Map is a London-based creative consultancy borne out of industrial design beginnings. It touts itself as having a “strategy-based” approach to its projects. The firm was recently highlighted in a Co.Design article where much was shared about their design processes. While a few ideas caught my attention, including their practice of designer-led research, this section of the article is particularly intriguing:
“It’s not just coming up with creative ideas and innovative ideas but being able to explain why those are the right ideas for our clients,” Marshall says. To that end, Map works incredibly closely with its clients throughout the entire process.
Map doesn’t operate in the typical client-agency model of spending weeks holed up with no communication, then making a splashy presentation a la Mad Men. Rather, it hosts workshops, asks its clients to come to the studio, and often goes to the client’s office (if its a big brand). Map frequently works with in-house design teams and other designers, which Marshall says can lead to some friction since so many people are involved.
During the ideation phase, it’s about getting many ideas flowing then navigating through them to find clarity and make decisions. “By doing that not only do we create really great work, out clients feel as much ownership over it as we do,” Marshall says. “We also don’t have to ‘impress’ our clients with big time-consuming presentations about how good our ideas are because they’re also their ideas.”
How A Philosophy Of “Informed Creativity” Drives Design At Map
Diana Budds, Co.Design, August 21, 2015
From my personal experiences, I’ve seen enterprise software end-users during usability and prototype tests noticeably come alive not only with interest and appreciation, but ideas. Despite the fact that I haven’t engaged clients to the level that this article describes Map as doing, I believe that co-creating with clients makes so much sense.
I can imagine that these sessions make the agency/vendor more enlightened to root problems and therefore more equipped to create. This looks to be yet another reason why there’s great benefit to engaging clients early in the processes of problem-solving.