Sticking to our job description and focusing on fulfilling it to perfection can mean that we sacrifice our long-term career potential. Don’t put your job ahead of what you want, ahead of your strengths or ahead of what you believe is right.

The ability to see the wood from the trees is a skill that comes with time in the workforce. Often when we first start working we simply want to prove ourselves in our role and strive for excellence. As time goes on however, we need to examine the countereffect this could have on our own sense of fulfilment and career progression.

Everyone has something to contribute to their workplace and everyone can affect change no matter what your job title is. Unfortunately, the way most organisations are structured means that only a few people are given formal opportunities to effect strategic plans and offer innovative ideas.

Developing human centered strategies is not only of benefit to our customer but there is this very positive by product. The human centered approach thrives off cross functional teams, diversity in thought and benefiting from the ideas of many rather than the ideas of a few within an organisation. It empowers those involved giving them a voice and a platform for their ideas to be heard.

So why not go a step further and take the theories of human centered strategic design and adapt these to our own personal development.

Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t on all of our agendas and it certainly shouldn’t be our primary motivation. Yet, we all want to be content in our roles and belong amongst the environment we work in. To really amplify our sense of achievement and belonging this can mean challenging ourselves to do things out of our comfort zone.

Let’s look at some methods that you can start with.

Look at the bigger picture.

If you’re not involved in board meetings or executive team meetings don’t let this stop you. Have a conversation with the CEO when they’re grabbing a cuppa in the staff room or ask for 5 minutes of their time, so they can share the organisations goals with you and where they see the big opportunities for change. Talk to your manager and ask them what their priorities are and how they want to improve the organisation. Having these conversations isn’t limited to a title. It’s guaranteed to give you new insights to what’s happening around you and it may help you improve efficiencies in your own role. Improve your understanding by knowing how what you do every day affects others in their roles.

Create alliances and strong relationships.

If you’ve done the first step guess what? You’ve already given yourself a head start. Having one on one’s and multiple conversations will help you get to know what’s important to other people and how you can help them. As a result, you’ll become a trusted colleague. If we look at the structure of ‘human centered strategic design’ you would hold a workshop involving a cross functional team from various departments in your business to work towards a solution. What’s stopping you from emulating this and having one on one brainstorming discussions. At the very least you’ll be the most proactive team member they’ve ever seen!

Present new ideas.

Having many conversations with colleagues and managers is going to give you some new ideas. Make sure you communicate these and share these. Bounce ideas off people and gain their insight. Prepare yourself though. You may be way off the mark but as Winston Churchill stated, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. At the very least you’ll have a better understanding of the challenges that exist, and each idea will get you closer to a winner.


So, you’ve done all the above and you’re feeling good. You’ve received positive feedback from your colleagues and you are respected by your managers. What’s next? If you really want to continue furthering your knowledge this step is the scariest yet most rewarding. Ask yourself a couple of quick questions.

  1. Who is your organsiation trying to serve?
  2. How could you as an individual get to understand them better?

To get any true understanding of customers or clients you will need to get out from behind a desk. The narrow focus of most job descriptions will mean that this is likely to be out of the scope of your role but now that you have the organisation behind you, talk to people about what you have in mind, what your objective is and how you think this could help the organisation.

Lastly, be brave ….

These steps can be daunting but take one small action at a time and build up it. You’ll find your confidence grows over time so try to tackle each day with something small that is outside your comfort zone.

“The road to success is still under construction” so disregard your title and give yourself the opportunity to find out what gives you personal satisfaction.

Actress Lily Tomlin

We’ve talked a lot about looking at the bigger picture for your organsiation but the most important thing to keep in mind through these processes is to look at the bigger picture and long term plan for yourself. By taking these steps and challenging yourself you will get a better understanding of your workplace and you will uncover some strengths you never knew you had.

Think about what personally interests you and drives you. Knowing this can help you develop your career and help you examine how to gain personal satisfaction from what you do day in day out.

