Diversification and Design

According to research by AVIVA, more than half of UK small firms are diversifying their business in order to stay afloat.

From the perspective of a design company, what does this mean. Offering additional services to make a unique offering and present an edge over competitors is the first thing which springs to mind. How should we as designers and consultants see our industry evolving and what changes should we make to fit in with the new commercial environment as it changes?

With other companies diversifying, this must surely be helping the design industry. Take for example a a manufacturing company producing widgets for a single market. This company is pushed to innovate and diversify horizontally into other markets, developing new products which require design input. It may alternatively be a company in the service industry diversifying vertically to provide own brand product in order to capitalise on margin by reducing costs downstream. Whichever way you look at it a weaker pound helping UK manufacturing and a desperate need to innovate our way out of a recession does have some positive facets for the design industry.

The report also highlighted that companies are being forced to reduce overheads (which usually translates into cutting jobs) It doesn’t take a huge mental leap to see that if a design department was cut or reduced, it would mean that a consultancy service may benefit by ‘plugging into’ the organisation as and when required. Perhaps this is the way in which we as design consultancies need to evolve – rather than providing a simple design service, we need to present a more holistic and integrated approach with a focus on meshing with the client company in a more interconnected way with the other departments…

Again… Just a thought.

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