Rules - they are everywhere. There are those unwritten rules of our daily lives, such as; you should never swipe left when someone shows you a picture on their phone; when the host starts cleaning up at a party it’s time to go home; never be rude to the person serving you food. And there are the ones that have formed in the subconscious by just doing it that way for such a long time.
Some of these rules may make life run more smoothly. But sometimes, the ones we think are helping us are actually getting in our way. The old sayings of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and “this is the way we have always done it” are not the words you would envisage coming from the minds of the people or teams that have created some of the most groundbreaking changes in business.
Our speciality is developing game-changing solutions for existing businesses or bringing brand new ideas to life with start-ups. Most importantly we do this collaboratively, working with domain experts and end customers; we describe this as ‘Co-creation’. We have found enforcing ‘our’ rules in these scenarios does not produce the best outcomes.
Co-creation can truly only happen when our preconceived or unwritten rules are left at the door. Without the rules we can explore solutions to a much deeper degree, using applied science to come up with divergent ideas and capture the scope of a project.
When we say no rules we don’t mean anything and everything goes - that may be a little bit too far and I for one may just go right off the reservation. What we do mean is that there are no pre-prescribed processes, tools, approaches or technologies.
Co-creation works at its best when it is driven by all parties: customers / end-users, clients and specialists. Not having these rules means there are no barriers to entry and everyone can be involved. This involvement encourages employee and user engagement, allows for shared learning and means that value is generated by everyone, including your customers.
Of course, we do have a toolbox - this is ever-expanding and changing as we discover new and different ways to do things.
We have to live with reality, and in many cases, there are restrictions within a project. These may be budget, time, technical, legal or even a combination of all of them. To navigate these we have to be creative with how we approach them as a team. Having few or no rules, we are able to be far more creative, resulting in some great solutions. And we have also found that no rules often get results much faster because we are not locked into a process.
So next time you show me a picture on your phone, I’m probably going to swipe left - we just might find something inspiring!