I get it. The whole idea of a team building day is to get people to collaborates, bond and improve the way they communicate. From my experience these days can be great fun and let’s face it if there is a sun downer or night stay involved then chances are there’s going to be some stories about someone’s dance floor moves and a few sore heads. The banter in the office improves for the next few weeks and then what?

Is there any actual improvement to the culture? If there is my argument is that it isn’t a sustainable one. Sure celebrating success and celebrating learning is a need for any business but if you want sustainable cultural change there needs to be more.

1. Find Purpose

Help employees uncover why they come to work each day. How does what they do for 8 hours of each day contribute to the bigger picture? How does it drive their why?  

Employees with a sense of purpose are going to be more engaged and more willing to go the extra mile when they hit challenges at work.

2. No Customer Focus?

Corporate days can simply cement the ranked importance of the internally focused culture. Instead why not give employees a real sense of what they contribute to and the value they provide to your consumers or clients. Understanding our customers can be one of the most challenging things to do in business and when teams become silo-ed and insular never connecting with a customer then this understanding can be completely lost.

3. Real Common Goals

Sharing a common goal with others in our day to day role can help us be more willing to listen to others, take on feedback and offer new points of view. It’s all for the greater good.

4. Sustainable Collaboration

At the end of the day the collaboration that a team day can bring can add to strengthening bonds but what happens a few month down the track are we still reliving the mud challenge or how we tackled the puzzle in stage 3. No. Collaboration and team support shouldn’t be left to a team day. It should be part of each and every work day. How else do we achieve great heights, and no not literally but figuratively.

“Podcasting is the next generation of radio.”

Steve Jobs

So I’m a big fan of podcasts. I use my travel time in only 3 different ways. I use it either as down time (silence) to think and reset my thoughts, playing kids tunes to appease the little people in the back who I taxi around or to learn and seek inspiration by listening to podcasts.

The great thing is in the last week I’ve found I’m and certainly not alone. From my posts on LinkedIn to conversations with friends and clients we’re all seeking valuable content in delivery methods that are convenient to us.

Podcasting is taking off!

According to the Podcasting Intelligence Report by Media Week and Nova Entertainment in Australia there are 3.5 million people listening to podcasts (aged between 16-64). So 1 in 4 people in that age bracket consume podcasts and the growth rate is only accelerating.

The ABC’s Podcast Survey states 16% of Australians 18-75 claimed to have listened to a podcast in the last week and If you limit the age range from 18-24s its 27%.

So what are we all listening to?

Highest ranking podcasts in Australia

according to Techly is:

  1. ABC Radio: Conversations
  2. The Joe Rogan Experience
  3. TED Talks Daily
  4. Stuff You Should Know
  5. Casefile Ture Crime
  6. The Teacher’s Pet
  7. Hamish & Andy
  8. Kate, Tim, & Marty
  9. Hack (triple j)
  10. The Daily (The New York Times)
  11. Australian True Crime
  12. My Favorite Murder
  13. Global News Podcast
  14. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Analytics and usage patterns are still being determined and there are more and more podcasts arising everyday.

The future for podcasts

What I like to think is that advertising may not be the future for commercialising podcasts. Research to date shows that other options such as subscriptions are better fitted to the medium. If we look at a market such as China subscriptions are key to accessing content. The Chinese government estimated the market for paid podcasts alone as $7.3 billion in 2017.

I, like most listeners, like to the idea of ad free content as it prioritises the user experience. I tend to find podcasts with advertising less engaging. but some of the most popular podcasts are commercialising their content in this way. So success is there to be had.

However, unless you’ve got the big bucks or an influence it could be hard to get cut through in the beginning. Advertisers are looking for big listener numbers before they invest.

The Netflix approach to podcasting is seeing merit. Luminary Media is currently exploring how much people will pay for podcasts. They have 40 big-name creators with the intention of launching a subscription-based podcast network.

Spotify is also trialling activity with podcasts so the interest due to the demand is there. I think it’s a good fit for Spotify. Podcasts are accessible in a freemium model but ad-free podcasts are only available to subscribers. That’s right the exact same way they have structured the access to all our favourite tunes.

