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The top 10 reasons

to choose a full-service design consultancy
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Jaime Biencinto

Senior Qualitative Researcher
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The top 10 reasons to choose a full-service design consultancy


The design sector has undergone a deep transformation in a short amount of time. Just a few decades ago, design was nothing more than a discipline with a token presence in some pioneering organizations. In just a few years, the scenario has been completely transformed. Design occupies an increasingly pivotal position in organizations: the business strategy of leading companies relies on the principles of strategic design, and design consultancies face evermore ambitious projects that require sophisticated, innovative solutions, consequently creating a growing need for consultancies with a "full-service" approach.


What is a full-service design consultancy?


A full-service design consultancy combines an end-to-end design approach (from strategy development to implementation) with the ability to execute across the physical (industrial design, space), experiential (service design), and digital. It is this integrated approach and expertise that allows client organisations to achieve their most complex and ambitious goals.


What specific benefits does a full-service design consultancy provide?



  1. They offer a full range of solutions across the customer experience
    Full service design consultancies offer their clients a complete set of solutions including, for example, business transformation, industrial design, the conceptualization of spaces, the development of new services, and so on, representing a greater range of solutions than a specialized design agency can offer.

  2. They reduce time to market
    Full-service consultancies are adaptable and efficient; they streamline projects because all objectives are managed under the same umbrella and, generally, under one project manager. Also, full-service consultancies usually have diverse teams—composed of designers, engineers, management consultants, marketing specialists, sociologists, strategy experts and architects—meaning that all the required expertise to successfully execute projects is under one roof, working in an efficient team structure.

  3. Innovation is part of their DNA
    In full-service consultancies, no two projects are ever the same, due to their range and complexity. This means that teams are comfortable with uncertainty and highly motivated by new challenges, which are two prerequisites for innovation.

  4. Communication and coordination are made simpler
    Specialized agencies usually cannot take on medium and large projects, thus customers have to resort to multiple companies, which makes communication and the coordination of tasks more complex and slower. Full-service consultancies take on projects of all types and sizes, meaning that they have mastered ways to simplify communication and coordinate tasks.

  5. Challenges are attacked from a systemic perspective
    Full-service design consultancies have teams that are used to approach projects from a systemic perspective rather than focused on specific aspects, as can happen in specialized agencies.

  6. Solutions are coherent and client-oriented
    Full-service consultancies are set up in such a way that the solutions they design are customer-centric while being consistent with the business goals of their clients, as well as being aligned with the client"s brand values.

  7. They generate administrative efficiencies
    Full-service consultancies offer efficiencies related to project costs, since they allow the client to contain expenses associated with the contracting of separate teams for the definition, implementation, and launch of projects.

  8. They can work across departments and markets
    A full-service design agency usually has teams with the experience of managing highly complex projects and are used to working with a wide range of market sectors and different departments within organizations.

  9. They offer solutions that work for the whole business
    Even when a project affects a specific area of the business, the teams of full service design consultancies have the ability to think of other dimensions of the project and to apply a more holistic vision, which in the end generates more value for client organisations.

  10. They enhance the knowledge of their clients
    As the foundation of full-service design consultancies’ work is based on the client’s values, objectives and positioning, this strategic focus implies that any new way of approaching a problem, customer need, or way of working will involve the client internalizing new knowledge and innovative work methods. The co-creation methodology utilised helps clients to cut across silos, make more effective decisions, and train client managers on how to maintain customer-focused innovation in the future.


How does an agency of this type work?


Full-service design consultancies usually rely on service design tools, such as customer journey maps or service blueprints, selecting them based on the specific objectives of each project.


Also, full-service consultancies use new technologies to address the challenges posed by each project. In this sense, the use of 3D printers for prototyping has become popular. It is also common to bet on the creation of technology-focused labs that, for example, contribute to the development of digital solutions or allow the connection of users from different parts of the world to participate in co-creation sessions. Design processes also use technological tools that gather information about the emotions of key agents based on neurosciences, such as the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), eye-tracking devices or facial recognition.


Conclusion


Opting for a full-service design agency translates into greater capabilities that can save a significant amount of resources, save time, obtain greater simplicity in key issues, and a more holistic and deep vision of the client and of the project. Furthermore, choosing a full-service agency means choosing advanced working methodologies with efficient and transferable tools and techniques.

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