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Lao Tsu said if you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Equating autonomy with stability is not only part of ancient wisdom; it is a foundational business strategy for organisations today.

With the unique challenges that the world is facing, the pace of change will not slow down soon. Markets will continue to be volatile; consumer needs and spending will continue to shift, and economic forecasts will be overshadowed by uncertainty. This level of transformation requires organisations to accelerate their approaches to everything from product to leadership development.

Learning how to catch metaphorical fish is even more critical today than ever. If an organisation doesn’t acquire the ability to innovate, change and progress on its own, it will forever be relying on outside expertise. The constant change we are experiencing requires a different approach. One of support, mentorship and guidance so each organisation can lead their projects internally.

Accelerator programs

Accelerator programs set up an organisation for success with a solid design growth and maturity foundation. No matter the desired outcome for the program, the result is a team within an organisation that can take their learnings and apply them to their next project. It instals a new way of working that embraces innovation and produces design-led solutions. This sets up teams and the business for continuous growth and improvement on their journey to sustainable self-management and design autonomy.

Individuals create positive change in their communities, organisations and personal relationships. If given the proper support and tools, each person creates a ripple effect of transformation from their actions. Learning how to fish is the best way forward in a world hungry for solutions to big sticky problems.

Accelerating Autonomy 

To achieve consistent results in the future, think of the actions outlined below as a circular process within each accelerator program.

To accelerate an organisation towards autonomy; we must focus on the following steps:

  • Education and Learning
    • Combining content and theory with action and practice, through learning by doing by pairing the team with design experts in real projects and situations
  • Action and Cocreation
    • Accelerating the teams and individuals development to autonomously continue their journey in the future
  • Mentorship
    • Dedicated mentors to develop and apply the recently acquired knowledge, clear doubts and support the individuals and teams to overcome challenges

Three core focus areas for our accelerator programs

This process can be adapted to achieve many different outcomes. We have identified three core focus areas for our accelerator programs. We understand our clients’ challenges and the solutions they require to remain competitive. And most importantly, move from a reactive to a proactive approach to volatile and shifting markets worldwide.

We focus on acceleratering the following skills that organisations require to remain competitive within changing marketplaces:

  • Design Leadership – Design is the new leadership. It offers a comprehensive and practical approach to innovation and is a pivotal contributor to successful organisations.
  • Design Futures – Instead of predicting the future, we must speculate, design, and help activate desirable strategic futures. This is achieved by combining the best business strategies, futurism, and emerging technologies with the best human-centred design. 
  • Phygital – Using technology to bridge the digital and physical worlds to deliver unique and intuitive interactive experiences for the user.

Design Leadership Accelerators 

Digital transformation and product development are critical for organisations to plan for continued economic relevancy in a changing world. Businesses are increasingly becoming more customer-centric in their product development; the faster they deliver innovative solutions, the quicker they provide business growth.

To accelerate product development it is critical to upskill leadership so they can maintain a collaborative work environment for innovation teams, startups, product squads and organisations. Upskilling leadership teams through training and mentoring provided by innovation experts to help organisations co-create, develop, and launch new products quickly.

A successful design leadership accelerator guides teams through a cyclical routine for product evolution to produce a fully functional and tested digital product. This process is a cycle, once the team learns this development process, they can apply it to the next product they design. Teams can now autonomously engage in a new agile work process for any product development in the future.

Design Leadership Accelerators are ideal for project leads to become better design leaders and for product teams to engage in continuous improvement. The process develops leadership skills, autonomous teams and continuous learning and improvement for product development cycles. 

Desirable Futures Accelerators

The future of many marketplaces, industries and government structures has been questioned and examined in recent years. As the rate of change increases, so does the need to consider the choices that will influence our futures. This is why Desirable Futures Accelerators are essential; our ability to speculate about the future must outpace the speed with which it arrives.

Desirable Future Accelerator programs are not designed to predict the future. They assist leaders and teams to speculate on what opportunities lie ahead and then take steps toward their preferred desirable future.

It is crucial to start by understanding the current issues influencing the business. Exploring the technologies and trends impacting the industry through reports and research is an essential first step. This research is used to produce narratives of possible futures, adhering to the vision of the company, stakeholders, and customers, in storyboards and medium-fidelity digital prototypes such as concept videos or illustrated story content.

Organisations and teams focused on developing an approach to thinking about, speculating, and then choosing their preferred future move into a position of power as they lead the way forward with strategy and clear goals. The teams who experience a Desirable Futures Accelerator will forever be able to think about the future strategically and embed that thinking into projects and strategic planning. The future is built by those who choose to create it.

Phygital Accelerators

Phygital is the concept of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world together and provide unique interactive experiences for the user. As digital aspects of life increasingly become important in the physical world, businesses must understand the most significant pain points when interacting across the two spaces and remove them. 

The intention of using an accelerator in phygital product development is to quickly define the critical integrated digital and physical touchpoints for a business and set them on a course for continuous improvement. The cyclical loop for innovation is influenced by responding to shifting consumer needs and the integration points of physical and digital products.

Echos recently worked with Natura, Brazilian personal care and cosmetics company, to develop a strategy for phygital integration between their retail stores and online shopping experience. The program created a new phygital retail value proposition and new consumer profiles for the future direction of their retail stores. Natura achieved a vision for its phygital future, a strategy to implement the integrated touch points and a process to continuously accelerate towards its business goals.

Want To Accelerate?

Change is inevitable, but with a strategic approach, it can become a series of choices rather than reactions. Understanding how to approach design leadership, design futures, and phygital development as a system of accelerated change creates new opportunities.

Reach out to understand how our accelerators provide the launch towards autonomy and clarity for the road ahead.

 

Flávia Gonçalves

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