What kind of company are you?
That's a question a lot of people ask me and one that I always find a little bit tricky to answer with an air of complete confidence. There are good reasons for this. Futurice is growing rapidly and continuously developing our offer. To be honest we are not there yet. (not sure you ever are in this business) Futurice is in a very exciting transitional phase and this is one of the reasons I love working here. I like to build things.
Take the metaphor of a 16 year old teenager, same age as Futurice. Can you remember how you felt? I know for sure that I was kinda awkward, a bit not sure of myself, always feeling that I didn't fit well in my clothes and self conscious of how others saw me. The words that came out of my mouth never seemed to hit the desired target, especially when it came to chatting up girls:-) For sure I had not developed the confidence I have now as a middle aged man and I think it's the same for companies too, it takes time to reach maturity and gain that air of self awareness and confidence. Even more challenging when the business and digital environment is shifting fast before your very eyes.
From the inside, it's always interesting to wonder how others perceive Futurice and whether the external perception aligns with the internal perception? Usually these two are out of sync and it's a constant battle to keep it up to date and help our clients and the industry understand what we do and where we deliver value.
When you do achieve that nirvana however, there's not much that can hold you back and when the planets align you can clearly see the impact in the happiness of our people, the happiness of our clients and the quality and success of our work, not to mention the company profitability. It's always nice to hear others outside Futurice saying good things about you too. I feel that Futurice is now rather close to our nirvana and the next couple of years will really see this ship take flight on a global impact mission that I want to be part of.
But let's get back to perception as we still have a job to do:
If you are Finnish, live and work in Finland and have a history in this market with software and all things digital, you probably see Futurice as a big software development house with an award winning working culture. One of the digital leaders in the market with a great reputation for delivery and getting shit done. Thankfully in this case the perception aligns quite well with the reality but maybe a little behind the internal reality or at the least our ambition level.
If you come across us in our international offices the perception may be very different and in the worst case people have no perception of Futurice at all. This of course has its pros and cons. Not being known gives us a level of freedom in how we position ourselves but also brings challenges against the more well know local competitors and also attracting local talent.
So with this in mind I wanted to take the opportunity to communicate to the world some of the internal developments going on at Futurice and how the company is beginning to blossom into a rather big and beautiful flower. Allow me to alter your perception.
Over the last few years Futurice has greatly increased its presence across Europe and opened four international offices in Berlin, London, Munich and Stockholm as well as its long established Finnish offices in Helsinki and Tampere. This growth has come mainly through organic client based relationships and by doing great work with our existing international clients in Finland. To echo this international flavour, we have hired multi-cultural employees, if I'm not mistaken over 18 nationalities are represented. Our working language is English. I personally now receive CV's from designers from all over the world, India, China, America and even as far as Australia. This definitely was not the case only a couple of years ago and goes to show that the good word about Futurice is getting out there. I've also felt the sharp end of this growing internationality in my own projects, as there are times when I've been in three countries in one week!
Futurice has a compelling and ambitious vision for 2020. We are aiming to be recognised globally as "Builders, Innovators and Change Agents" working together with ambitious clients at multiple levels from advisory to visionary and most importantly in the delivery of the digital products and services we build for them. I'm very happy to report that we are well on our way. Across the company we have many examples of client relationships that enable these type of engagements and a growing number of key accounts where we work in all three modes which is super rewarding and I think helps us deliver our best work.
The good thing is that our clients are proactively asking us to take a bigger role in their business. They see Futurice as a "hands on" fast and concrete alternative to the more traditional management consultants. One obvious differentiator is that Futurice has the design and build expertise so we can take high level strategic work all the way through to market. We can also coach and support internal client teams to build best in class digital practices, methodology and teams with the right mindset and culture for the digital age.
In my view the main transformation our company has been going through is from the traditional agile development software house to a full service, multi-disciplinary consultancy offering our clients a reliable and trustworthy one stop shop for the digital revolution. What Futurice has understood is that companies need support and expertise on how to deal with digital disruption as it impacts their business in many different ways. For this reason Futurice had to evolve.
We created a new way of working called Lean Service Creation (LSC) as a way to successfully navigate our clients digital business by bringing together the best practises from Agile, Design Thinking and Lean Startup. We assemble multi-disciplinary teams ensuring a holistic view of the problem to solve, we do all our work with a collaborative, proactive nature that stems from our culture of empowerment and transparency and no bullshit attitude.
On the design side alone we have more than doubled our numbers in two years and have grown not only in size but also in breadth of skill. Currently Futurice has designers that are experts in the fuzzy front end business and service design through to user experience and user interface designers to creative visual designers and detail freaks that even design their own fonts. Many of Futurice's designers can also turn their hands to coding and like to dabble in the tech as much as they do design.
In recent months Futurice has hired people from the traditional advertising agencies, brand strategists, art directors and creative's. These new talents help us bring a brand savvy-ness and visuality to our services. Futurice even has its own business unit that focuses on this brand centric work and is developing new lean tools to design brands from scratch and take them all the way to realisation.
Futurice has always been a modest, very Finnish company and that modesty is admirable but sometimes hinders us when it comes to letting the world know how good we are. I'll always remember from an early age some lyrics by Morrissey from the British band "The Smiths" he wrote in the 1986 song Ask "shyness is nice but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to" I'm happy to say that it's not that we are shy anymore, it's just that we are thinking much more before we speak and we are now speaking on an international stage. The scale of noise and competitive voices on a global level is mind-boggling, so Futurice therefore is actively investing in building a team internally who help us deliver our message in a stronger and more targeted manner.
Futurice has invested in many internal and external initiatives to increase our share of voice. You may have noticed the increase in articles and blogs in social media and also the events hosted by Futurice. We now have an established stand at Slush every year and many people around the company talking at key events and passionately writing thought pieces for the industry.
I feel that it's in our voice where all things come together but its in our people and work where the stories and content originate. Luckily Futurice is attracting and hiring some of the most talented people in the world and getting the chance to do some of the most interesting and impactful work out there in four European markets.
Exciting times to be working at Futurice and also a great time to be working with us.
So what kind of company are you?
Well at the end of the day, what we are is usually the sum of our parts, so if you add it all together:
Futurice is a no bullshit, international, multi-disciplinary, digital disruption A-team who get stuff done fast!
Good times ahead:-)