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153925614162739942Merle Hall

Merle Hall is CEO of Kinneir Dufort (KD), a leading user-centred innovation and product development consultancy. She leads a team of 80 strategists, innovators, researchers, designers, engineers and makers.

Merle joined KD in 2009 and in 2016 led a private-equity backed management buyout. She has 20 years’ experience in design consultancy and is an expert in design thinking, strategy and innovation, launching life-changing products and services globally, focusing on medical and consumer markets. Clients include Roche, AZ, Unilever, RB, Coca Cola and Raspberry Pi. Merle is a regular writer and speaker at an international level and curates the podcast, KD Conversations.

Kinneir Dufort’s purpose is centred around designing a better world and as such, we are responsible for rolling out the regional chapters of Kerning the Gap, (championing women in design leadership). In addition, we partner with STEM organisations Teen Tech and the Big Bang, the RSA and various charities focusing on the next generation of innovators, designers and engineers.


153925606663681549Nir Wegrzyn

Founding partner and CEO, BrandOpus

Nir is the founding partner and CEO of BrandOpus, one of the UK’s leading branding design agencies. His career spans both design and advertising. Life began in Israel, followed by an education in Switzerland and university in London where he gained his MBA.

Specialising in complete brand transformations, Nir’s career has seen him work with world renowned brands ranging from small luxury brands, such as Elida Fabergé, through to global FMCG brands, such as Kraft Heinz. He started out in advertising in the 1980s at agencies such as FCB, Publicis and Lintas where he held Board Account Director roles in the UK and Europe. He then moved into brand design joining JKR as Managing Director in 1996, helping grow the agency from 30 to 100. Nir founded BrandOpus in 2007 with a number of his peers. Over the last ten years the agency has grown rapidly, expanding globally with studios in Melbourne and latterly New York as well as London.

BrandOpus is recognised as one of fastest-growing agencies in the UK and has recently expanded into offering comms to reflect the changing needs of clients. The agency specializes in branding with a diverse range of iconic brands and clients within FMCG, B2B and food service, with this work winning a number of Design Effectiveness Awards. Nir is actively involved in the business providing strategic input for senior clients and focuses on growing the agency.

Nir is a collaborator and friend to pioneers in the fields of archetypal psychology, cognitive neuroscience, semiotics and behavioural economics. He is a regular media contributor, a guest lecturer at London Business School and is a regular speaker at Cannes Lions, the world’s largest festival of creativity, on the subject of branding.

After five years of dedicated service as President of the DBA Board, Jim Thompson has come to the end of his term. 

Steve Pearce, Global Design Director at Skyscanner and Brian Mansfield, Chairman at Taxi Studio have both stepped down as Board Directors after many years of service.

The DBA would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Jim, Steve and Brian for their years of service and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

DBA Board of Directors

The DBA’s Board of Directors is elected from the membership, and possess diverse, yet highly relevant experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting table of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support and enable the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.

Meet the Board here.

jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
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Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
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The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


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DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


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DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

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The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

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DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

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A message from the DBA team.

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Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

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Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

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Main Content

YPO: Public Value Champions

ypo-thompson-brand-partnersFor Thompson Brand Partners, extensive stakeholder research with colleagues, key customers, potential customers, local authorities and industry figures was an integral part of the process in identifying the pillar stones that underpin their rebrand of the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation. The research helped to identify that the business needed to focus less on education, and instead on raising the profile of other supplies and services, if it wanted to meet its ambitious three-year business strategy to become the UK’s number one public sector buying organisation. The biggest learning was that the business had an opportunity to raise its profile and inject more sophistication into its brand. In doing this, it could start to build a flag that its team could stand behind, tackling years of internal apathy.

By sitting in on colleague calls with customers, Thompson also found that with a range of names – Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, Yorkshire Purchasing and YPO – all being used regularly by staff, clarity was definitely required. They recommended renaming simply as YPO, to create a more modern, sophisticated, national brand, and backed this up with customer research confirming this would be accepted and understood.

