[Podcast] Addicted to Fee-for-Services?

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PowellDouglas_ResizedHeadshot_HOWDesignLive_2016HDL-316x400In the latest HOWLive podcast/interview, Doug Powell, past national president of AIGA, defines the client service business model as:

a fairly flat and one-dimensional approach that is largely dependent on revenue from client fees.”

There is one way to grow your business on that model and that is to get more clients who can pay you more. But you are still locked into that model and there are very few ways to get out of that once you get into it, unless you see the opportunity for being… truly entrepreneurial.

Hmmm, truly entrepreneurial – what’s that?

As designers, we are naturally creative and naturally entrepreneurial; we see the problems in the world and we have ideas for fixing them and many of those ideas can be turned into products or businesses that can be revenue generating.

But doesn’t that take time and money?

I really see an opportunity for designers to rethink their business model, to dedicate some of the resources for new business activity – to say, “Hey I’m going to take half or a third of my new business budget for 2016 and dedicate it to developing and launching a new product idea.”

It’s going to take months, if not a year or more, but that’s reasonable risk. And if it hits, then essentially we’ve invented or created our own new client rather than going out and finding one.

That changes the whole dynamic of the design business; it changes us from executing somebody else’s ideas or strategy to executing our own ideas and our own strategies. It puts designers in a much more powerful space.

And if you think ahead on this then you can see that, we’d start to get more and more design-driven businesses, which of course, that’s the future world that I want to live in and I want to work in.

So what do you see as the business model of the future?

A design business of the future will have a combination of traditional client service revenue and revenue that is generated from product or business ventures that are launched from the design business.

Listen to the entire conversation, in which Doug Powell also shares ideas about the new opportunities he sees for designers in the healthcare world, which is vast and only growing. (Or you can read more of the transcript on the HOW Design Blog.)

And don’t miss Doug’s session at HOW Design Live in Atlanta this week, Design at Scale, in which he’ll discuss how the role of the designer is changing in technology, business and society.

And if you can’t make it to Atlanta, you can watch the live stream of the keynote sessions on Sunday and Monday (May 22-23) via CreativeLive – RSVP NOW to watch Stefan Sagmeister, Debbie Millman, Chip Kidd, Veronica Scott, Marc Ecko and Julie Anixter here.



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