If you need a guide, you should choose someone who has been there before.
“We successfully transformed ourselves,” says Gian Casanova, Managing Director of Futurice GmbH. “Our company changed, so we understand how to help our clients do the same.”
Futurice is a digital agency which focuses on digital service ecosystems, disruptions and culture. They describe their purpose as understanding people’s behavior in order to redefine the way humans and technology interact. Futurice gives advice, builds software and co-creates with customers.
“When we were founded in Finland in 2000 we focused on consumer applications,” Casanova says. “Our expansion over time led to growing pains. We realized we needed to change our culture.”
Businesses used to focus on incremental product improvement or making their organization more efficient. Today this is not enough because the economy is much more unstable and fast-moving.
“You have to think of what your business model will be in five years when your customers might be entirely different,” Casanova continues. “In traditional corporate structures those changes are not easy, but in startups change comes naturally. Therefore, the first step is to create a culture which supports transformation, so we re-adopted the startup philosophy.”
The evolution worked so well other companies began approaching them. How did you do it, and how can we do it as well?
“The key is transforming company culture,” explains Casanova. “We believe in empowering people to be innovative and creative. We do this through transparency, openness, trust and continuous improvement.”
Now Futurice has helped both small and large German companies in a variety of industries, from consumer products to automobiles, from banks to energy companies.
Casanova cites a number of examples: an insurer who needed to build a mobile digital solution, a car manufacturer which wanted innovative design thinking, and an electric utility which transitioned to become a digital energy solutions provider.
One way they help clients is the Lean Service Creation methodology, which blends three principals from the startup world: design thinking, agile development and lean startup mentality. By these methods, which have a strong user-centric approach, their customers transform their organizations in order to achieve concrete goals.
“We live in exciting times,” he says. “Advances in technology are fundamentally changing how we work and live. We see Futurice as a change agent, able to guide our customers to success in the digital age.”
Text: David J. Cord