Having put the foundations in place to develop what the brand was all about and the name, the next step was to develop the identity – one that was confident, proud, brave and led by example. The roll out of this was an undoubted success.

YPO associate members leapt exponentially by 384% in 4 years from 13 to 63 and 57 new jobs were created at the business. YPO has since increased dividends paid to the public sector by 27.3% and is saving councils £2.5 million a year. And with engagement levels amongst the workforce jumping from 38% to 60%, productivity in the operations team leapt up, and time lost through staff sickness was slashed by 50%. The company even secured 61st place in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For (not-for-profit) and achieved a ranking of 90% in the UK Customer Service Satisfaction Index.

You can read YPO and Thompson Brand Partners’ DBA Design Effectiveness Award winning case study in full here. 

Dubai Airports Hospitality Programme

engine_da_staff_trainingEngine Service Design and Dubai Airports’ (DA) collaboration saw Engine Director James Samperi becoming Head of Customer Experience at Dubai Airports for six months.

Dubai Airports has grown from a desert landing strip to the world’s 2nd busiest international airport in a little more than fifty years, even though it operates only two runways. It used to be just airlines competing for passengers, but now airports compete too – some 70% of passengers have a choice of which hub they fly through. Dubai Airports’ infrastructure operates at near capacity so they needed to look beyond this and grow by putting customer service at the heart of the business, to help make Dubai a highly desirable destination for travellers worldwide and make DA the international hub of choice.

Engine initially worked with the senior team and partners to DA to establish a project brief that identified where efforts needed to focus to deliver ambitious targets. Across two days, over one hundred business leaders were engaged to connect where DA was today, to a vision of where it wanted to be tomorrow, declaring its intent to become a customer-centric organisation.

A service design approach meant that both parties worked together in a highly collaborative way, to the extent of Engine’s James Samperi’s secondment into DA for six months as Head of Customer Experience. And the implemented solutions were informed by clear strategy and service propositions, which were informed by customer and staff insights.

Rather than develop a series of discrete initiatives, Engine worked with DA to lead a more holistic approach and designed a blended service solution that included: defining a behavioural service style, training frontline staff, operational and environmental planning, digital tools and enablers, new ways of providing information and new ways to approaching way-finding.

Ultimately the new zonal ways of working increased the efficiency of the operation when working 24/7; resource could be better planned and allocated to handle the daily peaks and troughs of passenger footfall. And the impact has been widespread both in terms of improved commercial and customer perceptions.

There are higher levels of availability of frontline staff, higher levels of engagement between staff and passengers, and customer awareness of the commercial offering has increased leading to higher spend in food and beverage and in retail. There are also fewer questions of staff members following signage improvements, allowing staff to focus on their work.

You can read Dubai Airports and Engine Service Design’s DBA Design Effectiveness Award winning case study in full here. 

Design Effectiveness AwardsIf you have a project that you think could be a contender to win a DBA Design Effectiveness Award, download the entry pack and get started on your entry today.

 The entry deadline is Friday 30 November at 5pm GMT and there’s range of support available from the DBA to assist you with preparing your submission. Read about it here.

jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
ian-schneider-tammbr4okv4-unsplash-1

DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


News


Read more >>
The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

20/07/2020


News


Read more >>
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DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

17/07/2020


News


Read more >>
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DBA community: we are listening


A message from the DBA team.

11/06/2020


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Thoughts and insight from DBA CEO during COVID-19


Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

08/06/2020


News


Read more >>
image-4

Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

03/06/2020


News


Read more >>

Main Content

2018 DBA Annual Survey Report

img_0431Esther Carder, Partner at Kingston Smith and long-time author of the DBA Annual Survey Report launched the event with her analysis of 2018’s results, “the flavour of this year’s Report is very ‘steady as she goes.'” Previous instability resulting from the Brexit vote seems to have steadied somewhat for now however, the report warns that further uncertainty is a concern, as the industry and the nation await the final Brexit deal. 

