“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” – Charles Eames

For this week’s Alumni Profile, I spoke to designer, business owner and Echos Design Thinking Experience alum Tamlyn van Zyst. Amongst many things, Tamlyn is an experienced brand strategist that helps her clients perfect their brands through her business, Tamlyn Creative.

You can read our full conversation below:

RG – Hi Tamlyn, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself?
TVZ – Tamlyn van Zyst is a creative! I’m proud that I run a successful design agency in South West Sydney. Personally, I’m inquisitive and empathetic about people and their businesses. Having been through my share of challenges, I’m able to empathise and genuinely want to help people. I love being around positive people. Outside of work I enjoy my family time, travelling overseas and cruising. Photography and illustration have been a part of me from a very early age – I still have my first drawing, which I did at age four. My first camera was given to me on my seventh birthday by my grandparents, and my biggest inspiration that led me to design was my dad.

RG – Wow, creativity in many fronts! Could you tell us a bit more about your work?
TVZ – In running my Agency, my focus these days is working on the business and providing direction in Brand Strategy for my clients and art direction within the studio. I don’t get to spend time on the tools as much as I originally did. However, I have found my passion in connecting with people through Design Thinking.

RG – It’s amazing that you are already implementing Design Thinking to your day-to-day work life. In your opinion, why is innovation important in your field of work?
TVZ – Our clients are faced with many problems – challenges -, and most have already been prescribed with a need for a website or a logo. However, the question I’ve always challenged them is “why?”. Innovation through Design Thinking will achieve a greater understanding in challenging our clients and looking at the underlying issue by redefining the problem and working out what will help create a successful brand; there is not one solution that fits all. Through innovation we will help those we are designing for; we will design for their users, allowing us to gain insights and understanding that enable us to build their brand with the correct strategy and tools, which is vital.

RG – When was the first time you heard about Design Thinking?
TVZ – It was about seventeen months ago. One of our team members were intrigued about how IDEO was teaching Design Thinking – we have learnt quite a bit through IDEO, and have implemented elements throughout our processes within our brand discoveries, which have been very effective with the designers when designing for our clients and their end users. However, until you put it into practice, you will not achieve a greater and deeper understanding of how effective Design Thinking is, and the power of what this mindset can achieve.

RG – You have attended Echos Design Thinking Open Morning session, Design Thinking Experience course and, most recently, Echos Innovation Day open event. How do you think the knowledge you brought back to your company can positively impact your industry?
TVZ – I have attended the Design Thinking morning session, this allowed me to see how Echos worked and if you were the right fit in increasing my knowledge and furthering my education and training. This is what led me to the three-day Design Thinking Experience Course. The whole experience has been positive and will increase my ability to help me assist my clients even more. We are always learning; this is a crucial part of innovating too. I see this as a very positive direction within my design business and the industry, and it aligns with my personal and business value which is ‘design with empathy’.

RG – What were your biggest learnings during Echos’ Design Thinking course?
TVZ – There were so many takes from this course. The biggest learning for me is that different groups can achieve completely different outcomes. Putting it to practice is the only way you can truly understand Design Thinking; working together in collaboration, realising that there are so many layers of perspectives, which allows us to go deeper. Insights are key and are a very critical part of validating ideas.

RG – Did you learn anything new about yourself whilst attending the courses?
TVZ – I learnt that this methodology really excites me and that I truly believe this is my passion and my way in helping others. It’s made me hungry to learn more. Working with different types of people can be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

RG – Are you currently working on a project using Design Thinking methodologies?
TVZ – We are currently using this within our brand discovery workshops. We are also in the early stage with a client, before we determine the sale tool solution for them. They came to us asking for a powerpoint presentation to help them in the sales process – which is an exciting thing, for me, as I know this may not be what they need! I have already presented to local businesses within the South West Sydney area about my passion for Human Centred Design. I’m very excited that my team and I at Tamlyn Creative are able to embrace this within our business to help others innovate to grow their brand.

RG – What pearls of wisdom would you share with someone who is starting their innovation journey through Design Thinking?
TVZ – You have to go and do the course! Be in the moment and embrace those three days with a clear mindset. This mindset will certainly change the way you approach anything!

RG – Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TVZ – The Echos Team is very knowledgeable; I highly recommend taking time out to learn new skills that will completely change your mindset.

RG – Thank you, Tamlyn!

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Rani Ghazzaoui Luke

Rani is a writer and actor based in Sydney, Australia. She is Echos Content Strategist and the Editor In Chief for the Echos Weekly Newsletter.

Prior to joining Echos, she worked in full-service advertising agencies as a copywriter, moved onto writing for Broadcast Media and landed on Digital Media, working first as a Digital Producer and later as a Digital Account Manager. Most recently, she was Lead Client Solutions Manager for GumGum Inc, an ad tech company specialised in Artificial Intelligence.

Rani is a highly curious individual that believes creativity and innovation are the most important tools to propel any person or business forward.

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