WONDR has continued its winning streak with 2 more prestigious prizes at the 2022 Annual Digital Media Awards.
From over 400 entrants, WONDR were finalists in 3 categories for Best Small Agency, Best Website and Best in Financial Services.
On the night we took home one of the top prizes, a GOLD award for Best Small Agency, whilst we also collected a Silver Award for Best Website.
The Digital Media Awards are now in their 19th year and are one of the most well-established and well-known award programmes in Ireland.
The awards recognise creativity and innovation across digital media, including digital content creation, advertising and marketing, mobile media, social networking, app development, web design and development.
"A fabulous way to celebrate our 9th year by being chosen as the Best in Ireland.Dermot O'Shea Founder - WONDR
Continuous Recognition for Ireland’s No.1
These awards follow on our recent wins at the Global Digital Vega Awards where we also collected 3 awards.
Previous to these recent award wins, WONDR also collected 22 awards in 12-months from some of the world’s most prestigious design programmes, including the Webbys (USA), UX Design Awards (Germany) & the Lau Awards (Spain).
Held in the unique Drury Buildings, we hosted our first of a series of events called the Get-Together with WONDR.
The Get-together was an opportunity for our client partners, the WONDR team and friends of the business to ditch the zoom calls for an afternoon and meet face-to-face over drinks & canapés.
It was a welcome opportunity to get to know ‘the faces’ behind the screen and celebrate our recent award wins together.
It’s been a very successful year as we’ve collected 22 awards from some of the world’s most prestigious design award programmes.
Thank you to everyone who attended, the room was full of smiles and the conversations were flowing throughout.
Our next get-together will be better than ever so if you missed this one, make sure to mark your calendar for the next one.
Here are a collection of shots from the event 👇🏾
Over the years WONDR and IDI have crossed paths on multiple occasions, not only in an award capacity but also on a collaborative level.
At WONDR, we are always keen to get involved in events and contribute to promoting Irish design talent across the globe. This year marks the 50th year anniversary of the Institute of Designers of Ireland and we’re pleased to announce that our Founder, Dermot O’Shea, will join their panel of expert judges for the IDI Awards 2022.
After 2 years of online ceremonies, the IDI Awards will be held in person this year. An occasion of JOY to meet peers, colleagues and friends to celebrate the best of Irish design across fashion, brand, architecture, comms & digital.
"This may be our best line-up of judges yet for a very special 50th year anniversary celebration"Charlotte Barker CEO - Institute of Designers Ireland
A Global Panel of Experts
Dermot joins a talented Digital Judging panel fro around the world which includes Lucia Orlandi, Ciaran Bonass, Kristian Lember, Sarah Kennelly, Niall O’Kelly & Bienvenido Cruz.
WONDR have collected 22 awards over the last 12 months from some of the world’s most prestigious programmes, making Dermot an optimal candidate for judging at this year’s IDI Awards.
Dermot O'Shea Founder
We know the hard work that goes into making something special, so it's a pleasure to join an expert judging panel to review the JOY created by Irish Designers.
WONDR is proud to announce that it is now a member of ADG-FAD (Asociación de diseñadores gráficos y directores de arte)
The ADG-FAD (Associació de dissenyadors gràfics i directors d’art) are based in Barcelona, Spain and for more than 50 years, its goal has been to promote design and visual communication in Spain’s cultural and economic life.
"We're proud to be part of such a significant association & look forward to contributing to the design community in Barcelona."Dermot O'Shea Founder - WONDR
11Onze x WONDR x Barcelona
WONDR’s collaboration with 11Onze, to foster and grow a fintech community, shares similar values with ADG-FAD of empowering the community with insightful knowledge to enable them to develop further.
The WONDR team plan on sharing our knowledge and expertise with the design community in Spain, especially insights on how we collaborated with 11Onze to create ‘First-ever Fintech Private Social Network‘ in Barcelona.
Prior to joining WONDR, Sinéad was Head of Customer Operational Excellence in CarTrawler. There, she led multiple teams responsible for customer experience, project management and business process improvement.
Sinéad’s industry background began in design and technology, before moving into the project and operational management side of things.
"While WONDR is an extremely ambitious practice, there is a strong sense of community and social responsibility."Sinéad Good Operations Director
Sinéad’s main passion always remained with her foundations in design and technology, which is what brought her to WONDR. “I was at a crossroads in my career. I knew Operations and Project management were still in my future, but I really missed working with creative people, especially with designers and developers”.
