Twiga Group puts people at the heart of change.
But who are the people at the heart of Twiga?
Meet Em Coy.
She uses design-led research and specialist communication skills to understand culture, solve complex problems and create positive, purposeful change.
What does it mean to be design-led? Em defines design as ‘a human activity, often engaged to solve problems, that synthesizes knowledge and expresses that knowledge in a novel manner’. Being design-led is about engaging in work in a way that enables the novel expressions.
Like some of her Twiga colleagues, Em came from a corporate banking career, but via the world of academia. After many years in communication and marketing roles and as an executive assistant, Em studied a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University. She was driven by a personal passion that she hoped would springboard her into a new career using design to inform research and strategy.
After a short stint in consulting, Em reconsidered her next steps and returned to uni (RMIT) to complete a PhD in Marketing with a focus on Strategic Design. Drawing from her corporate experience, Em spent four years researching how traditional businesses could adapt their operating models to enhance innovation by working in a design-led manner. This led to the development of an academic model and the introduction of new theory aimed at interdisciplinary team collaboration.
Em now applies the knowledge and practical skills gained through her postgraduate studies to her consultancy work. She also tutors for the University of Melbourne in marketing and entrepreneurship.
How does Em’s experience and knowledge benefit Twiga clients?
Em works at the front end of the whole product lifecycle managed by the Twiga team.
She draws on her research experience and uses a design-led approach to help clients with market analysis. In addition to this expertise, Em’s academic writing and presenting skills are also highly valued because they provide well-cited, evidence-based grounding for the market opportunities.
Throughout her career, Em has seen the value in presenting information in such a way that balances accessibility with credibility. Her research findings are not only easy to read, they are also backed by an evident level of rigour – because she knows that both are equally important when attracting buy-in from the client’s stakeholders.
Em then builds on her market analysis using qualitative research skills to really understand who is going to want it, how to meet customer needs and how to develop engagement with target audiences. Products and services can be better targeted and are more likely to succeed if underpinned by research and analysis.
Em’s strengths lie in her ability to draw together her combination of real-world experience and academic skills to provide a fantastic value-add for clients.
‘We’re applying design methods in exciting ways, which makes it such a joy to come to work.’
Em has finally reached her ultimate career goal: using her design skills to solve interesting problems for her clients. But it’s also the Twiga environment that she finds appealing because of the human-centred approach of Founder Jo Smyth and her colleagues. Em really values the authenticity of the team and that they are empowered to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work. In other words, they practise what they preach.
‘There’s a really positive energy here, with each other and with those we work with. It draws everybody together.’