Not yet seamless….

I think podcasts will only become more entrenched as it’s quickly proving to be a convenient way of consuming valuable content. There is still a way to go before podcasts are more integrated with voice applications such as Alexa and Siri but let’s face it, it’s coming.

So how do we find out about the great podcasts people are launching out there?

Well that’s where I thought I would throw it out you guys! Sure, you can scroll through and search the podcast lists but even with Netflix I find if someone recommends a show I’m more likely to give it a chance. And everyone likes a recommendation.

So, what are you listening to?

Comment below..

Wrtiten by Olivia O’Connor, Founder of Liv By Design a creative strategic marketing consultancy. Through facilitated workshops Olivia (or Liv) will harnesses the creativity of your workforce to achieve simple, effective and innovative results.

We help marketing teams, SME’s and business leaders with simple sustainable solutions to tricky problems.” Olivia O’Connor

Have a chat with Liv sometime soon!

Keep using it and it will grow.

“Like a muscle, your creative abilities will grow and strengthen with practice.” 
― Tom Kelley

Tom Kelly is the author of Creative Confidence and the Director of Design Thinking Firm IDEO.

Let’s face it when we go to work, we aren’t scheduling in our creative thinking time. We schedule meetings, follow ups, conference calls and a list of to do’s as long as our arms but we never schedule thinking time. Maybe that’s because we’d never accept, or we’d suggest another time.

We get it. We’re all busy in the trenches getting stuff done but if I was to tell you having time to think was a key trait of the successful would it change your mind? Successful leaders value the time they can get to stop and reflect. Why? It helps them to think differently, perhaps change a course of action or come up with an idea they hadn’t thought of before. We can call this going out on the balcony, strategic thinking, creative thinking or critical thinking. Whatever you want to call it, it helps. In fact, it can be the most valuable time you’ll spend out of your whole week.

Of course all thinking and no action isn’t what we are talking about either that would have some other more negative outcomes. What we are saying is that even if you were only to spend an hour a week to reflect you may just be able to reprioritise or come up with that solutions you’ve been chasing for months.

In order to have our creativity warm up let’s look at some methods to help us be more creative at work.

1. Try a Team Sport

Collaboration is always a great way to bounce ideas of other people. We’re sociable creatures and we develop more well rounded solutions when we work together. Curiosity will lead you to creativity. Get together and you will different points of view you may never have considered. People working together will have a better outcome than someone by themselves. Building on people’s ideas is the rewarding and energising aspect to collaboration.

2. Game Plan

Get a creative session happening in your meetings and reap the rewards of higher engagement and more actionable and effective results.

Meetings are great forums for collaboration and creative thought. However, in many organisations it’s a lost opportunity. Everyone gets together reviewing minutes or going around the room talking about the plan for the week. Instead open with a rapid-fire brainstorming session to an issue that’s relevant to everyone in the room. Capture ideas and have each person jot down what they will do to contribute to the solution.

3. Find Inspiration

There’s always a world champion to look up to. Find Inspiration from them. Look at different industries. Is customer service your challenge? Is it engagement? Whatever the challenge is look outside your industry to how the best in class organisations have delivered on these. When things can be improved on or done better there is the opportunity for disruption.

4. The Cool Down

Free up time for thought. Protect some time in your week to thinking. Ask yourself what is my biggest challenge? What are the organisations biggest challenge? If I could overcome one obstacle what would it be and how would that effect what I am doing today? Block some time out in your calendar and if you reschedule it make sure it still happens. It’ll be the best time you’ve spent all week.

Good luck team, happy work out!

This article is written by Olivia O’Connor Founder of Liv By Design.

Liv By Design is dedicated to helping organisations harness the creativity of their teams to create more effective business solutions. Do you have some challenges in your business? Let Liv By Design rally your team to deliver simple and realistic solutions.

