I offer several strategic consultancy services one of them is Organisational Design this can involve launching a new service or creating new divisions, whole Global companies or reinvigorating and repurposing existing enterprises and organisations.
Being a founder of anything is quite exciting, especially if you are funded in advance. I think that was the thing that really helped get this project off the ground. While you know history will be written as you work and rewritten after you leave the following case study in several parts is about how you really set up a Global Digital Consultancy.
Founding a New Business or Capability is all about Market Differentiators
The starting point for this consultancy was a discussion between the CEO and an up and coming Executive. I can only relay the gist of what was said as it was relayed to me to get me onboard with the project. The names have been removed because it’s not important exactly who only what is said;
CEO: Executive we need to get into Digital, digital is the next big thing, can you get some people together who can tell our digital story to the world?
Executive: Yes I will get a mix of people and keep mixing until we find people who the market will accept as our face.
CEO: Executive what is digital to you, its not Technology or Consulting we have tried those angles and have not got traction in the market?
Executive: I’m not sure, but let me come back to you.
It started with three of us, plus an Executive. We worked together to define what is Digital, for while we all had our own ideas, we needed a consensus view to build a business that people could relate to, buy into and attribute value to.
Definition of Digital
If digital is not technology or consulting, what is it. For us we looked at the experience of digital to define it.
- Digital is adaptive, agile and lean
- Digital is rapid, cuts through red tape, evolves
- Digital is engaging, exciting and challenging
- Digital is tangible, easy to explain and does not rely on PowerPoint
Digital is about people’s experience of a product or service not the delivery mechanism.
Digital sits at the cross over point between strategy and design*, design* and technology and technology and strategy, with people at the centreKarl Smith
note*: the others wanted to use UX, but because of the infighting between UX, CX, IxD, Service Design, Design Thinking, Etc., I suggested just using Design to catch them all.
No one thing Strategy, Design, Technology is more important they all need to be engaged in a Digital Solution else they become a point of failure in the future. Everyone in a client business is part of digital too, including accounts, legal, production, operations, delivery, marketing as they are all the experience customers have of a companies Success or Failure to fulfil the engagement.
From my perspective we appeared to create a hierarchy but most importantly internally we got rid of the separation between consultants and technologists because useful people are not just one thing, they are complex.
useful people are not just one thing, they are complexKarl Smith
For me like most people who have focused on Customer Experience the ability to work at a Strategic level or on complex Technology was often not possible because recruiters and clients don’t understand our profiles as technical. In this start-up it was important for me to break people capabilities out from the narrow points of reference of “I don’t see it on the CV”. This also enabled me to hire widely and easily people whose real skills were lost on the market, but not on me.
Once we had this concept of;
Blended people providing a Blended ServicesKarl Smith
we were ready to start Defining the Propositions, Processes and setting up the Capability Management. If only it was that simple, the next instalment will explain why.