Headline findings from this year’s report include:

  • 24% of DBA member agencies income is generated from overseas clients, with half of this from clients based in the European Union. 
  • Staff costs should not exceed 55% of income revenue. 
  • 51.5% of employees are male and 48.6% are female, an improvement on 2017’s 55:45 split. However, there is still plenty of work to be done in achieving a balanced gender split in senior agency roles. 79% of Creative Directors are male, with only 21% female. 
  • The percentage of survey respondents offering staff training has dipped from 70% in 2017 to 68.5% in 2018’s report. The DBA offers an annual programme of affordable and exceptionally well regarded training workshops, with discounts for DBA members. See what’s on offer here.

DBA members who took part in the survey can access the survey website with interactive data using your unique login, access the website here.

 

DBA member agencies will also receive soft copies of the abridged survey report via email.

2018 DBA Annual General Meeting

img_8525This year, the launch of the DBA Annual Survey Report was followed by our Annual General Meeting (AGM). 

The order of the evening was to approve the appointment of two new members to the DBA’s Board of Directors.

We’d like to congratulate and welcome Merle Hall, CEO of Kinneir Dufort and Nir Wegrzyn, founding partner and CEO of BrandOpus to the DBA Board and look forward to the expertise and fresh perspectives they’ll bring to their new roles.

Paul Flowers, CDO Lixil Water Technology and Lesley Gulliver, MD The Engine Room were re-elected for a further one year term, and Sean Carney, CDO Royal Philips and Will Rowe, MD Rufus Leonard were re-elected three year terms.

After five years of dedicated service as President of the DBA Board, Jim Thompson has come to the end of his term. Steve Pearce, Global Design Director at Skyscanner and Brian Mansfield, Chairman at Taxi Studio have both stepped down as Board Directors after many years of service.

The DBA would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Jim, Steve and Brian for their years of service and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Our commitment to you

DBA Chief Executive Deborah Dawton delivered a keynote address to the event’s delegates, where she outlined the DBA’s areas of focus for 2018/2019.

People and threats to talent supply

The lifeblood of our industry is truly talented creative people and high performing teams. Homegrown talent, as the Government refer to it, is crucial to our success – nothing new there. But we also have a need for international talent – those who understand the culture and nuance of designing for a Japanese business for example.

Education policy & recruitment

Government policy regarding Ebacc, Progress 8 and education funding is having a profound impact on numbers of students studying art and design, and design and technology which is compromising many schools’ ability to keep offering these subjects.

It’s important to remember, education is about equal opportunities. It’s not about academic vs creative subjects, A-levels vs T-levels. We have to end this either/or attitude in education and understand that equality of opportunity, encouragement, the nurturing of gifts and talents for all should be what school is about.

If you’re not creative enough, then you should be encouraged down an academic route. We need people who are gifted academically to be the best they can because we have to work with them in future life. 

If you are creative enough, we need to nurture that creativity but we also need to make sure students have a good academic grounding to their learning – because talking through the solution to a mathematical equation is where we learn to develop the skills to articulate our ideas, reading poetry or a book is where we learn to empathise.

We’re working to influence the future of our education system, undertaking extensive research amongst the DBA membership to establish what they need in their future talent, where the gaps in education and training are and how to combat broader issues stemming from education funding and policy.

We’re collaborating with the Design and Technology Association (DATA), the All Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG), the Design Council and the Creative Industries Federation to name a few to ensure the design industry’s needs are recognised in the ongoing debate surrounding education, as well as working with the Department for International Trade on an international strategy, to secure the UK’s reputation for world-class creativity and design globally.

Growth and evolution

We want to focus our time on how you can attract and retain the right people to your businesses, and increasingly it’s not about throwing money at people. You should have a staff retention strategy – you should know exactly who you want to keep and who’s just passing through – and passing through is OK. Purposeful recruitment is critical – it’s costing too much in wasted time, so how do we develop the skills of those with this responsibility to deliver against our business strategies that clearly lay out the requirements we have for people? 

