At dojo4 we strive to understand problems before proposing solutions.
It is rare that we'll work with a client to build what they came in the door asking for. When someone comes to us with a solution, we always push back in order to more comprehensively understand the problem they are trying to solve. We ask why they might have arrived at a particular solution and dig into what other solutions might exist.
Our normal cycle, therefore, generally involves a single initial meeting and, if the client is serious about solving a problem, we propose a half to one-day investigative session with at least one designer and one developer. Our team works to understand the business problem behind a proposed technical solution and the brand and ethos behind a particular set of visual messaging.
These meetings, which we call "Deep Dives", typically involve 1-3 project stakeholders and are done round-table style with white boards, lots of drawing, and a catered lunch.
The result is simply a report.
The outcome of having a true understanding developed between the stakeholder(s) and the technicians and designers, who'll ultimately be responsible for delivery of business solutions, is valuable for many reasons:
- The produced document serves as a conversion from business language into technical and design language that can be shopped around to other designers and technicians. It serves as a translation that can be understood more clearly.
- Pivots are identified before develop starts. Often a seemingly trivial technical decision can make the difference between a $10k solution and a $100k one.
- Graded approaches can be identified. Very often a client starts out with the end in mind but, as every agency knows, the problems being worked on nine months from kick-off are seldom (never) the ones people had in mind. So it's very valuable to layout not only a discrete path to an end goal, but also graded intermediate stepping stones that the client might choose to take between where they are at currently and where they ultimately want to get. These steps often follow the 80/20 rule: the client might be able to spend 20% as much, take 20% as long, but realize 80% of the value when compared to their initial solution.
- Most importantly, the clients themselves are able to re-state and refine the problem themselves after being able to learn more deeply about technical and/or design considerations that trained professionals consider important to the problem space. We find that the client nearly always changes their mind about which problem they are actually solving and which solution they actually want to initiate after these deep dives.
- Lastly, the meetings are a profound client filter: they immediately identify clients who are willing to collaborate to identify genuine solutions, who value the professional opinions of the team they select, and are happy to pay for these services.
The cost of a Deep Dive is generally $1000 - $2500, depending on the number of stakeholders, technicians and designers needed for the process. You'll come away with a document that you'll be able to use to help direct development with anyone, but if you end up choosing to develop your project with us, we'll take 50% of the cost of the Deep Dive out of your first invoice on the project.