This Brand will Self Disrupt in 5 Seconds

Hugh Evans

Building any business to succeed is challenging. You start with a defining vision and an endearing passion for your idea that you work tirelessly to bring to life. If you are lucky, as we have been at Enterprise Architects, you will not only build a successful, scalable business that harbours a reputation of trust and knowledge leadership, but have the opportunity to take it to the world.

The Enterprise Architects consulting team has joined our US and European arm to become FromHereOn, a global business design and architecture consultancy. So why change your successful consulting brand 14 years in? Good question - it’s a big call.

In a nutshell, it’s the result of 5 years of experimentation. Combining human centred design with business and technology architecture to drive large scale business renewal in service of customer and employee experience. We have evolved our core purpose, brand, business model, service portfolio and operating model through a series of innovative projects. This has culminated in an expanded service offering to generate our clients’ experience strategy from the highest level of purpose, brand and business model through services, operations and project execution. This will continue to build upon our well-known capability to drive technology transformation using business and technology architecture, forged under our Australian brand Enterprise Architects*

The name FromHereOn is a deliberate statement of our evolution in mindset. It’s an evocative brand that we believe captures the spirit of the new world in front of us as we witness a shift in western culture from materialism to experience, from self-interest to global interest and from unconscious actions to mindfulness.

Here are some of our beliefs…

Self-interest alone does not drive sustainable value

While the free market has been built upon Adam Smith’s ideas of self-interest and competition we believe self-interest without a conscious effort to balance external impacts drives overproduction and ultimately undermines our long-term global interests. In his book, ‘Betterness’ Umair Haik calls upon the world to reimagine value beyond profit and self-interest. Like a growing number of conscious humans, we believe value in business is about people, and the planet - as well as profit. We need to think of social interests, and environmental interests in addition to financial interests when considering the net impact of the choices we make.

Things are getting a little wild out there; and it’s hard to find a stable platform

The black swan event of Trump’s presidency, the unexpected Brexit, the rapid rise and fall of billion dollar companies and the economic and environmental turmoil we’ve seen in recent years provides a backdrop to the increasing turbulence we are seeing for many in the business world. As digital disruption enables consumer choice and mobility, it’s increasingly difficult to hold onto customers. Communication channels have exploded in number, requiring a complete rethink of how to build awareness and brands. Despite the challenging conditions opportunities abound for those with the right vision and execution.

Static business models have a shrinking shelf life

In an environment of increasing flux we need to be our own devil’s advocate and constantly question and reimagine alternatives to business as usual. We need to build our own disruptors and be prepared to pivot and implement radical change.

Business transformation is now business as usual

The mindset of agility and experimentation in a turbulent market requires a different approach to business change. It’s no longer viable to drive large scale, capital intensive technology programs with a definitive target state five years into the future. Too often those businesses are creating a target state in five years that will be five years out of date when they arrive. We need to find the right balance between strategic planning and lean/agile development to spin up innovative services and still maintain our hands on the controls of capital and return on investment.

People can achieve amazing things when they are truly inspired

Daniel Pink made popular the three elements of motivation for employees - Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. We have added creativity, play and self-actualisation. Being a people business, we are completely focused on the challenge of balancing the needs of the business and clients with the needs of our people as individuals. We are excited by the possibilities of what we can do together when we all get aligned and are inspired to act in service of things we care about.

Empowerment is a product of good design and clarity of intention

One of the tough challenges in business is to help everyone understand the intention of the business - i.e. what a good decision looks like. In most organisations the agenda is opaque and it changes from level to level and division to division, leaving people to interpret whatever they can as being in the best interests of the organisation. We believe in radical openness. Sharing our core strategy universally and providing regular information about the challenges and successes we experience. 

Good design is good business

Designers are inherently optimistic. We believe we can create a better world by using design practice to reimagine the possibilities. Design-led organisations like Disney, Netflix and Apple consistently perform at the head of the market and design thinking is permeating many organisations as a practice to unlock innovation and solve intractable problems.

Data is the new oil

As Clive Humby foreshadowed in 2006, data has become the new oil. It’s fast becoming the competitive advantage of nations, corporations and individuals with either positive or nefarious intentions. Our ability to access, process and analyse data is a necessary complement to human-centred design, essentially reflecting the long held scientific practice of applying qualitative and quantitative research to reach balanced findings - but now it’s on steroids.

Traditional management consulting is broken

You’ll notice an accelerating trend of the big global consultancies growing through acquisition of niche firms. Traditionally their value proposition has been “we attract and hire the best people so we can solve any problem”. However, clients have shifted their buying behaviour towards niche specialists who show in-depth expertise in specific areas. In response, the big firms buy design firms, industry specialists, software companies, etc. to stay relevant and keep pace with the market. This makes sense to stay current, but often the result is fractured culture and impenetrable silos that fail to collaborate between departments and between markets, despite operating under the same brand. 

These firms are inherently designed to mine value from their clients with performance models driving self-interested behaviour. The counterpoint to this is establishing a true purpose and operating model that is wholly aligned to generating client value and global impact. They need to become purpose driven - and I mean authentically purpose driven… not a marketing campaign. 

The future leaders in business will prove the quality of their intentions through the ethos and culture they create in their teams and how well they deliver on their stated reason for existence. This is the new frontier of competitive advantage and also happens to be the movement that may just save our planet from ourselves. 

If you share these beliefs or have a different point of view, we’d love to hear from you. We’re excited to be part of the global movement of positively focused organisations, and we invite you to join us on our journey. 

*Enterprise Architects training and recruitment arms continue to trade under the Enterprise Architects brand as EA Learning and EA People respectively. For all three teams this a great moment that demonstrates just how far we’ve come and offers an opportunity for each business to develop in its own unique way.