DV FACES: Clare Firth, Lead Strategic Designer, Sydney
“BCG Digital Venture’s support of female leadership, from helping to balance work and family life to creating mentoring and learning opportunities, makes for a really positive work environment.”
Meet the world-class talent building the game-changing businesses of the future. At BCG Digital Ventures, we’re shaping tomorrow one game-changing venture at a time. From ideation to testing and launch, building game-changing businesses from the ground up takes a spectrum of different skills, a variety of expertise, and, of course, a lot of collaboration.
That’s where our talent comes in. BCGDV is home to a diverse community of high-caliber talent hailing from some of the most exciting companies around the world. Each of our multidisciplinary experts brings a wealth of knowledge and career experience, along with a unique perspective to each of our builds. Together, they’re creating innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Our talent makes BCG Digital Ventures what it is today. In this series, we speak to our unique talents about their exciting career journeys, their unique BCGDV experiences, and why they’re passionate about creating the businesses that are changing the world.
BCGDV: Tell us about your unique background and journey that led you to BCGDV.
A: I cut my teeth as a brand and communications strategist in the global advertising industry, where I learned the importance of understanding the needs, motivations and behavior of a target audience. In 2017, I embarked on an MBA in Design Strategy to explore strategy beyond brand and communications. There, I built business models of startups, developed an app-based health and fitness venture and, outside of the program, I founded the Design Strategy and Entrepreneurs Collective, an incubator for early-stage entrepreneurs. All of this really ignited my passion for zero-to-one venture building and, after freelancing as a design strategist for a year, I found the perfect place to do that: as a Lead Strategic Design at Digital Ventures Sydney.
BCGDV: Why did you choose a career at Digital Ventures?
A: Digital Ventures appealed to me because of the scale of impact you can create through corporate ventures, as well as its reputation for hiring the best talent. I wanted to be surrounded by super smart people who I could learn from. I’ve been here almost 18 months and can absolutely say that my work has been impactful on a national scale, and I’ve learned an incredible amount from incredible people across all cohorts and levels.
BCGDV: Briefly describe your role and cohort at BCGDV.
A: Strategic Designers are responsible for ensuring our ventures address real human needs in a way that’s valuable and meaningful to our target customers. We work hard to gain an in-depth understanding of where frictions exist for people and where there are opportunities to solve those frictions. We lead the early research, insight, ideation and validation work that informs concept and product development. Strategic designers are present throughout the entire venture lifecycle, ensuring we remain human-centered, and laser-focused on solving real-world problems and ensuring product-market fit to maximize our chances of commercial success.
As a Lead Strategic Designer, I’m responsible for leading that customer-focused stream of work and a team of designers, ensuring that we continue to keep the people and real-world problems front-of-mind through all stages of product and process design and build.
BCGDV: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in joining your cohort?
A: First and foremost, strategic designers should be curious and empathetic. You need to care deeply and be interested in the “why” of things. Intensive primary research and getting to the root of the problems people face are a huge part of the role. Secondly, they should be excellent storytellers and communicators. Beyond understanding the big, unsolved frictions in a market, you need to be able to share that information concisely and compellingly with everyone on your venture team, including senior stakeholders. Lastly, they should be structured, imaginative thinkers. Creating frameworks, personas, customer journey maps, prioritization matrices and product portfolio maps requires someone who can make the most important information salient and digestible. But you also need to be able to take creative leaps in order to find the best possible solutions.
BCGDV: How would you describe BCGDV’s culture?
A: It’s a culture of inspiring, creative high-achievers who have a genuine love of building something new. There’s also an incredible energy and momentum in the room when different types of thinkers come together to solve problems and make breakthroughs everyday. Digital Ventures Sydney is a diverse group of down-to-earth people who relish a challenge. I’m proud to be part of such a smart and exciting group of people who make me better at what I do.
BCGDV: How has BCGDV supported you in finding balance across your career and personal life?
A: BCG Digital Ventures has provided incredible support to help me find a work-life balance that works for me. As a young mum, I’m able to have time offline to be present at home every evening during bed and bathtime, which is amazing. I’ve also had the business’s full support in moving to a four-day-per-week flex work model to accommodate a growing family alongside a growing career. Digital Venture’s support of female leadership, from helping to balance work and family life to creating mentoring and learning opportunities, makes for a really positive work environment.
To learn more about Strategic Designer roles at BCG Digital Ventures, visit our Cohort page.
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