Why design can't work without strategy
“We have strategists who need to be able to think and act like designers, and designers who need to think and act like strategists”
“Time and complexity are the two dimensions you need to resolve the same equation when you’re working with the a client,” says Guido Woska, global managing partner of Manyone’s Germany, London, Barcelona, Zurich and Oslo offices. Manyone is a fully independent strategic design studio guided, Woska explains, “by the purpose of the projects we work on” – projects which have encompassed everything from mobile banks to cybersecurity. Founded in 2019 by David Fellah, Lasse Jensby Dahl and Søren L Poulsen, Manyone, now 350 people strong and with 40 studios worldwide, is made up of 40 per cent strategists and 60 per cent designers.
Manyone’s USP is in intertwining both strategy and design. “We have strategists who need to be able to think and act like designers, and designers who need to think and act like strategists,” says Woska. “Where are you going if you don't understand how you will get there and what it will look like?” To help the synergy between the two quite different skills of strategy and design, and to enhance creativity, they formed the Worldview Design Principle – a processes that helps teams to work together with clarity, speed and conviction.
There’s fluidity to Manyone’s ethos. “We deliver with a team of teams model,” explains Charles Drury, strategic design director of the London studio, working within a structure wherein teams work like a constellation towards a common goal. “We are freed from the past. That means we can work ‘always on’ with other offices.” Trust and enablement are core values for Manyone: “Even though designers and strategists do not always speak the same language,” Drury says, “at Manyone they trust each other and how they approach projects.”
Just as global brands are constantly evolving, Manyone is also doing so, and this includes having its own platform. “Exchange and discussion are super important,” Woska explains of why they’re participating in London Design Festival. “Sharing best practices is key, we cannot expect to learn if we don't talk about our individual stories.”