Magazine

Words, numbers and pictures

The classic design and business relationship is one of distance, two tribes with different languages. This set-up is past its sell by date. At Livework we are bringing design and business together in ways that are powerful and unique to provide better outcomes for our clients.

Historically design is the creative originator that hands over to business to industrialise and create profits, or sometimes the late to the party fixer papering over the cracks. More recently the value of design is being seen by business as more and more firms adopt ‘design thinking’. We want to take the next step and create the design and business partnership that is more than the sum of its parts.

Not simply beauty and the beast

It is easy to joke about this new team, good cop/bad cop etc, but the potential is beyond a joke. What we are offering is a combination of talents and perspectives that brings out the best of both worlds. Many business people are frustrated visual thinkers, most designers are highly structured but not business trained, neither has the whole toolkit. Together they do.

Creative and focused thinking & action

Classic design thinking is fantastic at the idea creation, the out of the box, the brainstorm. Sometimes it gets a bad name as ungrounded. Business folk can be too process oriented and reliant on established models. The ideal is the divergent and convergent approach that is able to explore the range of possibility and then ground it in business sense.

Customer and business understanding

Design, with its traditional focus on the customer and their real visceral experience combined with a business understanding of the organisation and the market provides a valuable mix. This mix enables the creative vision to take root in the business reality. To enable a business to do great things these two must be in a creative tension that pushes the solution to the best it can be.

Proof of the pudding is in the eating

Our design and business mix was invented through necessity. On an extremely challenging project for a very demanding and complex organisation we needed to bring together the skills to design a new service for customers, make the case to the business and define the impact on the organisation. To do this we needed to make a compelling vision, tell a business story and understand the organisation in enough depth to be credible on all fronts. It was innovation in adversity.

Pictures, words or numbers – use all three

As every good journalist knows, a story is made of images, facts and narrative. We feel the same about the design and business mix. The images grab attention and make it tangible, the words tell the story and the numbers bring the proof.

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Nudges aren’t the holy grail of behaviour change
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