First of all be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Clarify your goals and then look for a marketing consultant who can deliver on these. This is important as we’ll mention again later marketing can cover a lot. Be clear about what it is you need. Is it a social media expert? Is it help with researching your customer? Is it capturing testimonials? Is it driving leads? Think of the end goal and talk to a few professionals to see how they would deliver on your problem.

At the end of the day a marketing consultant is just like any other business consultant. They should be there to understand your business and then work with you on developing a strategy, planning and problem-solving.

The Start Up

You might be a start-up and let’s face it employees can be the overhead you just can’t afford. A consultant on an hourly rate seems a lot more suitable. You may just need some help validating your offering and then tightening up on your key messages such as an elevator pitch and value proposition.

The Small Business

Perhaps you’re a small business. Perhaps you’ve been doing the marketing yourself since you started the business and you simply don’t have time to do this and actually RUN your business. Considering a consultant could be the flexible option for you to see what can be possible from a professional before you commit to a permanent hire.

The Marketing Team

Perhaps you have a marketing employee but you’ve uncovered that marketing covers a lot of tasks. If you have someone in the hot seat whether it’s a marketing manager or marketing coordinator chances are they are doing everything from designing letter heads, coordinating office signage to managing all digital platforms and getting involved in many strategic projects when they get the chance. It’s hard for them to come up for air never mind clearing time for creative thought and strategic planning.  

Here are some major benefits to hiring a consult:


They are free to focus on the specific project and task you set for them. There’s no getting distracted with the demands of internal stakeholders and needing to sift through priorities day in day out. The focus is clear and because of this the deliverables are more efficient.

New points of view

Often working across various industries they can deliver a different point of view for your organisation. They will come equipped with success stories where tactics and strategies have had great impact and then they can adapt this to your organisation.

Skills and experience

The average consultant has worked in different industries and gained insights with their skills and experience over many years. You can benefit by acquiring the skills you need to take your business to the next level without having to permanently invest in hiring someone with that level of expertise.

UK-based research firm Source Global Research published a report stating “The Australian consulting market is now the largest in the world relative to national income.” This is a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down as organisations seek external expertise to accelerate plans for growth.

The Finanical Review reported

“Firms in Australia are enthusiastic users of consulting services and were much more likely to call in the advisers than businesses in almost every other country”

This was according to the report Planning for Growth in 2017 by research firm Source Global Research.

Planning for Growth in 2017 by research firm Source Global Research.

David Zehner, the head of Bain in Australia and New Zealand further supported these sentiments stating “The premium consulting market in Australia has plenty of room to grow. The market for premium consulting services is growing because companies are increasingly aware of the value of external support.”

So if you’re considering a consultant you’re not alone. It’s a flexible option that allows you to access premium expertise and maintain a focus on driving change and results for your organisation.

At Liv By Design we are a Marketing and Design Thinking Consultancy based in Perth Western Australia. We come armed with a wide network of marketing experts from digital marketing, SEO, social and overall strategic planning and coaching. If you’re looking for some obligation free advice on how you accelerate your results we’d be happy to chat.

Thanks for now!

“Marketing is too important to be left just to the marketing department”
– David Packard, HP

A pretty harsh comment Dave! But before we get defensive let’s think about this. Marketing today needs to play a different role than it did only a few years ago. In order to achieve better outcomes marketing teams need to adapt the role that organisational change does.

We’ve always dealt with aspects of internal engagement. We develop internal newsletters. We send out emails updating the team on wins and positive stories. We are the go-to team for almost every other department. So why then do we continue to work in silos. Why do we await the news of the next big priority of the sales team? Why do we outsource market research in the hope that a third party will provide the depth of understanding of our customers that we need?

Marketing teams can be the busiest function in any organisation as it crosses over to the needs of almost all internal stakeholders. So if we serve all departments wouldn’t it be fair to say that instead of serving we instead lead? Sure we do this to some degree in that we can advise what our brand guidelines state and what fits in the realms of possible and not possible, however, there is a future, or should I say the present, that demands more.

