In this article from B&T Mykel Dixon puts his case forward of why creativity has never been more important in business.

A New Demand For Creativity

Last year, LinkedIn scraped the data from over 20+ million job listings posted on their site. Creativity came in as the number one soft skill employers will look for in the next decade.

From Soft Skill To Hard Returns

In 2016, Adobe found that creative companies enjoy 1.5 times the market share. And the brands that put creativity (otherwise known as DESIGN THINKING) at the heart of their strategy outperformed the S&P Index by 219 per cent over 10 years.

McKinsey developed a ‘Creativity Index’ whereby they measured the creative capability of a company. Companies that score high on their index outperform their competitors in two key metrics:

  1. an appetite and aptitude for innovation (growth)
  2. shareholder return (profit).

It seems we’ve finally found a way to measure the ROI of our imagination and the best part is, it’s not limited to shareholders.

Company Stock To Your Back Pocket

As part of their global benchmark study, called ‘State of Create’, Adobe found that respondents who identify as ‘someone who creates for a living’ enjoyed 17 per cent higher household income than non-creators. This was backed up by the Foundation for Young Australians in their ‘The New Basics’ report. Over three years, they looked at the data of over 4.2 million job listings and found that any job that listed creativity as an attribute had an average annual salary boost of $3129 pa.

Take a minute now to update your LinkedIn profile. Put ‘creative’ in it. Go on, you deserve some of that extra cash. Humour aside, the affect creativity has on the bottom line, of both a company and an individual, and the urgency with which both entities should be making it a priority are obvious. So why aren’t we hearing more about it?

Set Fire To Outdated Stereotypes

Too fluffy and inconsequential for the boardroom. Missing the credibility most leaders look for in a mindset or skillset to make tough, strategic decisions. Better left to artists, kids, or those wacky types in colourful shirts in the marketing team.

But as the world continues to throw more ‘unprecedented events’ our way (and you can be sure it will), our ability to find and form new value, that is both original and useful is paramount to our success. If we want to stay relevant in the eyes of our customers, colleagues or company, we need to make creativity a priority. And it starts with you.

Mykel Dixon, Author of Everyday Creative: A Dangerous Guide To Making Magic At Work.

You can read the full article: https://www.bandt.com.au/why-creativity-is-the-strongest-economic-currency/

This article has been written by critical thinking expert, Bethan Winn.

Bethan helps people to think clearly and decide confidently, using critical thinking techniques. So, here it is…. enjoy!

Bethan Winn Critical Thinking Expert

When Liv O’Connor and I met with no agenda, no objectives, no pitch, we found so many synergies and connections where we knew we wanted to continue the conversation. The blank page allowed us to build ideas together.

We saw that each of our specialisms require a blank space to be most effective – in Liv’s process, it’s called ideation, a change for ideas to percolate and form. It’s also the first step of my critical thinking compass: Reflection. Creating opportunities to ruminate and wonder, contemplate and consider.

To be their most successful, these slates must be clean – not biased by projections of ‘what the decision maker has already decided is best’. You cut off so many potential avenues if you already know which route you’ll take.

Modern life is all about filling space – more information, maximising space and effective, efficient scheduling. But a moment to ponder without turning to your phone, a space that is allowed to sit empty, or a cancelled meeting, let’s allow it to sit for a while before we rush to fill it.

Thinking time is something we all need more of but our schedules and gadgets often disrupt and distract us.

The blank space is also crucial between stimulus and response. I help people understand system 1 (automatic, reactive) vs system 2 (considered, proactive) thinking. This is sometimes characterised as primary vs secondary thoughts, or gut vs logic. Our immediate response is often unconsciously biased and dismisses an idea before we ask ourselves “why?”. Letting it sit in that blank space can help us unpack what we really believe, why we believe it and what is truly possible. Often the best ideas challenge our assumptions and can seem crazy when they first appear!

An agenda-less meeting may sound like a waste of time. But lockdown has shown us that we crave connection and many companies have successfully created time in the week for people to connect one-to-one, with no agenda, as a way to foster relationships, leading to greater employee engagement.

