of topics and speakers to address relevant and timely needs.

And we designed an annual in-person conference; always in a different city in the world chosen for its reputation as a hub for innovation. We created a multi-day experience that blended collaboration and inspiration, visiting companies and thought leaders that ignited their curiosity and opened their minds. We built a sandbox everyone wanted to play in.

Clearing the path for a Change Agent

The challenge:

In our careers, this was one of the most complex and ambiguous problems we have tackled.

An international Financial Services company with ...

  • a highly politically charged culture,
  • a legacy of traditional waterfall solution delivery methods,
  • a hierarchical organization structure and mindset,

and where all international markets were strongly dependent on the largest single market because that’s where decision making happened, strategy was set and customer solutions and service were defined.

So what happens to the business in the smaller dependent markets? In most cases they waste away... unless you are lucky enough to have a change agent with a vision.

Into the fray stepped a regional marketing manager — the change agent — who saw the need to address the small markets, not only to keep them viable but to take advantage of a window of opportunity to grow the business and build the brand.

He spotted the problem and the opportunity. Then sought out our help to make it visible and valid. He had the courage to suggest a thorough examination of the problem before jumping to a solution.

What did we do:

  • Started by helping our change agent to truly understand the problem at hand by designing a method for collecting and analyzing customer needs
  • Traveled throughout the small markets applying that method and building customer profiles, defining key journeys and identifying the insights behind customer behavior
  • Compiled and visually illustrated the results in a way that could easily be consumed by Senior Leadership
  • Built a case for transformation for these smaller markets as a group that encompassed:
    • A new organization structured to be customer driven, agile and integrate well within the existing superstructure
    • The introduction of a design-led process
    • New customer driven success metrics
    • A roadmap outlining steps to reach their future vision

And finally, with our change agent, presenting this case to Senior Leadership who unanimously supported taking the vision forward.

Clearing the path for a Change Agent: Part II: Building the team, momentum and a place to work.

The challenge:

Our change agent now had the remit to ‘make it happen’.  And ‘it’ was:

  • Build this new organization - the one that would address the needs of the collective smaller markets which encompassed 19 countries speaking 12 languages
  • Implement a new design-led process that could deliver with agility
  • Design and build a single platform to serve the business of each market … and could adapt to support their unique cultures and regulatory differences

There were however some constraints — as with any endeavor … time and money. The team was given 1 year to prove the entire vision could work and a fixed budget. The challenge:

  • 6 months to design, build and launch a proof of concept
  • demonstrate full integration with legacy data structures
  • create a roadmap illustrating the formation of a new organization and full rollout of the solution within the year

What did we do:

  • Drafted a new organizational structure to enable design-led, agile delivery along with supporting job descriptions, roles and responsibilities
  • Authored and delivered training in Design Thinking and a new solution delivery methodology; and then coached team leaders and members in this method
  • Designed a team workspace to nurture a collaborative, creative and friendly practice as well as one that would attract like-minded talent
  • Provided leadership and oversight of the overarching project plan and its execution
  • Provided creative direction and brand coordination — establishing a new Style Guide and visual language
  • Made the case for investing in localization where cultural differences such as saving behaviors, nuance in voice, and colloquial phrases drive the editorial vs. just a straight translation of content; giving the firm credibility as a trustworthy institution
  • Led a series of Design Thinking workshops to communicate the new strategy and vision as well as facilitate its implementation for leadership across all small markets in the group

In the end - the goal of delivering a POC in 6 months and rollout to all twelve markets within the year was achieved. A new organization was in place, practicing a customer driven and design-led methodology, having implemented an economical, scalable and flexible platform that served the entire group of smaller markets. The surprize consequence was that the platform could be leveraged for internal communications as well.

The change agent and his new team received company-wide accolades honoring their success.