Design to Grow
How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)
Expert advice from Coca-Cola’s Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Learn how the world’s largest beverage brand uses design to grow its business by combining the advantages of a large-scale company with the agility of a nimble startup.
Every company needs both scale and agility to win. From a fledging startup in Nepal, to a century-old multinational in New York, scale and agility are two qualities that are essential to every company’s success. Start-ups understand agility. They know just when to pivot to stay alive. But what they haven’t mastered yet is how to stabilize their business model so they can move to the next stage and become full-fledged companies. And well-established companies know scale. They are successful because they know how to leverage size with a high degree of effectiveness and efficiency. But what worries them most is staying competitive in a world of increasing uncertainty and change, complicated by upstarts searching for ways to disrupt the industry. So what is the key to creating the kind of scale and agility necessary to stay competitive in this day and age? The answer is design.
In Design to Grow, a Coca-Cola senior executive shares both the successes and failures of one of the world’s largest companies as it learns to use design to be both agile and big. In this rare and unprecedented behind-the-scenes look, David Butler and senior Fast Company editor, Linda Tischler, use plain language and easy-to-understand case studies to show how this works at Coca-Cola—and how other companies can use the same approach to grow their business. This book is a must-read for managers inside large corporations as well as entrepreneurs just getting started.
Butler, Coca-Cola v-p of innovation and entrepreneurship, and Tischler, senior editor of Fast Company, are firm believers in the power of design to retain customers, foster innovation, and save companies from sliding into irrelevance. They aim in this book to help readers navigate a dual strategy: to scale like a big company and move with a startup's agility. According to them, incorporating design into every aspect of your work from product development to customer service is what will get you there. The book uses Coca-Cola as its main example, beginning with the company's 2001 decision to become a "total beverage company." However, their drive toward providing more varied options to consumers initially floundered, since the company's approach had always been based on having a simple, memorable brand. Butler's efforts, following his 2004 arrival at Coca-Cola, focused on expanding the versatility of the Coca-Cola brand. Drawing on this experience, he and Tischler walk readers through how to design for agility and speed. Though the tone is chatty and friendly, the overall result is unsatisfying and too often reads like an ad for Coke.