People bring about change and our businesses are ever evolving. Growth can look like so many things today: a more strategic approach to business, maturity of thought, scale, reach, stability and beauty of what we produce. We want to help you with that change. Great teams need to be fed a diet of great work and your skill to attract the best work is paramount. So we’ll be taking a fresh look at procurement for those that cannot circumvent it.

We’ll be looking at a suite of issues around growth (or evolution) such as business development (here and internationally), positioning, procurement and senior management team development even if that team is only one person. Well run businesses can cope with a leave of absence at Founder level if the Senior Management Team are well-developed. Let’s build businesses that are built to last beyond their founders.

World class

The positioning of you all as world class is critical to winning the hearts and minds of international brands, of SMEs and of start-ups, of governments, of NGOs and of the third sector. But we can only do that if you truly are world class. We’ll champion the UK’s design industry here in the UK and internationally. We’ll do that through a new focus on international activity and through the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Our positioning as a country of commercially and creatively effective teams and businesses is unique, we’ll evidence that.

We’ll also need to engage you in these activities because you’re on the frontline more often than we are. We want to furnish you with the arguments to make the case for the UK as THE creative centre of the world.

The DBA Annual Survey Report analyses in detail design agency fees, salaries, utilisation, income, recovery rates and benefits to enable DBA members to benchmark their businesses as well as helping them to develop pay and benefits strategies to attract and retain the best talent.

You can read about the value DBA members derive from the report here.

If you’re not yet a DBA member and would like to join to access the Report’s findings, call the membership team on 020 7251 9229 or email membership@dba.org.uk.

jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
ian-schneider-tammbr4okv4-unsplash-1

DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


News


Read more >>
The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

20/07/2020


News


Read more >>
maddi-bazzocco_unsplash

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

17/07/2020


News


Read more >>
training-workshops-2-22

DBA community: we are listening


A message from the DBA team.

11/06/2020


News


Read more >>
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Thoughts and insight from DBA CEO during COVID-19


Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

08/06/2020


News


Read more >>
image-4

Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

03/06/2020


News


Read more >>

Main Content

Why did you decide to become a Twenty/Twenty mentor? 

I learned the best of my craft from those with experience; it’s rare to get that opportunity.

How would you sum up the experience? 

Collegiate, supportive, rewarding, stimulating, privileged. A genuinely shared experience. 

What would you say to someone who was undecided as to whether they should get involved as a mentor?

It’s about mutual learning, a finer understanding, the exchange of ideas with someone as passionate about what they do as you are…why wouldn’t you?

What has surprised you the most about the programme? 

The level of trust that is reached and so soon. Having the subject in common is an instant leveller and that makes for the most valuable conversations.

About: Jane Simmonds

Jane Simmonds has been a business leader in consultancy for most of her career, on the executive boards of the UK’s leading branding agencies. Latterly as CEO of Fitch and, for the 11 years prior to becoming an Executive Coach, as Managing Partner of Conran Design Group. She has led global branding work for clients such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, pwc, Coats plc, Shell and Procter & Gamble and was pivotal to the longevity of those relationships.

Twenty/Twenty Mentoring

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Applications for the 2019 programme are open until 23 November 2018 so why not think about what you need right now, or what you can give. Find out more and apply.

Apply today
jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
ian-schneider-tammbr4okv4-unsplash-1

DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


News


Read more >>
The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

20/07/2020


News


Read more >>
maddi-bazzocco_unsplash

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

17/07/2020


News


Read more >>
training-workshops-2-22

DBA community: we are listening


A message from the DBA team.

11/06/2020


News


Read more >>
lina-silivanova-6ykbeudk7rm-unsplash-2

Thoughts and insight from DBA CEO during COVID-19


Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

08/06/2020


News


Read more >>
image-4

Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

03/06/2020


News


Read more >>

Main Content

How would you sum up your Twenty/Twenty experience? 

