Extreme sports, religion and the secret to better agency-client relationships: an exploration
Hi, I’m Judit. I have a black belt in karate, though I haven’t trained properly in almost 10 years (ouch, that hurt, even just to write it down). I have a two-year-old who is really into frogs, balls, and motorcycles (though that might change by tomorrow). I enjoy discussing religion though I’m not religious. I like skiing, snowboarding, diving and had a short stint with paragliding I will once continue, probably after finishing my Industry Research Project (or IRP — it’s like a thesis, but Hyper Island has a fancy name for everything).
Oh, that thing? Well, my IRP is the reason I’m writing this post, but, you see, one of the things I learned through my research is that before you talk business, it’s great to connect over an unrelated topic you are both passionate about. So, take your pick: martial arts, kids, religion or extreme sports? Let’s bond! Ah, OK, I guess it doesn’t work the same way through a blog post.
You also have to design for context. Because, as I have so gracefully transitioned into the topic, my IRP is connected to design. Experience design, to be precise.
I’m looking into the topic of designing for better client-agency relationships, especially at the beginning of such a relationship, with a new project.
What kind of clients and agencies? What projects?
I focus on projects that work with Design Thinking / Service Design / Experience design, because that’s the area I am working in, and I believe these projects are more complex, and as a relatively newly wide-spread discipline, often entail an imbalance of knowledge between the two sides, making the quality of the relationship between the two parties even more important for success.
Why ‘better relationships?’
Because I believe that the methodologies of Experience Design and connected fields, when used well, do lead to better designed products and services. A better world, if you will. But as we see time and again, the biggest barrier to innovation is not the lack of ‘innovative’ ideas. It’s implementation. And I believe much of the barriers to implementation rides on relationships. Either a misunderstanding, or even disregard of what is feasible for the client, a lack of information provided to the agency, or just the lack of belief in the joined team’s work. Different problems, but all come down to relationships.
How might we design for better relationships?
This is not a topic people often reflect about, at least in business realms. It is often said that good relationships are either organic or they aren’t.
It’s happening or it isn’t. It can’t be forced. I agree it cannot be forced.
But can it be designed for?
The plan is that I’m partly going to document my findings and process here on Medium, in a series of short posts. Partly to make myself accountable, partly to share and spread good karma (Can you spread karma? Is it like margarine, or more like butter?), and partly hoping to start a conversation, get new ideas / interviews / articles / feedback from the community. I have already started, made a series of interviews with both clients and agencies, and for analogous inspiration interviewed a couple’s therapist and a sales person in a high-end speciality wine shop. In the next post (very soon) I will write about some of my findings here. And when that happens I will also put a link here;)
…aaand, here it is, Part 1
Cheers, and feel free to start a discussion, cheer me on, or say anything random that comes to your mind.