Kenneth Lindfors

Taking Fjord within: setting up an in-house design studio within the client’s organization

Never have people been more influential to a business’s success. To remain competitive in this reality, savvy leaders are building design capability within their business so that they can rely less on external partners to deliver people-centric innovation to market.  

Drawing on our experience, we’ve honed three approaches to helping clients develop their design potential, which we detail in a new report, “Design from within: How to build internal teams to design and innovate.”  

Here, we’ll explore the third of those three approaches: Taking Fjord within. 

What’s in it for the client? 

“Taking Fjord within” is when we set up a design studio within a client’s organization, taking full responsibility for all the client’s design and digital requirements. The client reaps the benefits of a dedicated in-house design team without needing to recruit and establish their own designers. The engagement can last anywhere between one year and six, with a long-term ambition of shifting Fjord to a supporting role, helping the client develop their own design capability.  

Parachuting in a fully formed design team can initially be a surprise to the client’s employees, but, with proven skills and confidence in their work, the Fjord team will quickly find ways to collaborate with and earn the respect of their new colleagues.  

It’s remarkable to observe how infectious our culture can be. We derive strength from our diversity, and build multi-disciplinary teams that bring an array of ideas, experiences and characteristics to the table. We never apologize for having fun during the working day – when we’re enjoying ourselves, we’re free to imagine the impossible and find ways to make it happen. In our experience, the client’s colleagues subconsciously start to adopt our ways of thinking and bring creativity and joy to their own work.  

Consistently creative 

In situations where clients have previously relied on commissioning external partners for their design work, they frequently bemoan inconsistencies and superficial understanding of their priorities. By the time Fjord’s design team arrives on a client’s doorstep, they’ve already spent years honing their craft and design language. Immersing them in the client’s own environment enables them to produce output that boasts consistency and quality.  

Fjord designers come complete with a growing global network of over 1,000 other designers, developers and data scientists from whom they can gather more insights and skills if they need them. Owing to that, and the team’s established co-creation approach, they’re perfectly placed to bring innovative, high quality products to market in a shorter timescale.  

Thinking long-term 

The short-term benefits of this off-the-shelf package are irrefutable, but what about the long-term? The ideal scenario is for the Fjord team to spend the duration of their engagement working in collaboration with the client’s employees, so that design thinking and something approximating Fjordian culture spreads organically beyond their corner of the business. During this time, we’d also help to recruit the client’s own design team. Essentially, we’d look to transition from this approach to another: Setting up shop.  

The feature of our culture that makes us most proud is our shared attitude to change. We embrace it – in fact we often actively seek it out. Change is an unavoidable challenge across all sectors and all regions. If organizations are to thrive in a constantly evolving, digitally dominated world, they must be prepared to make friends with the notion of progress, and everything that comes with it. 

The full report gives more detail on each of the three approaches, their unique features and benefits. The other two approaches are Setting up shop and Design bootcamp. 

Setting up shop 

This is when we work alongside our client to build their new design studio or innovation hub – powered by their own people, processes and technology. 

Design bootcamp 

This is when we run a brief, intense and immersive engagement, working together with the client through a design process. 

Kenneth Lindfors

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