Devon is our Chief Operating Officer. Since the inception of Design Farm Collective, Devon has been supporting our growing team of designers to produce incredible work for our clients. She has a passion for identifying and crafting new opportunities for growth, by taking big ideas and turning them into complex products and services.
When asked what her superpower is, her answer is ” turn the unhindered ‘Design Thinking’ in Design Doing, by working to help businesses build, support and commercialise new products and services.” In fact, she published an article explaining how “Design Thinking” is commonly misunderstood.
Now more with our conversation with Devon.
- What do you do at Design Farm Collective? What does it involve?
DA: I’m the COO at Design Farm, so my job is to make sure our teams of designers have the support, tools and context to succeed.
- How long have been in Design? What attracts you to Design?
DA: I don’t really see myself as being in the business of Design – I’m in the business of solving problems. I’ve been in the business of solving problems for my entire professional career. A really juicy, complex, multifaceted problem that needs solving is what gets me out of bed in the morning.
- What topics/ areas in Design are you most passionate about?
DA: I am passionate about Business Design, the practice of developing and testing new business and operating models. In a world where many industries are facing some kind of disruption and disintermediation, I believe Business Design is going to be the key skill that allows some organisations to thrive on changes in technology and customer expectations.
- What is the most interesting project that you worked on here at Design Farm? And why?
DA: My favourite project was the work we did designing a scanning application for a major logistics firm. This project had all the normal challenges of any digital product design effort – consistency, user experience, rich functionality. However, the reason why I enjoyed this so much is because this digital product wasn’t simply digitising an existing process – it fundamentally changing the rules for how this client can operate. It created interoperability between fleets and business units, and democratised access so that full time employees, contractors on volunteers could perform a role in a consistent fashion. To me, this is a great example of what happens when product and business design converge.
“Wine that isn’t red is a waste of time”
- What are some of the biggest misconceptions you have come across about Design/ Innovation/ Growth/ Transformation?
DA: I think there is a fairly ingrained misconception that innovation is about having great ideas. This is only one piece of a much larger and more difficult puzzle. Executing innovation is about being able to systematically improve ideas, support failure, create partnerships, and work iteratively.
- What do organisations usually get wrong about Innovation/ Design/ Transformation/ Growth?
DA: I think organisations tend to get too attached to a single process or innovation approach, when the reality is a successful innovation or transformation portfolio needs to balance lots of different objectives, and many ways to achieve those objectives.
- What are you most excited about the future or the industry?
DA: I am excited about the trend across many industries to open up their customer and operational data so that 3rd parties can create value added services. We’ve seen this in industries like Financial Services, where it is mandated by regulators, but we’re also seeing it being done voluntarily in other industries. I am excited to see how start-ups and new products can help turn the services we have been receiving over the past 100 years into something completely different.
- What is your favourite book? Design and non-design.
DA: My favourite non-fiction I’ve read recently is the Innovator’s Dilemma. My favourite non-fiction is impossible to pick! I churn through science fiction and fantasy.
- What is your spirit animal? And why?
DA: Probably an Owl, because I like to read and learn constantly. Though, now that I’ve said that, I suppose that’s only a trait for animated owls….
- What’s something people wouldn’t normally know about you?
DA: I would say that people wouldn’t know that I’m a massive nerd when it comes to all things science fiction, but in complete honesty – a significant portion of my personal network do know that about me. The world’s worst kept secret!
This is part of our Collective Series in Meet the Team. Every 2 weeks, we will share the story of our team members, of their learning and experience in Design, and what is it like working at Design Farm Collective.