A game changer for me and my business. My mentor has taught me so much and made me look at my business in a totally different light. Doing the Twenty/Twenty programme has utterly changed my approach to my business, and the way I talk about my services.

chelmsford_restaurant_festival_spread_newWhat are the main impacts you’ve experienced personally and for your business? 

More confidence: a more mature approach to every aspect, from proposals to pricing and through to language and terminology. It’s been a great success on many levels. I’ve benefited from it so much; I just wish I’d done it several years ago when I joined the DBA. I basically look at my business now as ‘what I did before I started mentoring’ and ‘what I know now I’ve done mentoring’. 

Why did you decide to get involved in the programme?  

It had always been something that I’d wanted to do. As a small ‘one man’ business I felt like I could learn a lot from a well established agency, having not had much real ‘agency’ experience I started my business just trying to do what I thought was right, with no real guidance. 

What, if anything, has surprised you about the programme? 

I thought I knew what I wanted from my business, which was a simple ‘I want to achieve X’ objective. My mentor made me look at the business from a far higher vantage point; he made me step way back and re-assess the situation. The direction I’ve gone in was very unexpected, but very exciting for me. Although the suggested changes and direction were challenging to acclimatise to, through suggested reading lists, recommended podcasts and just through talking it over, I was left in no doubt that I am doing the right thing and heading in the right direction, which I would have never ever considered a year ago. 

What would you say to someone who was undecided as to whether they should sign-up to Twenty/Twenty? 

Quite simply the best investment I have ever made in my business hands down. I’ve done generic business coaching but this is worlds-apart. To be able to sit down with an established agency director and have them look at what you do with an utterly frank ‘no-nonsense’ approach is a very healthy thing to do if you’re starting out, or you aspire for more. Basically I’ve loved doing it, which is why I’m applying for another year.

About: Bright Lights Creative

Bright Lights Creative is a specialist brand identity design agency. We help our partners achieve greater outcomes through effective positioning and clear communication. 

We specialise in developing brand identity, website design and print design to businesses of all sizes.

Professional yet approachable, we aim to create visually stunning marketing communications to help businesses thrive among their competition. 

We’re naturally passionate about design, but we’re just as committed to delivering an exceptional service. When you work with us, you can expect an approach that’s comprehensive, consultative and entirely focused on the unique needs of your business.

W: blcreative.agency

Twenty/Twenty Mentoring

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Applications for the 2019 programme are open until 23 November 2018 so why not think about what you need right now, or what you can give. Find out more and apply.

Apply today

Image credits:

SH Lam | Unsplash

Bright Lights Creative

 

jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

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The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


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DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


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Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


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HCD meets sustainability

I’m convinced that Human-Centred Design – our dominant methodology today – just doesn’t cut it for sustainability. We must evolve this model from ‘human-centred’ to what I call ‘humanity-centred’ design, stretching beyond customers’ impacts alone to factor-in the wider impacts of design on society and the planet. There are several reasons why I make this bold assertion:

Firstly, in putting people front and centre of innovation, HCD has come to exclusively represent buyers or users alone. This fails to acknowledge other stakeholders in the value chain – like those affected by packaging waste, workers affected by exploitative practices in a supply chain, or a community harmed by manufacturing pollution.

Secondly, HCD majors on the purchasing and usability stages of product life, ignoring many other important stages like where a product comes from (sourcing), or where it goes (end-of-life) – all of which are crucial to sustainability.

Finally, insight-based HCD methods struggle to articulate or capture more abstract, less immediate sustainability needs. Client research often reports eco- and social issues ranked lower down customers’ priorities beyond convenience, usability, cost and others, being at best a secondary, support benefit. I’ve worked on projects where client research has shown no compelling customer insight or benefit even though there may be big planetary savings, and I’ve seen that this generally means sustainability is dropped from the brief as a result of being customer-insight-led.

First waves of Humanity-Centred Design

alex-wise-582614-unsplash-copyThe good news is that the first signs of a more humanity-centred approach to design are emerging that meet the needs of today’s and future generations. One-size will not fit-all, this shift will be multi-faceted and you can find the first waves rippling through.