Like unstructured play time for children, this “free time” is where the magic happens. It can be interstitial space in architecture; the rest days between heavy loads in marathon training or space to write your notes in the margin, the concept of blank space can be applied as a ‘mental model’ to all parts of life.

How do we create more blank space?

  • Switch off your phone.
  • Pull out a notebook and pen and just write whatever comes to mind.
  • Allow yourself 10 minutes to daydream or doodle (put a timer on and stick to it).
  • Make an appointment with yourself with no fixed agenda.
  • Allocate random pairings for short meetings between colleagues.
  • Plan a tech free hour, afternoon or day in your week.
  • Identify your best thinking time and protect it from interruption: In the shower, while driving, out walking, washing dishes, on the toilet! Ensure podcasts, music and notifications are off and let your thoughts wander.
  • As a leader, allow and encourage your teams to do the same. Trust your people to manage their thoughts and take short walks or create tech-free whiteboard spaces to capture ideas.

To learn more you can catch Bethan Winn at her upcoming event on ‘Decision Making: Fast and Slow’ on August 4th, 8am at the Alex Hotel. https://events.humanitix.com/decision-making-fast-and-slow

Fisher & Paykel proudly proclaim their dedication to being a design-led organisation with a keen focus on engaging their customers.

We often think of design as the overall aesthetics of a product. We think its the fashioning of a product, the first impression and the outer edge but design thinking leads us to design products that are far more valuable to us than that. It goes to the heart of how we want to incorporate products and use them in our life.

F&P COO, Jeremy Sargeant states “life is lived around appliances, demonstrating how our human-centred design enriches our customers’ lives”.

A key element of the Fisher & Paykel brand is The Social Kitchen – the concept that underpins the brand’s entire design philosophy.

“We understand that the kitchen is the heart of home. It is a social space, where we prepare and cook food for our families, help kids with their homework and entertain friends, and in our fast paced world, taking time to celebrate those special moments we spend with our family and friends in this space is more important than ever. This philosophy is embedded deep within our culture and is why we have been able to consistently challenge conventional appliance design and deliver products that are truly tailored to human needs,” he said.

What is innovation?

We often think of innovation being based around a sole individual who has a spark of genius or a genius cohort in a lab working for hours to develop something spectacular that the world has never seen before when in fact this is totally off base. It’s organisations that go out and connect with people, connect with consumers. They analyse the data but they don’t stop there. They reach out, observe and talk to users and consumers.

Now you might be thinking we don’t have the big budget for that but you couldn’t be more wrong. The smaller the budget the more need for the upfront investment on spending time to identify the user/consumer/client need. The more time you invest upfront the more money you’ll save in development, launch and marketing phase.

The importance of understanding your customer

F&P have transferred their wealth of customer insights and their focus on human centred design into the development of their new website. Which I would expect from an organisation dedicated to analysing human needs and their customers journey.

Customers often search online before they even step into a store. We all want to go in well armed so the way you present your products online will help your potential customers weigh you up in a lickety split.

It’s a perfect example of where an organisation needs to direct the narrative of their first impression and are confident of their understanding of their customers. Website design is commonly outsourced but organisations need to realise that they hold the key to true customer insights and where it fits in within their customers journey. Take the reigns I say.

Where does website design fit in?

“The website is one of the most important windows into what we stand for, it brings our insights to the fore and delves deep into how life is lived around appliances, demonstrating how our human-centred design enriches our customers’ lives.”

Jeremy goes on to state “We have brought our brand values to life on the first landing page, elevating them into a prime position in the customer journey. While our website is mobile-optimised, for the best possible user experience, the desktop allows visitors enjoy the immersive first look into our beautiful products,” stated F&P COO, Jeremy Sargeant

How can we learn from F&P?

Let’s make this quick.

Analyse your customers journey. How do they find you? When they do find you map out the next steps. At what point to they decide to buy and why? Is it the first 30 seconds or does it take 30 days. Identifying the point of decision making is vital. Here’s a tip: the buying decision is often made from an emotional base not a rational one. How do you influence the positive emotion of your potential or returning customer.

Talk to past customers. Talk to the satisfied customers but more importantly talk to the unsatisfied ones. Then create a map and analyse what changes and improvements you can make along the way. Is there a point where customers get overwhelmed, confused or unsure? How can you help them through it?

