The underexposed step of collaboration
A while ago, we did a Discovery session at a holiday park. In recent years, we have had the opportunity to renew and change quite a few holiday parks in terms of strategy, design and technology. A piece of cake, you would think. Repeat elements that work well. Optimise things and move on. And that is where it often goes wrong. Of course experience is useful. But you don't make the difference by copying. With each new project, we therefore make a new diagnosis before we prescribe anything. Just like a doctor.
Diagnosis instead of pitching
In the creative field, it is generally considered normal to prescribe solutions without a real diagnosis. The pitch is a common tool that ensures that solutions are worked on without a diagnosis. This is exactly why we do not pitch. Never. What do we do instead of the pitch? Have a real conversation with you.
Often, there is a set of requirements. And usually, the challenge has been self-diagnosed. Often, the solutions have even been thought up. It may be that what you’ve come up with is correct, but let’s investigate it first to be really sure. It often happens that the self-diagnosis and the invented solutions are not the best. This is because self-diagnosis is almost impossible to do. Would you go to the doctor on the basis of a pain in your stomach and tell him where and how you want to be operated on? Or even crazier, what if the doctor agreed blindly? Sounds very crazy, right? Yet, in the creative world, this is still very common. Unfortunately.
An advantage of working with us as ‘outsiders’ is that we can look at your challenge from a different perspective. A characteristic of our creativity is the ability to look at the challenge in a different way. In doing so, we see solutions that others do not. But for this process we need time and space to make the right diagnosis. We owe it to ourselves and to you to stick to this basic principle and never agree to work on creative solutions to a problem that we have not yet fully investigated. Only in this way can we make a real impact and create a difference.
We too have had collaborations that did not turn out as well as we had hoped. But let's face it, who hasn’t? When we think back on these processes, it almost always had to do with not understanding the real underlying problem well enough. In such collaborations, we relied too much on the client’s self-diagnosis or their own solutions. We have done too much what we were told. As a result, we have acted more as a partner or implementer, rather than an expert. An entirely different value. An interchangeable function.
So for us it is clear. We always diagnose before we prescribe a solution. We stick firmly to this. We therefore have four clear steps for good collaboration:
- Make a diagnosis
- Give advice
- Apply the advice
- Adapt and improve the advice
How exactly we go through these steps is different for each project, but we never skip a step. We always notice that when we deviate from our process, that is where the problems and cracks emerge. By not deviating from our process, we retain control over the project’s outcome and can guarantee a good end result that really makes a difference.