Pioneering wave-makers are gaining first mover advantage and here are just a few examples of useful and inspiring tools, guides and programs to shape your thinking across three imperatives:

Sustainability in all design

On a very basic level, all designers and design projects should, at the very least, know the wider societal and planetary impacts of their decisions, simply as standard practice ‘good design’ in the 21st Century.

Tools like Makersite, OpenLCA and a multitude of others now allow designers to do this and a plus is that they have options that are free to access.

World-changing design

Beyond the base level, we need more design efforts to tackle big societal challenges. Netherlands-based What Design Can Do run an international platform promoting the wider impacts of design featuring a Clean Energy Challenge across five global cities to get young designers active on sustainability.

This builds on years of social innovation work where designers tackle real-world problems like healthcare, education, poverty, crime, etc, with great toolkits from the likes of Nesta that could be applied to planetary challenges.

The Unschool of Disruptive Design are doing important work training designers and creative change-makers in sustainability and systems thinking.

New design methods

There is a buzz around circular design and the IDEO and Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Design guide is the most iconic tool to date.

I’m fascinated by Biomimicry which takes inspiration from 3.8 billion years of Mother Nature’s efficient, elegant design, so if you face an intractable problem why not Ask Nature how to fix it.

Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) is a design chemistry methodology with a rigorous assessment and scoring of sustainable products plus certification for those that do ‘more good, not less bad’.

Whilst this is all just a start, the common theme running through all of the above is for design taking responsibility for its wider impacts on society.

A new operating model for design

Mainstream design agencies are waking-up to this with formal sustainability positions or offers, from packaging design, through environmental design, to industrial design. You can find sustainability positions inside corporate design teams too: notably Philips Design, BMW, Beiersdorf, Nike, Levis, and others.

By committing to sustainability practices, developing expertise and championing humanity-centred design now, your business can stand-out and be ahead of the inevitable sustainability wave.

The sands of commerce and society are shifting and design must change too. The shift to Humanity-Centred Design will be evolutionary, more a design reboot than a substitution, so we can build on the foundations and momentum we have today.

Start by talking to clients, adding sustainability into briefs or turning your research budget, white space experiment or pet project to a Sustainable Development Goal – the time is right to design for sustainability. Our next big design revolution must be humanity-centred.

About: Chris Sherwin

Chris Sherwin is the Director of Reboot Innovation, a creative consultancy on a mission to change what and how we innovate for a better world.

We fuse world-changing innovation, marketing and design with cutting-edge sustainable and ethical business.

We are the sustainable innovation partner to brands, designers and innovators who want to practically design a green, fair and prosperous world.

W: www.rebootinnovation.com

Image credits:

Martin Adams | Unsplash

Alex Wise | Unsplash

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DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
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DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


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The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

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The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

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Read more >>

Main Content

bigger“One of the challenges of a small company that wants to stay small, nimble and creative, is there is nowhere for your staff to go in terms of career progression,” says Smith. That’s why the employee-owned business model 4c has introduced isn’t fashioned on simply being a financial ‘perk’ for staff. The real motivation behind it is the creation of a career path for 4c’s people, a mechanism to keep their skills within the business, whilst also enabling the development of a valuable intellectual property portfolio.

At 4c, there is complete freedom for people who are ambitious in the company and have an idea they want to take forward, because the innovative model allows staff to set up spin-out businesses. “The idea is that you can create your own spin-out business, with your own product, your own business model, and 4c will support you as much as it can through that transition,” says Smith. “Ultimately, what we encourage and want is that staff with entrepreneurial vision will be able to be the manager of their own business if they decide to pursue that path.”

It speaks volumes, that since the scheme was introduced five years ago, not a single member of staff has left the business. “Being a good designer or design engineer, is thinking about who the person at the heart of what you’re doing is”, says Smith. “If you can design good products for other people, then treat your business as a product and think about how you would design it to suit your own people.