These are the keys to a human centred customer experience. Spend the time analysing the steps your customers go through in their decision making process and it’s guaranteed to pay off .

Fisher & Paykel enhances website experience

Here’s the link to the full video:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/u8IpI-2r-Do3SYGdswSDVKAsW47sLa-shiMZ8_NczErnAiZVYVeiMLARN-ShUcwp7P9a14LzXvF-_L0-?startTime=1590544384000&_x_zm_rtaid=EQ1v4xDERuufQLVbnQ9ehA.1593326762071.cd128a166afc351726536869b713fb89&_x_zm_rhtaid=487

Let’s make market research personal. When was the last time you were 100% truthful on survey? If the survey takes over 3 mins do you lose focus and become tick happy? 

Have you ever been in a focus group with a bunch of strangers? Did you feel comfortable? 

If we really want to uncover customer needs we need new methods. Survey’s and focus groups have their place but if we’re creating a product or service, we need to get personal. Let’s look at how successes have been achieved in the past. What is a common theme? What is the superpower of these organisations? Most of the time you can bet it’s their ability to uncover market insights and the ability to creatively meet untapped needs. 

Marketing quickly becomes a big expense if you’re trying to gain reach and awareness of a product that people just don’t feel they need. It also gets expensive if you’re unsure of you’re market and who your customer is. A scatter gun approach can be a pricey way to test and measure and it ensures waste. Waste in terms of time, money and resources.

By seeking out extreme users, immersive techniques, consumer case studies, testimonials and inspiration from success you could develop the next disruption

With a few short conversations with your customers you can create the your next big marketing campaign

Better results through real market research.

Shall we call it Market Realsearch?  

To prove our point let’s talk about UberEats and how they innovate. 

Realising that they can’t possibly understand the intricacies and infrastructure of every city from their offices in San Francisco they created “The Walkabout Program“. 

“Every quarter, designers visit an UberEATS city and dive deeply into that market. They learn the city’s food culture. They study the transportation and logistical infrastructures. They interview delivery partners, restaurant workers, and consumers. They eat and eat and eat. Upon return, they share their insights with the entire team. Each visit helps build a comprehensive understanding of our different markets and customers.” 

They also “Overshadow” another form of immersion where they follow the live deliveries as well as sit in people’s homes to when they are ordering their meal. “Watching our products in the wild helps us better understand the needs of our customers, how well our designs address those needs, and what challenges exist in the real world”.  

This is what is termed immersion in human centred design, and it removes the variables of an artificial environment. Real insight from real experiences. 

The power of a testimonial!

UberEats also actively seek out feedback from delivery partners, restaurants and consumers to try and fill any gaps that might come from the above initiatives. This then gives them powerful insights to dissect and discuss new opportunities. This is done via Innovation workshops.  

When they need to develop ideas, they form a cross functional team to “generate insights and inspiration, then run creative exercises to generate a range of ideas. These structured brainstorms shake up the mindset of the team, push our creativity, and spawn innovative ideas like pooled deliveries and ‘virtual’ restaurants only available on UberEats.” 

Disruption

Why didn’t UberEats just get the insights from big data and deep dive research, surveys and mass market campaigns? None of these methods allow for the insights that are gained from more intimate personal research and if we are talking about true disruption then you won’t have any like products to compare to and certainly no past trends to predict from. 

If we are talking about emerging behaviours, then its highly likely that if you’re waiting on industry stats and data to guide your way… then you’re too late. 

UberEats has made innovation and human centred design part of their DNA like many other success stories. They realise the power in remaining close to and having empathy for all the parties they serve. From the in-home diner, to the delivery partner to the restaurateur.  

Before you spend thousands on qualitative and quantitative surveys, reports and industry data how about considering a new method. Consider how you or your team can truly gain exposure through immersion in your market or look at external support who can guide you on how to do this and even provide a new point of view to old problems.  

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

“At Liv By Design we start with the customer. We put ourselves in their shoes and we have empathy for their needs.” 

