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Ticegroup chairman Ian Cochrane is advising design consultancies to stick to what they’re best at and reverse the shift from strategic work (DW 27 June). What is your view of his opinion?

‘Cochrane is right and wrong. Sticking to what you are good at is vital, but wrong to remain ignorant or not be involved with the strategic issues of a project. If you do not have highcalibre strategists in-house, then better to partner with a sympathetic consultancy, rather than not engage with something that is going to have a profound effect on the creative process.’

Mike Dempsey, Founding partner, CDT Design

‘It depends on how you define what you’re best at. Design is sadly still widely defined as a craft. Many designers are also highly creative, and creativity is a vital strategic business tool that clients always need. Designers who think strategically and provide clients with ideas rather than just craft skills have greater commercial impact than those who only produce beautiful design work.’

Mark Wickens, Creative partner, Brandhouse WTS

‘For “pure” consultancies I agree. However, we belong to the breed of consultancy that combines strategy and design, which seems to work, especially in the current climate.’

Simon John, Creative partner, Ergo

‘”Sticking to what you are best at” is hard to fault, but the implied divide between designers and strategists is misleading. Strategic creatives or creative strategists have to be the most potent of their type. Let’s encourage both.’

Mary Lewis, Creative director, Lewis Moberly

‘Our clients seem to want designers who can understand and interpret their broader strategies into creative solutions – strategy they often see as their job, design, or the bringing to life of their strategies, as ours. That said, we’ve always seen design as inherently strategic. What is strategy if it isn’t the analysis of problems and the finding of solutions – just as design is.’

Steve Gibbons, Joint managing and creative director, Dew Gibbons

”How far we’ve come and how quickly we can reverse. Now is not the time for wavering on the value of design underpinned by strategy. Design by definition is about creativity based on intent. By separating out the two we step back 20 years and devalue design one more time.’

Jonathan Ford, Creative partner, Pearlfisher

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