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5 Key Lessons in Design: How to shape a business for growth

Founder Rob Grey shares the five fundamentals that have helped Rocketfuel stay relevant in the design industry for two decades.
For Rob and the team, the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity. “The lessons I’ve learnt have come from not having things handed to me on a plate,” says Rob. With this problem-solving, pioneering spirit, South Africa’s test-bed climate has been the ideal context to hone these business lessons.


1. Flip the script

“Most businesses follow the design ideology of Inside/Out. In other words, from Home Base to the Marketplace. I recommend the Outside/In direction, which best serves the monetization of innovation. The benefit of this approach is that it becomes quicker, cheaper and easier to make an informed decision as to whether to invest in the idea or not.”


2. Get a head chef

“As the saying goes, ‘too many cooks…’. When there are too many leaders and too many egos circling a product or business, the intent is lost. To focus purely on money without the balance of purpose – to develop the best product or service – can be a major contributor to unsuccessful ventures.”


3. Good design always wins

“Every project or product has a completely different set of requirements or objectives, so each needs an entirely new design. And that’s where it all starts: The brand should support the product. The design needs to be the best it can be before a brand is built around it.”


4. Study human interaction

“As tech and the digital space gains exponential speed, the physical-contact divide is growing. Design needs to stimulate all five senses to address the humanity of the individual. By combining the digital with the physical, in-built market longevity is assured.”


5. Understand the Now and the Future

“Customers’ needs change rapidly and with them so does the market. To focus only on the present or the future is to miss out on the opportunity to be relevant in either situation. By acknowledging current industry trends and influences, as well as where the future might lead, products or ideas will be future-proofed.”

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