Design Week:

Sean O’Connor uncovers the why behind the Design Capable Company trend


There is a growing recognition of design as a strategic business tool; its methods can help start-ups and big corporates investigate commercial opportunities, as well as craft authentic user experiences that are human-centered and relevant. To more effectively meet the needs of their consumer, a growing list of companies are integrating design into their business capabilities in new ways.

Featured in Design Week, Smart’s Partner Sean O’Connor, explores the positives and negatives of acquiring an existing design consultancy, or investing in an in-house team that may collaborate with independent design agencies.

Big brands are looking to keep up with fast-changing consumer needs, and bring new products to market quickly; companies such as Johnson & Johnson are creating their own internal design teams to better succeed in these aims. The alternative is to buy in the expertise, which is the strategy that Accenture, Deloitte and IBM – which are leading the acquisition trend – are pursuing. Other companies are doing both, for example financial brand Capital One has bought Adaptive Path in the US, while also hiring a design team in the UK. 

Ultimately, the challenges and opportunities of acquiring need to be weighed up by both sides, and a decision made on whether it is right for the individual business. To be successful, design must be embedded into cultures, and influence everything from product and service creation to launch and delivery to the customer.

Sean states, “Complementing their current service offerings with something that will make big companies more valuable for clients – being able to combine design, technology and business – is essential in today’s digitally-focused world.”

Click here to read the full article in Design Week.    

May 2017