“It was also important to me to move to a company that made a difference to the community. While WONDR is an extremely ambitious practice, there is a strong sense of community and social responsibility. Our values are Clarity and Bravery.
These are ever-present in the team’s approach and are visible in the span of clients we have. It’s how we collaborate with and support them to deliver successful products and projects”
Sinéad Good WONDR
Driving clarity through simplicity helps clients make brave decisions to drive success via increased revenue generation and disrupting their competition.
Operations in a Creative Environment…
The role of Director of Operations in WONDR is to oversee the day to day operational running of the business and contribute to the development and future growth through Strategy and Vision. Sinéad works closely with each team member but particularly with the Project, Product and Creative Directors in the business.
Over the last 12 months, WONDR has experienced high growth levels which are set to continue, meaning the team is expanding.
Sinéad Good WONDR
My immediate challenge after joining WONDR, involved looking at internal and external processes, spanning all elements of the Operations from project management and technical delivery to people and resource planning.
Working with the team we have systemised all parts of the WONDR business; set in place scalable processes to respond to our growth while maintaining the delivery of creative and innovative solutions for our clients.”
Cultural Changes of moving to WONDR…
“WONDR is Ireland’s top digital product practice. It has a very unique mix of culture, passion and talent, making it a really exciting place to work. No day is the same for the Director of Operations here! Since I joined in January, we have launched a new banking social network in Barcelona, called 11Onze, the new ESB International website and an award winning website for Likha Aesthetic Clinic.” One of the biggest changes for Sinéad when joining WONDR was the move from corporate to agency.
“The difference? Pretty much everything. The pace, culture and the day-to-day tasks. Things happen slowly on the corporate side. WONDR is a fun, fast-paced environment, with plenty of opportunities to collaborate and continuously learn. Decisions come quickly which can be really rewarding.”
“Also being part of a small business, everyone has a role to play and you can see immediately what you contribute and what your value is.”
What’s next for WONDR?
“We have some really exciting projects in the pipeline that we look forward to sharing. For now the next big challenge for WONDR operations as with many businesses, is the return to the office. The pandemic has changed the way people work, perhaps forever.”
Sinéad Good WONDR
While technology has made it possible for our team to work entirely from home, everyone is keen to get the band back together and also meet all our new faces in person! The key focus will be to maintain our unique culture while implementing a hybrid working model.
A lot can happen in seven years. Although we might count time in minutes, days and years, we measure their value in moments. Here are some of our favourites:
Christmas time at the office with the Wicklow Street view, all the decorations. It’s such a great vibe. Christmas songs, cozy ambience and Pete making hot whiskey for everyone. Great craic!
Summer on Grafton.Pete
My first day. A colourful office, a desk with a view, chilled background music, a very warm welcome from the team. I knew there were good times ahead
Drinking and playing ping-pong with the team in Dublin!Clément
Dermot with the giant shamrock glasses continuing to write emails!
My favourite moment - the day we were putting up the WONDR wall. It felt very collaborative and it was a fun day at the practice.Kristiana
Virtual Halloween 2020 - we had a virtual party after a long time that day. I had my introduction presentation, we had burgers delivered and everyone had scary hats + face paint!
The many pints + chats at Mary's.Mariana
“Whenever we are around the table in our boardroom Borges, or on a call in the new world, discussing a project. Every person is listened to, and every idea is thrashed out. Everyone is so accountable and passionate about how their individual roles come together to form the bigger picture, and I always leave those meetings feeling inspired by my teammates.”
📸 Flashbacks from the ‘gram 😁
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Foreword by Oisín Hurst – Director of Brand Strategy.
I never stop to ‘smell the roses’ (as some people say). I’m not entirely sure as to why. Usually, by the time a product or project has been completed, my mind needs to quickly pivot towards the next challenge. In truth ‘needs to’ isn’t quite accurate. It’s more of a habit than a need. But after seven years, maybe it’s time, as a team, to pick out a few favourites. So here they are.
I enjoyed working on the KBC website redesign, I felt a part of each step in the process from start to finish, I was able to leave my mark and am really pleased with the final result.
Pet Drugs Online
It was the first eCommerce project I had the opportunity to work on from the beginning. I learned a lot working with this client (UX/UI). With the level of knowledge and expertise applied, we achieved a really positive result.
