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Do You Know What Efficiency Really Looks Like?

Recently, some of my advisory engagements have transitioned into design gigs. Coming back full circle from the client side back to the service side, I couldn’t help but notice the inefficiencies of how design gigs work...or rather the way they’ve always worked, but I'd failed to notice because I too was selling the kool aid I was drinking back in the day.

For example, why do we need multiple design options to arrive at a solution when we’ve not yet fully understood what problem for the customer we're really solving?

Being involved with startups, I already know that agile, iterative prototyping is far superior to linear "button down" methodologies. I’ve also noticed that most established companies spend more energy on “looking” efficient, than actually being efficient. The “meetings about meetings” are the obvious signs, but lately I also notice things like expensive research reports vs. just experiencing what it’s like to be your own customer.

Design, marketing and IT shops seem to spend a lot of energy on looking like they know what they’re talking about and you don’t. Unfortunately, a large percentage of service businesses feel they need to operate this way to keep their business model of playing to your insecurities or resource constraints. People who seem smarter and bigger than you seem to buy into it, so why shouldn’t you?

If you’ve built a successful business from scratch, or been around people who have, you should already know it. Efficient people and processes are far too busy being efficient to spend energy to look that way. That should be your first clue.

These two parody sites do a great job at exposing the BS. Can you?

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