Dec 7, 2022
Fresh off of a rebrand and busy planning for 2023, we sat down with Loft founder Gregor Mittersinker to talk about the state of design, and what the new year has in store.
LOFT: You spent half your career as a corporate design leader in enterprises and the other half as a strategic leadership consultant in large creative agencies. How have these experiences helped you lead Loft over the last 10 years?
Gregor Mittersinker: It is important to consider design in context of a larger business value proposition to ensure lasting innovation, something I learned early in my career, which is a tenant of how we work at Loft. While a certain level of autonomy can help envision change, a focus on execution warrants the right set of diverse stakeholders to support your journey to be successful.
Innovation value creation has a pattern. There have to be certain ingredients in place to be successful. As a consultant, you have the ability to work across a range of sectors, with a diverse set of tools, which can benefit your clients tremendously. However, I would always be suspicious of consultants without operational experience. My experience leading and launching products and brands, in addition to being responsible to the P&L of a project has helped me hone my situational leadership skills over the past three decades.
Innovation value creation has a pattern. There have to be certain ingredients in place to be successful.
LOFT: With almost 30 years of professional experience and over 100 patents under your belt, your tenure in the design industry has been long and fruitful. How has the industry and your approach changed over the last 10 years?
GM: The biggest change in the last 10 years - technology and design are uniting. Design and technology don’t live in silos any longer. Business leaders have faced massive digital disruption, because of this every midsize to large company will need to become a technology company in the next 5 to 10 years in order to grow. Design has the ability to make technology more human.
Our client work incorporates a strong multidisciplinary mix of creative services. Concept engineering, industrial design, user experience design, service design, branding, and data science driven design thinking contribute to most projects. We call it ecosystem design - most of our clients are redefining various aspects of their business leveraging technology and design principles.
LOFT: Ongoing post-COVID supply chain issues, high inflation, labor shortages, and tech layoffs are causing unpredictable outlooks for 2023. What has driven growth in the last quarters for some organizations and what is your outlook for the year ahead?
GM: We have seen two strategies in the second half of this year. Some organizations put the brakes on development and are engaging in a wait-and-see approach to new initiatives. Others are spending time retooling their strategy and calibrating business models.
There are also clients who are taking advantage of the situation to accelerate their digital transformation strategies, investing in new ecosystems, and benefitting from a strong labor market as more tech talent has become available. They understand that a bear market can give them permission to take bold steps to capture market share or expand into new markets much easier with less cost.
Historically downturns are short-lived and are followed by many years of prosperity and growth. While your competitor may be cutting back, now is the time to invest in strategic initiatives that will ensure you stay ahead of the competition. While they are on the sidelines, stay in the game.
Dec 7, 2022