Bryan Taylor

Drawn U | Tutoring Design

Have you ever tried to learn a language? I'm pathetic when it comes to learning languages, but for others (like my kids), learning a language is met with little difficulty. Most language classes offered in school tend to be taught with the help of a textbook, despite the fact that most experts agree that the best way to learn a language is through immersion.

Over the past couple of years at Drawn, we've been working with companies who have implemented design thinking systems created by big stalwarts like IBM and IDEO. These are really good systems, and their technicians have a lot of experience facilitating the adoption of such a design thinking philosophy across entire organizations. But because they are so good at scale, they tend to function more like a Spanish textbook than an immersive program.

I've been finding that our work at Drawn has been most effective within these bigger companies when we come in and play the role of tutor. If you've learned textbook Spanish and are suddenly asked to travel to Spain, and then Bolivia, and then Costa Rica, that itinerary can be quite challenging. The cultures and customs and inflections are all different. Over the past 20 years at Drawn, we've spent a lot of time living and working in a lot of different places, so we're adept at making connections and making the design thinking philosophy more accessible to people who come from different backgrounds, who work for different types of companies — within different industries — and who serve different parts of the population.

Over the course of our two decades as an agency, we've mostly worked with startups and smaller regional businesses. We've helped write business plans and reviewed budgets, we have chosen locations for new ventures and negotiated leases, we've named businesses and built their brand identities, we've built digital platforms, we've built services and systems and designed project flows. We've read analytics and suggested adjustments. We've worked internally with boards, C-Suites, HR departments, marketing teams, frontlines, backlines, and even the cleaning staff. And we've worked with companies to create external, customer-facing experiences — digital and analog — that match the way it feels to engage with their brands. We've worked in all of these different departments, across a range of different industries. 

We have become very comfortable with jumping into any department, any product (old or new), any industry — because we've kind of been there and done that and worked really hard to create aligned experiences across all of the above.

The tutor role that we've assumed in these larger companies makes sense. We can be the kind of tutor who consults, ideates, designs, plans, builds, and teaches our entire process — delivering back-end strategy, as well as finished front-end deliverables.

So, as you start to get this new design thinking language down, you may find yourself unsure of how to navigate your various projects in Spain and Bolivia and Costa Rica. If that’s the case, I hope you'll reach out. There’s a good chance that we’ve traveled your route before — and if we haven’t, we’ll find our way together.