“Marketing has the ability to drive organisation change.” – Olivia O’Connor

In the past we haven’t been able to address problems clearly. The issues often relate to sales challenges or customer service issues and they are all treated in isolation. We need to sift through the issues that are brought to us and instead look to the root-cause otherwise we might be treating injuries that need surgery with a band aid.

In the past we haven’t been able to address problems clearly. The issues often relate to sales challenges or customer service issues and they are all treated in isolation. We need to sift through the issues that are brought to us and instead look to the root-cause otherwise we might be treating injuries that need surgery with a band aid.

“Our jobs as marketers is to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them to do so.” – Bryan Eisenberg

Transformational marketing relates directly to the elements required for innovation. It starts with a customer focus and centricity that presents unmet needs and developing a strategy from here. Marketers need to accelerate their skill sets that help them unlock the ability for discovery.

Marketing not only needs involvement in the design of new services and products but marketers have the opportunity to be driving and facilitating these designs. By creating cross functional teams and guiding them through customer findings we unlock better results, create shared goals and create a sense of purpose for individuals and the organisation.

Transformational marketing is our bag at Liv By Design. We know we can help you and your team. Reach out if you’d like to chat more.

Why do you need a value proposition?

Let’s keep this really simple. Value propositions will help your customer understand what you do and how you do it in the shortest amount of time possible.

A value proposition only needs to be a couple of sentences long but it needs to be easily understood by your customer (so using their language) and tell them about the benefits that your company, your services or your product provides.

People feel at ease when they understand something. So it’s important to keep the audience in mind at all times when you are developing your proposition. A good value proposition describes what problems you solve, how and the key benefits to your clients. It’s letting them know why you are right for them.

By holding a fun brainstorming workshop to develop your value proposition you will not only attract more customers by succinctly communicating the benefits you provide but it will also:

  1. Provide your team with more clarity about what they need to prioritise in their roles
  2. Help your team passionately and accurately summarise what it is they and your company does
  3. Increase workplace engagement by giving teams a voice

Once you’ve got your value proposition your staff can use this in introductions and when they are telling people about what your organisation does. We all have short attention spans so at a networking opportunity you want your staff to be able to passionately and accurately represent your organisation.

Use your value proposition on your website and all your marketing collateral. To be clear though a value proposition is NOT a slogan or a TAGLINE. It’s what let’s people know what makes you different and how you can help them. It will help pave the way to a successful relationship as people won’t buy what they don’t understand.

You don’t need to stop there. Once you have your organisations value proposition why not start implementing versions for different functions of the business. You might have different products or services. Create a value proposition for all of these. If you’re recruiting create an Employee Value Proposition which will help you attract the talent you’re looking for but succinctly summarising the benefits your workplace provides.

At Liv By Design we completed 22 value propositions in 2 weeks with one organisation and different cross functional teams to the point where 90% of employees had been involved in creating a proposition.

Why was this so effective?

1. Most of those employees felt that if they needed to they could run the same rapid fire brainstorming workshop themselves.

2. It helped them remember what the propositions were because they had input into creating these.

3. It provided the staff with the ability to really strategise and discuss what was important to their clients and prioritise these. It helped simplify all the things they were trying to achieve in their roles and gave them a better view of what they needed to be dedicating time to.

Our value proposition workshops simply harness your team’s ideas, feedback and most importantly their knowledge of your clients. If you’d like to know more reach out we’d be happy to chat about how we could help.

Make your marketing matter. The key to refining and authentic and successful strategy really comes down to one key element. HUMANS. Keeping a customer focus and having empathy for those you are providing products or services for can be a key differentiator to gaining results and developing new innovative strategies.

Marketing is a fast paced gig. You develop a strategy, implement it and before you know it the next market opportunity arises, and the gauntlet is laid down in front of you. Marketing professionals are adept at moving quickly onto the next campaign or initiative.

However, it’s important for anyone in marketing to honour the process of analysis and reflection. Without this our marketing budget can be wasted on repeating the same mistakes time and time again.

