You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Design Business Model’ category.
A new report on the AdMob blog estimates that there are $200 million worth of iPhone apps sold on the App Store every month and that the average iPhone user downloads 18 new apps every month. The AdMob report compares iPhone app trends to Android, the upstart mobile device operating system developed by Google. Some of the other surprising numbers from the report include:
- More than 90 percent of Android and iPhone OS users browse and search for apps directly on their mobile device instead of their computer
- Upgrading from the lite version was the top reason given when users were asked what drives them to purchase a paid app
- iPhone and iPod touch users are twice as likely to purchase paid apps than Android users.
- Users who regularly download paid apps spend approximately $9 on an average of five paid downloads per month
These astounding numbers continue to validate why this exploding new market is such a ripe opportunity for design entrepreneurs and I’m hearing from an increasing number of communication designers who are testing the waters. My friends at the Minneapolis-based design agency HartungKemp are among the latest to bring an iPhone app to market with their drinking game WASTED? which is getting rave reviews from the app blogosphere. Without question, WASTED? fits firmly in the “novelty” game category of apps, but it distinguishes itself with cool graphics and fun copy to create a user experience not common in this genre.
In my conversation with HK co-founder and creative director, Stefan Hartung (audio podcast below), we discuss the impetus for delving into the app game, along with some of the practical challenges involved in the development process.
Here’s a video demo of WASTED?
When I started writing this blog, I did so under the premise that there is a scarcity of entrepreneurial activity among designers and creative professionals. Well, in fact, I still think that—but I’ve also been consistently surprised and impressed by the new ventures I see popping up from our industry. This was the case when I got the announcement a couple months ago that Grant Design Collaborative—the fantastic Canton, Georgia-based firm, founded and led by Bill Grant—would be opening something called The Store at Grant Design Collaborative.
I’ve known Bill since we were both involved in AIGA chapter leadership a decade ago, after which we served together on the AIGA national board when Bill was the organizations national president. The main thrust of the Grant Design Collaborative business has focused on the commercial interiors industry—developing brand strategy, marketing, collateral, and trade show and showroom materials for clients like Herman Miller, Steelcase, and Geiger.
A few years ago GDC began to make a shift from communication design toward product design by seizing the opportunity to create rug designs for a floor-covering client. This experience led to a gradual transformation of the firm, which culminated in the launch of the award-winning commercial wall covering line, Set.
So, the seeds of entrepreneurship were sprouting at Grant Design Collaborative long before the economy tanked. While GDC’s business has remained relatively stable through the downturn, there has certainly been an increase in idle hours in the studio. Coincidentally, a small street-level space had become available in the historic office building owned by GDC on the main drag of small town Canton. Rather than seeking a new tenant to fill this space, the concept for The Store began to take hold as a venue to sell GDC-designed area rugs, wall coverings, and furniture, as well as gift items designed by the GDC team and created from recycled and remnant materials.
Bill humbly describes The Store as a “retail stream-of-consciousness for cockeyed optimists,” but I see it as a savvy business move in a time of extraordinary challenging and change. In addition to the obvious potential presented by The Store of adding a new revenue stream to the GDC business, I see a number of other upsides to this concept. At a time when the overall industry is sluggish and staff morale could easily sag, the GDC team have been put to work on a wildly creative and adventurous project—not only designing the retail experience, but creating the merchandise too. The PR angle is also pretty juicy; the retail space is obviously exquisitely designed and the opening comes just as the Canton main street area is experiencing a resurgence. Additionally, The Store has become a laboratory providing real-time data on sales activity and customer tendencies that can then feed back into the product design projects GDC is working on.
Thus far, all indications are that The Store at Grant Design Collaborative is fulfilling it’s promise. 100 people filled the tiny space on opening night in late June and the comments on the Facebook group page have been glowing. Best of luck to Bill and his team for continued success on this exciting project!
Here’s a podcast of a chat I recently had with Bill Grant about the design biz and The Store.
Firebelly Design is not afraid to take chances and mix up the conventional notion of how a creative business should operate. In addition to their outstanding creative output, Firebelly is also experimenting with some truly innovative business models, like Camp Firebelly, a 10-day summer immersion program for design students, and Reason To Give, a microfinancing operation that benefits the Humboldt neighborhood of Chicago where Firebelly is located.
On a recent visit to Chicago, I had the chance to sit down with Firebelly founder Dawn Hancock and lead strategist Antonio Garcia. In part 1 of this podcast, we discuss the origins of Camp Firebelly.
Here are some highlights of last year’s Camp Firebelly.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Kurt Anderson’s TIME magazine story entitled The End of Excess (post: 4/10/09) in which the writer and radio host found surprising hope and optimism in our current gloomy economic straits. Anderson suggests that the unpredictability and flux that will come in the months and years ahead will be a time of fruitful opportunity for creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. I just came across an INC. magazine interview with Jim Collins, author of Good To Great and founder of the research firm ChimpWorks, and I found synergy with Kurt Anderson’s article. Collins and expands on Anderson’s theme in some intriguing ways—I particularly appreciate his holistic view of entrepreneurship.
“I take a broad view of it. The traditional definition—founding an entity designed to make money— is too narrow for me. I see entrepreneurship as more of a life concept. We all make choices about how we live our lives. You can take a paint-by-numbers approach, or you can start with a blank canvas. When you paint by numbers, the end result is guaranteed. You know what it’s going to be, and it might be good, but it will never be a masterpiece. Starting with a blank canvas is the only way to get a masterpiece, but you could also blow up. So, are you going to pick the paint-by-numbers kit or the blank canvas? That’s a life question, not a business question.”
Collins also takes a refreshing view on the notion risk, one of the great barriers to entrepreneurship.
“As an entrepreneur, you know what the risks are. You see them. You understand them. You manage them. If you join someone else’s company, you may not know those risks, and not because they don’t exist. You just can’t see them, and so you can’t manage them. That’s a much more exposed position than the entrepreneur faces.”
Doug Hall, a columnist for BusinessWeek’s SmallBiz offshoot agrees with the theme that our current economic flux presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs in his April/May column. “Small, incremental changes are considered a waste of time,” writes Hall, “Now’s the time to be bold. And by that, I mean that it’s time to be a radical innovator of products, services, and business models”
BusinessWeek is an excellent (and relatively design-friendly) resource for business news, and I’ve found the INC. Magazine website to be bookmark-worthy too…although the INC. blogs don’t seem to be as content-rich as I would hope.