Well hello bear, Michael Delaney!
“If you think you’re not a tech company, you will be”
Chris Meah announced this turning of the tide at one of the first School of Code bootcamps: his forewarning of the widening skills gap in the UK caused by a lack of skilled programmers, which threatens business growth and innovation. It is undeniable that technology (software and hardware) is continuing to burrow itself into the core of all business operations. It is the key to greater productivity, connectivity and profitability.
It is because of this continued merging of the digital and real world that I see the methodology of design becoming more essential than ever. Taking inspiration from Chris Meah, I’d go as far to say if you think you’re not a design company, you will be.
It always starts with a change
I started out my career in content production and communications, which evolved to have a more strategic change management role. I witnessed first hand the difficulty of managing change, especially when we are so reliant on digital communication to deliver our messages. Trying to blend the digital and the real world is a real challenge. Getting people to embrace this change is even harder. This is where I got my appreciation for design.
I have always admired designers for their ability to think laterally, to take something from concept to a reality i.e. my ramblings into something we can print. This isn’t just a form of wizardry, it is the consequence of a process, a way of thinking. The way a designer would think. They place the human at the heart of the matter, and asks how do I get them to think what I need them to think.
To that end, the process of designing is planning out a handshake between the idea and how it is understood. We see this in obvious forms from simple posters and advertising all the way through to the latest technology hardware or building a city – design is central to its success. It takes the theory and asks “does it work for a human?” This perception was further compounded at SXSW this year, where the Chief of Design for Ford’s next big challenge is designing cars for a driverless world. We’re always designing an experience, and this is a new frontier. This blew my mind a little, but cemented the increasing importance of a design-minded approach.
Bear Cave: “On my way up the stairs on my first day…”
The bear necessities
It was a simple decision joining Northern Bear.
Knowing that I wanted to move more into the design field, I met with Chris (Chief Bear) and Aidan (Head of Design) one afternoon. As part of this, they showed me some of the work they had on at the time. This particular project was for a customer loyalty card that would be rolled out across a national chain of theatres. I looked over the design concepts with them. Every single concept was worthy of being printed in a poster. Ranging from illustrative landmarks through to more abstract patterns, the depth of thought that had gone into these resulted in some beautiful designs.
As I said, it was a simple decision. The quality of the work spoke for itself. And with my mind running miles ahead of myself, in terms of how significant I see design becoming, it seemed logical that the perfect starting point is to be top of your game in design right now.
Beautiful Brum – ‘First meeting with LoveBrum at the Custard Factory’
Beautiful design – beautiful planet
One thing that I am appreciative of is the business’ drive for learning and also doing good. In addition to working with some awesome charities, and the ‘Donate a Day’ initiative, is the business’s drive to be world changing in our own right.
This is manifesting itself as an exciting project (that will no doubt be announced soon). The director’s passion for sustainability has inspired a whole host of ideas that we are looking to put into practice in the way that only a design agency could! Crucially, I can see how a design-minded approach to a problem can start to unlock the action required to do something world changing.
If you want to chat through how we’re looking to design the future, give us a call.
Best meeting place: “Round the corner from the office is Melbourne – great coffee and adorable customers”
Music to work to: “One of the bear necessities is good music to work to”