After almost three decades in business, D+I (formerly known as Design + Industry) had positioned itself as Australia’s most accomplished design consultancy. With a highly skilled, award-winning team made up of only designers, the company was brimming with big ideas and it became clear the business needed to transform and expand in order to reach its potential.
Meeting the needs of its international client base, providing the right environment for its designers to launch revolutionary products, as well as ensuring the company’s ability to continuously rise to new challenges has required Murray Hunter, Founder and Chairman of D+I, to step away from his impressive training and career as a designer and lead the business through a period of reinvention and growth.
Here, Murray shares his thoughts on how D+I has shed its skin to assert itself as a global player in design and build upon a strong history of taking exceptional products to market.
The art of recruitment
For a company that only hires designers, it’s obvious that not just any designer will do. The team looks for skills that cannot be taught; people with original ideas and a natural inclination towards collaboration.
“We choose people who are like us. With designers, you have those who are very self-orientated or those who are more group orientated and we choose the group-oriented people because we work as a team,” says Murray. “Our culture is very ‘we’ based and our people must fit with that culture. It’s been surprising, we have had partnerships all around the world and they choose us because they like our culture.”
No challenge too great
“What we’ve got is a massive collection of expertise. Sometimes people say they’d prefer a small manned group as opposed to our larger group because they think they’re getting more personalised attention, but a small group can’t handle multiple projects coming in the way we can, plus at any one time we can assemble the expertise we need to crack problems. In my design group, the output from a brainstorm session is just phenomenal,” says Murray.
Lessons learned about partnerships
Going back 27 years, when we were really young, our relationships with suppliers let us down and affected our reputation. As soon as we had great output from our suppliers, we grew. We learned at a very early age to develop very good networks of previous suppliers, to work with those suppliers to ensure the best outcomes, best quality, lead times, and cost. At the end of the day, our clients pay for it and it is the basis around which we operate, so we went after the world’s best,” Murray says.
Transparency of design and production process
Murray says that to pull away from other industrial design groups and increase sales through its process of reinvention, showing clients how D+I is different has been all-important.
“The process was driven by differentiation. To support that, we stepped up and created a whole lot of different presentations which dealt with the different aspects of what we are and who we are. That worked in competing for business in Australia, but more specifically overseas. So when we created a new website and we expanded our story on the website — there are 55 case histories on the site — it shows anyone interested in us the extent of what we can offer.”