ESB Real-Time Visualisation
It was the mission where I learned the most. The application we created was different from anything that existed before, All while helping ESB to save millions.
Likha Digital ExperienceClément's Pick
I loved being able to explore animations on this project, I learned a lot and I think it’s one of the cleanest projects I’ve coded.
CSSDA Website of the Year 2018
There’s a whole host or reasons, working on an international showcase experience, pushing the project knowing that it’ll be seen by industry peers around the globe, the concept itself was so much fun.
But actually the biggest reason is the level of collaboration. We, as a team, sweated every detail, movement, effect and interaction.
Sinead & Suganthini’s Pick
Sinead This was the first time I was exposed to fast prototype user testing and it was a great insight into WONDR’s ways of working. It shows the value, rapidly testing the design with users can bring.
Suganthini My first ever project; working as part of an experienced team, I’ve learnt so much in a short time and really developed as a designer.
Every person in Ireland visits ESB Networks at some point in their lives, so it feels like we’re making a really important contribution to people across Ireland who depend on info from networks during storm season.
Personal finance is evolving (and not before time, many would say). WONDR has worked with 11Onze Banc, the first Catalan bank in over 100 years, to help them create the next evolution in banking.
In Spain as in many European markets, Revolut and N26 dominate the younger and more tech-savvy end of the market. However many users treat fintech as little more than apps to move their cash around.
This behaviour shouldn’t surprise anyone. N26, Revolut and others have built their appeal upon three factors; technology, utility and purposefully homogenised identities that are designed for digital nomads. Although these brands provide a stark counterpoint to the tradition (and somewhat distrusted) financial institutions, this ultimately leaves the public to choose between two extremes.
But where does community fit in all of this? What about cultural understanding and the duty-bound responsibilities that financial institutions are meant to provide neighbourhoods? They are supposed to be part of (and work for) their local community. They are meant to support (and inherently understand) local culture. The traditional institutions may have betrayed their communities’ trust, but as a counterpoint, fintechs have simply removed the notion of community from their equations.
A Better Balance
11Onze believe that the next generation of personal finance will use technology and innovation to embrace and empower local communities to build cultural pride and enable financial sovereignty for their society. To achieve this future they are starting from scratch, building a physical network in parallel with an innovative digital experience. Working closely with the 11Onze leadership team, we have created the customer experience for this across app and web.
James Sene Chairman
WONDR has turned Beauty, Simplicity, and Usability into Science. At 11Onze, we have serious doubts about the terrestrial origins of this crew :) You simply cannot find a better partner to implement your vision.
What 11Onze are attempting to do is create a fintech offering with community at its very heart. In the same way that FC Barcelona is more than just a football club, 11Onze want to be more than just an app. To realise this they have opened up their funding model for regular everyday people to be early round investors.
The vision for 11Onze is an extremely egalitarian one for fintech. Local florists, butchers, carpenters, engineers and so on, can be as invested in the ethos and the fabric of the brand as Lionel Messi or Gerard Piqué.
Over the last seven years WONDR has grown into a healthy mix of international talent, jackeens and culchies. There’s even a few expats among us. Those who decided to return home but were eager to experience the same cultural diversity that they had enjoyed in London, Amsterdam and New York.
All of these talented people found a home in WONDR because over the last seven years what has helped us to thrive is our relentless belief in collaboration. A little cheesy? Yes. A lot true? Definitely.
Collaboration makes things better. But only true collaboration.
Four middle-aged white guys sitting around a table isn’t collaboration. It’s an echo chamber with pastries. True collaboration is an electric, eclectic mix of cultures, accents and opinions. It’s thoughtful logic knocking against instinctive creativity. It’s opinions, neither right or wrong, but different. It’s the moment when a room goes silent as someone presents a unique perspective that nobody else could have possibly considered. Because they’ve lived a different life. They come from a different culture and in turn, they have a different experience of Ireland.
Culture is at its heart, creative. The more cultures, the more unique experiences, the more creativity. But for all that makes us different, the thing that binds us together is a common belief; design is a profoundly worthwhile endeavour.
We’d like to welcome
the newest members
of our team.
Director of Operations
UX/UI Design Intern
Pull up a pew as we talk to Dermot O’Shea, who founded WONDR seven event-filled years ago. Are you sitting comfortably? Good.
