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How processes can pivot a digital agency

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Many designers and developers do not have business backgrounds, and MBAs, yet setup agencies because we love the thrill of design and want to make a difference. There are many thriving small studios …

Many designers and developers do not have business backgrounds, and MBAs, yet setup agencies because we love the thrill of design and want to make a difference. There are many thriving small studios but often, we find ourselves challenged by leading teams, running sales departments, propelling marketing, managing processes and doing web design all at the same time. So how can we grow our agencies from singular clients and 1-2 staff to international stardom? Also does a yearly business plan make a difference and when is the right time to create one? Danny will explain how better processes and recurring procedures increase revenue, reduce risk, improve profitability, transform HR and lead to better client relationships. He will explain how strategic R&D, innovation and a passion for usability are key to success.

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  • 1. How processes can pivot a digital agency HOW STRATEGY, PROCESSES AND INNOVATION HELP TO TRANSFORM A DIGITAL AGENCY
  • 2. 1. WHY THE DUCK 2. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT 3. WHY PROCESSES 4. USER CENTRED DESIGN 5. LEAN PROCESSES 6. STRATEGY 7. INNOVATION 8. MARKETING 9. PEOPLE 10. CONCLUSION @cyberduck_uk @danny_bluestone
  • 3. WHY THE DUCK?
  • 4. Organic growth • Started off as a ‘one man band’ working with freelancers in my bedroom • Funded using credit cards, initial revenue was £40K-£50K per year • Used user centred design (UCD) as a methodology to deliver quality • Gradually moved into serviced office, hired staff and did marketing • Revenue tripled, innovated new services and marketed at trade shows • Income continued to almost double every year for the first 4-5 years • Moved offices again, hired 4 staff per year (on average) • Used Scrum and agile to improve project management processes • Cemented business processes via lean principles and ISO9001 • Blue Ocean business planning improved profitability within 2 years • R&D, hackathons and compassionate HR continue to lead our philosophy
  • 5. FAST FORWARD TO 2014
  • 6. Org chart We currently have three people layers: strategy, management and experts
  • 7. Thinking about holacracy Holacracy is hierarchical and allows roles to overlap, with a lead link within each department/division
  • 8. GET MENTORS AND INSPIRATION Image credit: http://just-tri-hard.blogspot.co.uk/2010_05_01_archive.html
  • 9. Image credit: http://vapor-studio.com/art-design/legendary-design-guru-jony-ive-now-runs-apple-software-too/ THE INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER
  • 10. Image credit: http://uxpodcast.com/51-brad-frost-future-friendly/ THE CODE NINJA
  • 11. THE MARKETING THINKER Image credit: http://delfi-net.com/home/img/hs-seth-godin.png
  • 12. Image credit: http://web.braintive.com/10-reglas-heuristicas-de-usabilidad-de-jakob-nielsen/ THE USABILITY RESEARCHER
  • 13. THE BUSINESS GURU Image credit:https://poppeelings.wordpress.com/tag/alan-sugar/
  • 14. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT AT EVERYTHING Image credit:http://img.fark.net/images/cache/850/7/76/fark_76Ru0JwFEefbW3eEPX-ol5X4AYA.jpg?t=94VPRgdzNIy7UfUksJLG_A&f=1405310400
  • 15. JUMP INTO THE MIDDLE OF THINGS GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE AND REACH FOR THE STARS The T shaped human Breadth of knowledge Depth of expertise Image credit: http://filmecon.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/team-money-monopoly-and-counterfeit.html
  • 16. Image credit:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/freddie-mercury/images/31652011/title/freddie-photo OK, DO I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
  • 17. FUSE YOUR GIFT OF WORK INTO THE BLESSINGS OF LIFE WHILE INSPIRING THOSE AROUND YOU. Work ethos Image credit:http://wallpapers.brothersoft.com/true-grit-wallpaper-99133-1920x1200.html
  • 18. HUMILITY PUSHES US TO ACHIEVE MORE Be humble Image credit: http://wallpapers.brothersoft.com/true-grit-wallpaper-99133-1920x1200.html
