Igniting the power of design

Sensis is an iconic Australian company that has traditionally focused on printed phone directories. With the decline of their print business, Sensis had big ambitions to transform their business model. They asked Fjord to build their in-house design capability so that they were better equipped to shape their historically analog business into a forward-thinking company that could thrive in a digital age.

This project was borne out of a standalone project to envision Sensis’s future customer service model, during which the client got a taste of the value a design process could deliver for their business. Sensis was keen to further develop this capability across the business rather than the design division alone. As a result, this engagement shifted from being purely focused on business outcomes to being centered on Sensis’s people – coaching, mentoring and guiding them through a Service Design engagement, ultimately empowering staff to drive the direction of the company.

Fjord’s approach

Fjord as Facilitators

We took a team of eight employees through a twelve-week engagement with the aim of upskilling them to become Service Designers, Business Designers and Visual Designers. We delivered weekly classroom-based learning sessions to cover the basic skills of communication, design and the Fjord approach, and coached and supported the teams as they carried out the work themselves.

The newly established Sensis design team ran research, conducted the RumbleTM workshop with stakeholders and customers and created the concepts that would help the White Pages to thrive in a challenging market.

Outcomes included a three-year roadmap with new products and service initiatives that are potential game-changers in the marketing industry. Since the project ended, some bootcampers have gone on to lead the development of these concepts.

Twelve-week tornado

An important part of our work was to manage expectations, making it clear that the project was about learning and developing, which is demanding and takes participants through a series of emotions as they become confident with some elements while others remain a mystery for a while longer.

Our experience with Sensis was similar to that we’ve had in other Design Bootcamp projects: some people are resistant to the notion of starting from zero with entirely new mindsets, methods and targets – and that’s okay. Others need encouragement but can clearly see how the experience could benefit both their own career and their company’s trajectory. And then there are the ones who simply can’t wait to get stuck in, embrace everything we have to offer, and really make it their own show!

Human-centered design team

Sensis’s new design team became well versed in putting people at the heart of every decision they made, learning how to conduct effective research and how to analyze and use the data to inform their choices. Their new skills are enabling them to come up with concepts that deliver what customers want, actively building and strengthening the company’s relationship with them.

In the wake of their great success with physical phone books, the client was seeking new ways to add value for users who are more reliant on digital technology. By embracing design thinking with curiosity and open-mindedness, and by empowering their employees to take the lead on innovation, Sensis have successfully tackled multiple challenges within the business. As a result, they have been named Australia’s leading digital marketing provider.

This was my first service design experience. Fjord did a quality job in ensuring I understood the entire process. Thanks to Fjord, it has most definitely enriched my skillset and knowledge enabling me to bring more value to my role at Sensis.
Gary Service Designer at Sensis