Olivia helps organisations gather true research of her clients by offering support in adapting immersion and interview techniques that gather insights that could transform your marketing results and provide valuable insight about your organisation.  

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.

Immersion.

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.

How UberEats continue to innovate with Design Thinking.

In 2014 infamous ride share company Uber launched into the food delivery industry. The online food ordering and delivery platform UberEats was born and it brought the late night lamb sandwich into question. Now there was a better option that met a need that crossed demographics and geographies. Based in San Francisco UberEats now delivers from restaurants in over 80 cities around the world making in to Perth in 2016.

Why are we talking about food delivery? Well there’s many success stories out there about innovative companies causing disruption. Each one has something we can learn from. What may seem to be overnight success stories are instead ideas that have been formed, research and tested over years. In this Innovation Series by Liv By Design we want to explore what are some of the simple methods that have been used so that we can adapt some learnings and create our own success stories. 

UberEats hits Perth

Here’s some fun facts that were published by WA Today following the arrival of UberEats to Perth and gives a sneak peak of the impact it had.

  • Hungriest time of the week in Perth is on Fridays at 6pm (No suprise there really!)
  • The first ever UberEATS order in Perth was a cheeseburger royale and steak cut chips ­from Jus Burgers in Leederville
  • The total distance travelled by the top delivery partner was 5,440 trips = 13,725 km. That’s Perth to Melbourne and back, twice!
  • The most ordered Indian dish in Perth is butter chicken ­- enough to fill 8.3 swimming pools.

Better results through real market research

Shall we call it Market Realsearch?  

Realising that they can’t possibly understand the intricacies and infrastructure of every city from their offices in San Fransciso they created The Walkabout Program“. We’ll talk about this is more detail but this is what is termed immersion in design thinking

“Every quarter, designers visit an UberEATS city and dive deeply into that market. They learn the city’s food culture. They study the transportation and logistical infrastructures. They interview delivery partners, restaurant workers, and consumers. They eat and eat and eat. Upon return, they share their learnings with the entire team. Each visit helps build a comprehensive understanding of our different markets and customers.” 

They also “Overshadow” another form of immersion where they follow the live deliveries as well as sit in peoples homes to when they are ordering their meal. “Watching our products in the wild helps us better understand the needs of our customers, how well our designs address those needs, and what challenges exist in the real world”.  

The power of a testimonial!

UberEats also actively seek out feedback from delivery partners, restaurants and consumers to try and fill any gaps that might come from the above initiatives. This then gives them powerful insights to dissect and discuss new opportunities. 

This is done via Innovation workshops.  

When they need to develop ideas they form a cross functional team to “generate insights and inspiration, then run creative exercises to generate a range of ideas. These structured brainstorms shake up the mindset of the team, push our creativity, and spawn innovative ideas like pooled deliveries and ‘virtual’ restaurants only available on UberEats.” 

“If you’re trying to design for the future, don’t design for behaviors that are happening now. Design for behaviors that are emerging, that are going to be new behaviors.” 

Lynda Deakin, Managing Director of IDEO’s Design for Food studio 

Dispruption

Why didn’t UberEats just get the insights from big data and deep dive research, surveys and mass market campaigns? None of these methods allow for the insights that are gained from more intimate personal research and if we are talking about true disruption then you won’t have any like products to compare to and certainly no past trends to predict from. 

If we are talking about emerging behaviours then its highly likely that if you’re waiting on industry stats and data to guide your way… then you’re too late. 

UberEats has made innovation and design thinking methods part of their DNA like many other success stories. They realise the power in remaining close to and having empathy for all the parties they serve. From the in-home diner, to the delivery partner to the restaurateur.  

Before you spend thousands on qualitative and quantitative surveys, reports and industry data how about considering a new method. Consider how you or your team can truly gain exposure through immersion in your market or look at external support who can guide you on how to do this and even provide a new point of view to old problems.  

This article is by Olivia O’Connor, Founder of Liv By Design a business solutions company. Liv By Design is dedicated to helping business owners grow their business and start strategically planning their initiatives by harnessing the creativity of their workforce through facilitated workshops.

We also help organisations gather true research of their clients by offering consultancy services in immersion techniques to gather insight that could transform your organsiation.