  • 19. ARE YOU A TAKER, MATCHER OR GIVER? Givers Image credit: http://article.wn.com/view/2014/04/02/Wharton_Professor_Adam_Grant_Explains_Why_The_Most_Successfu/
  • 20. FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD Be bold Image credit: http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-worstbiopicactors/4/
  • 21. WHY PROCESSES?
  • 22. research development marketing on going support art directionuser experience UCD
  • 23. research development marketing on going support art directionuser experience Scrum
  • 24. research development marketing on going support art directionuser experience ISO 9001 & Lean
  • 25. USER CENTRED DESIGN TRANSFORM DESIGN CAPABILITIES
  • 26. Design for generations EACH GENERATION HAS A DIFFERENT MENTAL MODEL SILENT GEN BOOMERS GEN X MILLENNIALS DIGI’ NATIVES 1960s-1980s 1940s-1960s 1920s-1940s 1980s-2000s Now
  • 27. Personas REMOVE ASSUMPTIONS FROM YOUR DESIGN PROJECT
  • 28. Brand overlap THE BRANDING AND MARKETING CAN BE TRANSFORMED VIA UCD
  • 29. LEAN THINKING PIVOTS YOUR CULTURE
  • 30. DECISIONS ARE BASED ON LONG TERM PASSIONS AND AMBITION AS OPPOSED TO SHORT-TERM OBJECTIVES AND PROFITS Philosophy
  • 31. USE RESEARCH AND VALIDATED LEARNING TO ENSURE DESIGN DECISIONS ARE MEANINGFUL AND USEFUL. KEEP DOCUMENTATION LIGHT AND SMART Waste
  • 32. STANDARDISE PROCEDURES, TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN SO WE CAN FOCUS ON FLOW, CREATIVITY AND MAKING A HUGE IMPACT WITHIN THE DETAIL Standardisation
  • 33. STOP WHEN PROBLEMS HAPPEN TO REFLECT, CHANGE AND IMPROVE ENSURING THAT QUALITY ASSURANCE IS AT THE HEART OF WHAT YOU DO
 (“JIDOKA”) Get quality right first time Image credit: https://www.adsgroup.org.uk/articles/38410
  • 34. ENSURE THE EFFORT IS EVEN
 AMONG THE TEAM (“HEIJUNKA”) Level out the workload
  • 35. INVEST IN OUR TEAM, GROW AND NOURISH LEADERS SLOWLY AND RETAIN THE ONES 
 WE HAVE, SO THEY KNOW HOW TO RUN 
 OUR BUSINESS Grow leaders
  • 36. INVEST IN CROSS FUNCTIONAL TEAMS TO AMPLIFY LEARNING AND BOOST CREATIVITY ! Diversify the teams
  • 37. Decide by consensus PONDER ON MANY OPTIONS BUT 
 IMPLEMENT RAPIDLY (“NEMEWASHI”).
  • 38. ONCE YOU HAVE A STABLE PROCESS USE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (KAIZEN) TO ANALYSE AND IMPROVE ON IT Continual improvement
  • 39. A STRATEGY IS
 ESSENTIAL TO ACHIEVE A TIPPING POINT
  • 40. THE BLUE OCEAN CANVAS HELPS TO VISUALISE YOUR STRATEGY. Blue ocean strategy
  • 41. A LONG TERM PLAN IS REQUIRED
 TO DEFINE TARGETS, MARKETING TACTICS AND A NEW STRUCTURE TO ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS. Our three year plan
  • 42. INNOVATION IS KEY
  • 43. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO INNOVATE? WHY DO YOU NEED TO DO IT? HOW DO YOU DO IT? WHO DO YOU DO IT FOR? WHEN DO YOU DO IT? The big ‘I’
  • 44. ON THE NEXT SLIDE WE WILL SEE (A VIDEO) OF WHAT A HACKATHON CAN GENERATE! Innovation in action
  • 45. PIVOTAL MARKETING
  • 46. IT TAKES A DAY TO LEARN BUT A LIFE TIME TO MASTER. Marketing Image credit:http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/evian-baby-inside/
  • 47. Image credit START A TRIBE TO MEET, LEARN AND SHARE
  • 48. CREATE A TRIBE OF SUPER HUMANS
  • 49. Image credit PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL THEMSELVES, NOT WHAT YOU TELL THEM
  • 50. BUILD UP AND RAISE THE PROFILE OF KEY TEAM PLAYERS Recognition
  • 51. Image credit http://aludin.com/2013/12/ TRAIN PEOPLE WELL ENOUGH SO THEY CAN LEAVE, TREAT THEM WELL ENOUGH SO THEY DON’T WANT TO
  • 52. A GREAT LOCATION = STAFF LONGEVITY. Location
  • 53. IN TODAY’S CONNECTED WORLD, YOU CAN FIND THAT PERSON. The unicorn myth
  • 54. THERE ARE FOUR PRINCIPLE PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS WE USE TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD: SENSATION, INTUITION, FEELING AND THINKING Myers Briggs ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ ISTP ISFP INFP INTP ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ
  • 55. •Go for a long term plan but keep it lean and adaptive •Innovate is key to success, but think why you need to innovate •Explore holacracy, lead and manage with compassion •Invest in training, great recruitment and solid HR processes •Departmentalise your business and interlink everything (ISO:9001) •Use recurring procedures to automate as many things as possible Summary
  • 56. THANK YOU! @cyberduck_uk @danny_bluestone