The next twenty...
Twenty years ago today, Steph and I did our first day’s work as Wilson Fletcher. Turning twenty is a massive milestone for us and we’re genuinely proud of everything that WF has stood for and achieved in that time.
Now, rather excitingly, it’s time to become something new. Wilson Fletcher is becoming Futurestate Design Co.
We set up Wilson Fletcher because it was the only way we could do the work we wanted to do, in the way we wanted to do it. We started a business to focus on the strategy and design of digital services because we believed that they would ultimately power every aspect of life and work.
We think we called that one right.
We’ve run WF on a set of values that have underpinned who we are and what we do: we’ve never believed that life and work should be in some kind of eternal battle, and we’ve never seen a single person who worked with us as anything other than a friend and an equal. We’ve viewed every client the same way.
WF has given us the freedom to develop our own methods to suit real-world challenges, make decisions based on what was important to us, and to help a lot of great people develop and grow. We love seeing how far our alumni have gone, and some of the people we have seen grow the most joined us as interns or at very early stages in their careers.
We’ve particularly loved helping our clients make new things happen. We still love that.
Alongside many, many project milestones, we’ve been lucky enough to open a studio and work with a glorious team of people in Australia and NZ, spin out our own VC-funded startup and author a Masters Degree. We introduced a four day week years ago (followed by some of the best years we’ve ever had, for any remaining disbelievers out there). I finally even managed to publish my first book.
On the flip side, running our agency has never been easy, because neither of us has ever been able to view the business dispassionately. A cold-hearted business-person would say that we’ve made many bad decisions, compromising the company’s performance to do the best for our team and our work. We’d say they’re wrong. Yes, we’ve made all sorts of sacrifices, but we’d make them all again for the life the last twenty years has given us. Some people will just never understand that, and that’s fine by us.
The highs have been amazing, and some of the lows have been brutal, but running WF for two decades has been a huge privilege and we’re massively grateful for all the teammates and clients who have made it possible.
Now it’s time to become something new.
The work we love doing most is always centred on making new ideas work. That’s what we’re best at and that’s where we make the biggest difference to the companies we work with.
The range of challenges we encounter are extraordinarily varied. It’s what makes our work so exciting. The world is full of interesting companies that we want to work with, many of whom we’ve found it hard to work with before. Our model, while flexible as agencies go, still wasn’t flexible enough to enable us to work with everyone we’d like to.
For example, we’ve never really been set up to work with early-stage companies, but have frequently been asked to: those grey hairs can really help them get further, faster, and avoid some nasty pitfalls. They need a different type of support than a bigger company does.
There are also a host of incredible people who, like us, have built a wealth of experience in their specialism and want to work differently. We want to work with more of them too.
In many ways, the world feels like it did 20 years ago; full of opportunity for a new generation of breakthrough ideas to emerge from companies new and old.
It’s an opportunity for us to be something new too. So over the next few weeks, we’ll be retiring the Wilson Fletcher brand to become Futurestate Design Co. Futurestate for short.
We’ve become synonymous with futurestate design and the new brand gives us a platform for what we become next. In many ways it’s the culmination of a process to distil our value proposition into what really matters to us.
More importantly, it aligns with a mission that’s really exciting us.
The world needs more real innovation and we’ve seen first-hand how hard companies find it to take anything but small steps forward. Here in the UK alone, we desperately need companies to step up and drive positive growth with new ideas. We want to use all of our experience from the last 20 years to help as many companies as possible become successful innovators, equipped with the skills and services to thrive in the emerging innovation-led economy.
So, alongside the type of intensive innovation programmes we’re known for, we’re introducing an entirely new, low-cost advisory programme that will enable many more companies to tap into our expertise and experience. This is just the start of a series of initiatives to make more new ideas work, for more companies.
Come and see us here at here at futurestatedesign.co as we unwrap our new offer, or even better, catch up in person for a wine or two.
Mark + Steph