This approach isn’t for the faint hearted though. It’s taken time, investment and drive to bring it to fruition. 4c’s route in was through the Co-operative Development Scotland. The Scottish Government have been promoting this way of working for about ten years now and HMRC also offer big incentives to help move a business to this model as well. 4c wanted to make sure they were HMRC compliant, so when it came to implementation, they approached and worked with the Baxi Partnership, which is a specialist in this area, to ensure their employee-owned model was on point.

bigger
Teamwork: 4c were commissioned to design & build the Queens Baton for the 2014 Commonwealth Games

The 4c Trust was founded and a specific number of shares were created. At the moment Smith and Mitchell remain the majority owners but 25% of the shares were sold into The 4c Trust, to sit in a holding pen. Employees have access to those shares, but importantly this isn’t a gift or a bonus: all staff have the option to buy 4c shares. “The philosophy employees had to get their head around is that this is an investment,” says Smith. “They could go off and use that money to buy Apple or Tesla shares, but instead they are choosing to buy shares in the company they work in, which in turn gives them a direct influence over what that share price can look like.”

It’s a completely open, transparent and fair system. Everyone has access to the same amount of shares each year and it works through a salary sacrifice scheme. You can choose anywhere between £10 and £150 a month and there’s no PAYE and NI to pay on that. The scheme has proven so popular that 4c had to cap the annual share limits for current staff to allow enough for new starters to have the opportunity to buy shares. And one rule is that new employees need to be with 4c for at least 18 months before they can access the share scheme.

biggerOne of the real benefits of moving to this employee-owned model has been the discipline it’s brought to financial processes and the business itself. The company now has open book accounting so there are no secrets. “You really need to be much more open with your staff around how you’re doing,” Smith highlights. “Staff feel much more empowered. If they see that sales are a bit tight for coming months, then they start to think ‘what can I do to change that and to help?” he adds. Through this openness, 4c’s team is also learning and absorbing business practices and acumen themselves, which in turn they can bring to their own spin-out projects, such as S’up a spoon for people with shaky hands developed by 4c’s lead designer Mark Penver.

4c also now holds an AGM. Each year Smith and Mitchell stand up in front of their shareholders – their staff – and justify the strategy for the next year and where money will be spent. The AGM also includes the ‘big reveal’ – obligatory drum roll included – on where the share price stands for that year. The share price is calculated annually and “everyone is motivated by driving the share price up,” says Smith, “and that motivation can only enhance the team’s approach to client work and relationships too.”

bigger4c are still learning. And there are still challenges to manage in terms of balancing spin-out work with the core business. But, says Smith “Every company has down time. What do you do in that time? You can go and get training, renovate the office, do the website, write up a case study. But what I wanted to do was to encourage my people to use that time to explore their own entrepreneurial ambitions.”

And how do the rest of the team view that? “I like to feel we all benefit,” says Smith, “because we all recognise that if we support each other’s new ventures whilst they are in start-up mode, as a team we are going see the benefits of that start up business in the future, with additional revenue over and above the traditional model coming into the business and to us, the shareholders. If it fails, we all fail together. The risk is less and the rewards can be greater.”

Here are some links where 4c took their inspiration from:

About: 4c

Curious. Creative. Considered. Commercial.

4c is the straight talking, employee owned design and engineering firm. We help companies with what’s next.

Our Glaswegian culture is the beating heart of 4c. We love what we do and are fuelled by challenges and opportunities to tell stories, create unique designs and solve complex engineering problems. Our vision is clear and simple – to transform ideas into valuable solutions with ‘fresh eyes’.

W: www.4cdesign.co.uk

Images supplied by 4c 

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DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
ian-schneider-tammbr4okv4-unsplash-1

DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


News


Read more >>
The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

20/07/2020


News


Read more >>
maddi-bazzocco_unsplash

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

17/07/2020


News


Read more >>
training-workshops-2-22

DBA community: we are listening


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11/06/2020


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Thoughts and insight from DBA CEO during COVID-19


Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

08/06/2020


News


Read more >>
image-4

Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

03/06/2020


News


Read more >>
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