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How to meet the growing demand for design talent

~ by Alan W


As the creative economy continues to make headway, we find creative skills equally rising in demand. Specialized expertise in the creative domain is confronted with great opportunity for our creative businesses but when we cannot fulfill this demand we see opportunity pass before our eyes. We have to look at creative problem solves for the scarcity of skills and talent. It is our responsibility because it is also our opportunity for the taking. If we get it right, our business will thrive.


Our approach must make commercial sense, we are not in the business of upskilling for free, this must also offer strategic value to your business. When your solution upskills the industry and talent while also having benefit to your business bottom line, we reach a meaningful mechanism for all.


An advisory infused model is one that does this. With Service Design being a good example of high demand low supply, we will use this in our example of how the advisory infused model works:


1. A skilled and experienced Service Design Advisor (SDA) is employed on a project accompanied by a less skilled Service Designer (SD).


2. The role of the SD Advisor:

  • unpack project challenges upfront and routes to resolve

  • strategic advice and input applying big picture thinking to solutions

  • craft structures & ways of work for an elevated client-designer engagement

  • mentor & upskill designers while on the job so they can grow into sr role

  • oversee, assist, assess premium delivery from the designer

3. Your client therefore gets the best expertise on their project while at the same time you are upskilling the SD, growing and grooming them to resume full SD ownership over time.


4. The SD Advisor typically starts at a higher capacity which tails off over time as the less experienced SD grows into the role. It works something like this:

So no, you do not have to pull a rabbit out of a hat, there are creative solutions to the shortage of creative experts such as Service Designers and you can offer this mechanism of growth to your clients to help build their teams. Consider the advisory model when in short supply, it offers an effective and efficient way to grow talent with little investment as it plays out while doing client work.


Work with Alan W


“Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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