Keep the customer at the centre of your plans.

In short get the best understanding possible of your consumer. Only then can you unlock their true needs and tailor relevant marketing messages.

This could mean analysing sales data or market and industry trends but keep in mind these aren’t just numbers. They are there to tell you something. Become a master at seeking and interpreting key insights from data.

You may be working for a small to medium business that simply doesn’t have access to big industry data or even a client database. Don’t be disheartened. Talk to people in your organisation who liaise directly with your end consumer. For example, research incoming calls and enquiries and see what people are enquiring about. Are there any trends? Talk to people who are at the coal face. It might be a sales team or service delivery team. What questions and issues do they repeatedly face?

Have your customers talked to you lately?

Whether its via gleaming testimonials or complaints this is all vital information your customers are giving you. They are openly sharing their experience using your product or service and it hasn’t cost you a cent in focus groups or surveys. Never dismiss this feedback. It’s what can make your entire marketing strategy relevant or irrelevant to your audience.

Take a step back to see the big picture.

All marketing activities should align with the organisations overarching objectives. Take note of what your CEO is trying to achieve and check in with what your sales team are working towards. Joint team initiatives are always going to gain more engagement and traction than if you try to go it alone. Successful marketers do more than sit behind a desk!

Go live but keep your finger on the pulse.

Ensure you track and monitor your campaign as its happening. Gone are the days where our campaign goes to print or to air and we hope for the best. Create check points throughout your campaign to see what the results are looking like and make changes or build on this if required.

Give the odd shout out!

Keep your team engaged by demonstrating results of your initiatives and keep them inspired. Make it fun and about the collective achievement.

It’s never over.

Once your campaign is complete, dedicate time for you and your team to analyse your campaign. Share the outcomes and results but also spend time analysing what worked well and what could have been done better.

The only way to achieve continual improvement in anything we do is to take time to analyse and reflect. Use these tips to start your journey in creating an innovative marketing team. For more advise on a simple repeatable process you can implement to innovate your marketing initiatives reach out to

Human-centered design, design thinking, customer centric strategies, human centricity. There’s so many terms for it but why are we hearing so much about it and what can it do for you?

Not only is the process proven but it is also repeatable and applicable to any problem. Any business can employ design thinking amongst their teams to achieve big results.

Many organisations face complex issues and its hard to know where to start. By following the design thinking process you can get a holistic view of your business and the challenges you face. From here you can follow a framework that will ensure an in-depth understanding of needs and then apply a creative process that will unlock your teams creative and critical thinking.

Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is entrenched in the theory of human-centered design which is simply a process that can be followed to find innovative solutions to create products and services.

Perhaps Steve Jobs defined it best… “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Quoting the Apple founder is fitting given that Apple used human-centered design to develop some of their first protypes and continue to use it today. As we know Apple is a company built on true innovation but how have they done this? It’s not the capabilities of their products but their unrelenting ability to remain focused on the end-user and customer experience through HCD.

Here’s the best part. This process is not out of the reach of any organisation. You too can lead industry and create innovative solutions that can transform your business.

The reason why the process is so successful is because it creates a mindset focused on solutions, rather than the perceived challenges or problems. It starts with human needs and keeps teams focused on them.

No one person in an organsiation has all the answers. They say ‘the sum is greater than its parts’ and this is demonstrated with the design thinking process. The CEO or General Manager cannot experience or fully understand the intricacy of every challenge that their teams face. Delivery of a product and/or service involves many others within the organisation. To create an effective solution there’s more than just guess work required. Gathering a cross functional team will allow a more comprehensive understanding of issues and challenges but it will also allow for the creation of a more comprehensive solution. A multidisciplinary team that works together is your key to developing innovative solutions to take your business to the next level.

Too often we dedicate time and resources to solutions that we think might be the answer. With design thinking you can ensure that your time is spent developing innovative solutions that are much more likely to succeed and deliver results.

Start your journey to innovation. If you’d like our help to get started please reach out.