There’s nothing unique about trying to be unique.


We’re used to business models that drop people into positions that value them for their specialities: buyers, marketers, finance managers, HR, supply chain, technical services. The less glamorous but essential services like janitorial, landscaping and maintenance are also occupied by people that tended not to move around the organisation.

After Lean Manufacturing showed us how kanbans and kaizen could help reduce operational costs, we needed to get more creative. So companies began to outsource. Outsourced HR, outsourced facilities management, outsourced finance departments. The investment that employers had made in the resource – their people – was largely lost, but they were lean.

‘Efficient’ is now standard and cost gains are harder to make. Creativity, differentiation and consumer value are under the spotlight, but the people needed to deliver something new don’t need the safety net of an organisation anymore. We became self-sufficient and decided that we’d work on our terms, not the companies’.

Millennials were born into this environment as it developed and Gen Z is native to it. We won’t be going back, so how should you recruit for creative change?

Design your vision of the future, create your roadmap and plan your resource according to your need.

Look around you. This is the first time in history when you can see five (yes, five) generations in the same workplace. It’s extraordinary. Lives are longer, stress levels are differently managed and employers’ expectations must adapt. People entering the workplace now could be looking at an 80-year career. Most Baby Boomers are in their 60s now, and they may be working for another 20 years. Why would we give that value to a single employer? Security? Employers already shot that foot clean off.

Ask a millennial if they can see themselves working for a single company for their whole career and you’ll get a short answer.

Time in salaried/waged employment is hurtling downwards from two years. This isn’t even long enough for a graduate to complete their three-year fast track development programme. Contractors, freelancers, part-timers, people working in the gig economy – this is the new norm. But we hear of SMEs sending jobs off to fivrr and thinking they’ve scored a win over the old ways of sourcing. Do this too often and you’ll find you really do get what you pay for.

If you can adapt your mind-set to see the benefits of a working practice that takes advantage of more skill flexibility than you’ve ever seen before, and can develop core relationships to be exploited as you need to, things look good. Needless to say, this will include working on your strategy.

Design thinkers are, by their nature, keen to get into new ideas. We are used to talking about future trends and making connections where none are obvious. We do this because we want to contribute to serious and significant change, and to achieve this, we need to stay ahead of the market too. We know that strategy needs constant updating and we know that, ironically, there’s nothing unique about trying to be unique.

Your business needs a new idea. Maybe not now, but it will. When it does, give us a call.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.