In December we underwent our yearly assessment by BSI for our ISO 9001 quality system. Thanks to everyone’s diligence, we passed with flying colours, but it re ignited an old thought that had played in my mind.

Can creativity be standardised?

I must admit to being cynical in my younger days about design studios having standard systems. 

I imagined product designers to be artists, and did Picasso fill in forms? “No way mahhhn!”

As with many things, hard won experience changed my mind over time. 

As a professional studio with staff, how can we not have standard ways of doing things to assure quality? 

The process of building our QMS forced us to look at every last aspect of what we do, and formulate robust systems to allow us to deliver high quality, creative work. The design team still has creative freedom, but how we present work, store data, and manage projects is now systemised, so individual designers don’t need to ponder how to manage any given project, they can keep more of their mental energy on designing great new products.