Strategic Design Consultancies | info/advice

Hi all

I have been following this forum (although not registered) for quite some time, especially now that I am for a long time into the job-haunting process. I know that the times right now are not the ideal to get a job (was more optimistic in the beginning but now I can say from first hand that, at least for me, thing are not turning as I expected) but I have nothing else to do but keep trying.

As my education was in both design and design management, ideally I see myself getting a position within a design office, or a company that they offer complete strategic design services.
I am located in Europe and I am willing to relocate in any European or Asian country and until now I have applied to any company (bigger or smaller) that I can think of/researched without any result. Just to mention some :

Ideo / Continuum / Plan / Frog / Designit / Lunar / Pilotfish / DesignworksUSA / SeymourPowell /Therefore / PininfarinaExtra etc.

I am trying to find more agencies on this field so I am wondering if you could suggest other agencies you may know to suggest. I went through the core77 design directory so many times, I got some lesser known studios, but if you may have a personal experience of any other I would really appreciate that.

Thank you all for your input!

(ps. i have not focused my applications only on this sector of design but i would really love to work on this field…)

Can you help me to understand the difference between a strategic design consultancy and a design consultancy ?

I think virtually all firms would be technically classified “strategic.” They just each have their own unique vocabulary for defining themselves.

Maybe it is a misconception but i thought that companies entitled as “strategic” will do more thorough research in the fuzzy front end during a product development compared to design offices that may follow a more get-the-brief and just-do-it approach. Maybe they deal also with product / brand management in order to serve their clients not only on the “way” their product should look&function but also on “what” kind of product they should develop. At least this is what i believe “ideo” and “continuum” are doing (do not have info from “inside” though and maybe PR from these companies is that strong that create a strong image for these offices).
Maybe i am wrong. Any info could be really helpful.

ps [ I have gone through the whole “design employment” section and i found that most, if not all, the design offices mentioned/suggested are from US with branches in Europe so I am aware of them. My question is if you happen to know European or Asian, lesser known studios… (Sinagpore or Tokyo would be options…)]

I agree with the above. All ID firms are going to do the fuzzy front-end stuff and are also going to work design strategy into their process. If it is research that you are interested in I would look at the design directory and narrow your search to design research. This will get you companies that specialize in figuring out consumer needs and behaviors instead of product development.

As industrial design consultancies have “trickled up” to strategy, many strategic consultancies (McKinsey, Bain, BCI, etc) have “trickled down” to tactical design deliverables. I’m sure you can find a longer list if you look. You should also consider any ad agency. I don’t know of one that isn’t offering strategic services. That list is pretty much endless too.

Thank you for your suggestions and the alternatives you mentioned.

In fact, i did try the option of hardcore strategic consultancies with McKinsey and i did manage to be invited in their first round (out of three in total) of their test-interview process (which was pure math and business problem solving tests). However as my strength is not qualitative data i did not make it to the second round of interviews. Besides, as i heared at least in Europe these consultancies these days are even more reluctant for new hires.

Like I mentioned before, get involved with an ID firm that is heavy in consumer research so you can learn the tools you need to move on to a more strategic firm. Like all of us, you have to crawl before you walk.