As part of our flagship Design Economy 2018 research, we present seven case studies, which bring to life how a selection of different firms use design in practice. For an introduction to the case studies, please see here. This case study also has an accompanying video.

Fjord – the strategic importance of design

Fjord is an international design and innovation consultancy which was acquired by Accenture Interactive in 2013. It has a structured design process and is increasingly working at a senior level within clients’ organisations, applying design thinking to strategic business challenges. Fjord’s approaches have been adopted and rolled out across Accenture, leading to impacts for clients and changes across the organisation.

Location: London and Worldwide     

Size: Fjord – 1000 worldwide (100 in London studio). Accenture – 442,000 worldwide     

Design discipline: Design strategy, interaction design, visual design, business design, service design, industrial design, production creation, design research, data design, creative technology.

How design is used to enhance business innovation

Under Fjord Co-Founder and Chief Client Officer Mark Curtis’ guidance, the firm helps move its clients beyond ‘design thinking’ to the wider ‘design rule of three’ which includes:

  • Design thinking – as described by Curtis, ‘bringing together a group of innovative designers capable of problem-solving within a company, whether that’s a change of focus or creating a fresh product for a consumer’.
  • Design doing – working with different stakeholders to ideate and create new products and services.
  • Design culture – embedding a culture and understanding of design and ability to absorb design activity within companies.

It aims to move design from something that risks becoming a fleeting trend in the business community, to both a mindset and process within companies that has the potential to fundamentally disrupt and drive innovation within their clients’ organisations. For example, with a large telecommunications provider, their work was not limited to just designing the UX and UI for a new call centre service, but actually redesigning the entire customer representative experience based on customer pain points and with an eye to new efficiencies. According to those interviewed, being part of Accenture Interactive, with the creative communications and consulting arms, has allowed Fjord to deliver these experiences to market.

“To do design it's not just about doing design, it’s about engaging with other people throughout the organisation so everyone has a better level of understanding and can create better products. It’s about scaling design within the organisation.”

What impact has this made?

Accenture clients are reported to benefit significantly from the closer working relationship with Fjord. For example, British Petroleum (BP) has had staff members working full-time onsite at Fjord for over a year and a half. This approach and intimacy has allowed BP’s Digital Transformation Manager to more rapidly test ideas and work through prototypes and to act as a design conduit back into BP.

Team members within both Accenture Interactive and Fjord indicate that the management consultancy’s work with Fjord and their resulting enhanced design literacy has made both individual consultants within Accenture and the company as a whole more adept at creative and human-centred problem solving.

Want to know the full story? We’ve published our complete case study about how and why Fjord uses design here

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