By the way, I wonder who designed that chair you are sitting on? Somebody did. These days somebody has to design almost every object and experience that we interact with. This may be a rather obvious truth, but it’s worth noting every now and again. It’s also a very relevant factor in the story of WONDR.
“In short, I wanted to be a furniture designer,” Dermot explains. Inspired by elaborate and Byzantine sculptures and the likes of Charles & Ray Eames, he headed off to a design college. It was, in digital terms, a more innocent era. “This is pre-internet now… zip disks were in fashion and the floppy disk was still there.”
Once ensconced in university life however, dreams of becoming an Irish Le Corbusier came up against reality. “The lecturer at the time was a very talented product designer who was on the TV a lot, he said, ‘Look, draw me 100 straight lines in less than a minute because I want to see how well you can draw.” The resulting output lacked the geometric symmetry required for such a rigorous taskmaster but all was not lost.
“He said, ‘Look, man, you’re never going to make it as a furniture designer but you seem to have some sort of get up about you. Have you ever considered working in this thing called branding and multimedia?’ So he sent me upstairs to talk to the lad who ran a course called ‘The Management of Design & Innovation’… And I said, ‘you know this sounds good for me’.
And good enough it was. “You learnt the principles of branding but you also had deeper modules in new media, architecture, graphics, interiors and then you would pick a specialism that you wanted to go further in. Mine was branding with multimedia.”
Not being able to draw a hundred straight lines led to a grounding in all of the elements that would be stored away and later used when setting up WONDR. Firstly though, there was a whirlwind trip through Dublin’s agency world, where people skills were every bit as important as the UX design experience Dermot was developing. At the time it was dawning on frantic account managers that this digital thing wasn’t some flash-in-the-pan fad. They and their agencies were going to have to adapt to survive.
As everyone does, I tried to get into the agency scene and had mixed experiences.
The head of the first agency Dermot approached looking for ‘a start’ (as they used to say on the building sites) was outraged at his apparent impudence. He suggested Dermot take a mop and bucket to the office toilets, once he was done he was welcome to F**k off. “Whoa, okay, that’s some intro to the industry. So maybe that prepared me for some of the other agencies I dealt with in the future.” Little did he know I had dealt with much worse on building sites in New York where I labored during my college years to pay for education. He seemed like a delicate flower to me.
When you have a start like that, the only way is up, “…but ironically, I didn’t give up and I spoke to other agency owners. Quite a lot of them gave me their time because they recognised I had an interest and a passion in the area. They gave me constructive advice on how to get started. So today, when people apply for jobs at WONDR – even if they’re not ready – I give them my time. I make sure I write a nice note. I’ll always go back and say, ‘Look, maybe you should think about this because this is how I got into it’. It’s almost like karma. Somebody was good enough to lend me a hand and I’d like to continue that philosophy.”
An All-Ireland Approach to Design
Industry stalwart J.P. Donnelly of Ogilvy suggested Dermot speak with Jim Dunne at Brand Union. That was a fortuitous meeting because it brought together a love of design and branding with a passion for the GAA, which was undergoing a major upheaval in its identity and how it presented itself to the world.
“It was very interesting because once I arrived in the Brand Union. I was put on to the GAA rebrand. This was a once in a decade project. I learned a lot from all the big strategy dudes there like Jim and Dave O’Connor about how to structure design and position the value it brings to organisations – even The GAA, which isn’t a traditional bank or insurance company. Design played a massive role in claiming back ownership of the brand from the likes of Guinness and the other sponsors who were almost kidnapping the GAA’s assets.”
While corporate sponsors are necessary and welcome in sports, for a community-based organisation like the GAA, it’s important that their identity wasn’t subsumed into the trappings of a massive sponsor brand. “Because of the way we had developed the design system, sponsors couldn’t come in and dominate because the GAA brand that we created was so strong.
Ten years on we wrote a lovely story about the GAA rebrand. The President at the time was Nicky Brennan – a great hurler back in the day, he read our article and got in contact with me just to reflect on the work and how it still looked as fresh today as it did then. Now you see the brand in nearly every Parish. It’s on the jersey. It’s on the medals. It’s everywhere… even tattooed on people’s arms, and you look back and think, we had a unique opportunity to work on a cultural identity for a special organisation. It won a few international awards, that was my first outing if you will.”
Nobody needs to tell Dermot about the importance of the GAA to Irish cultural life – something that goes far deeper than advertising hoardings, ribbon cuttings or banner ads. That patina of ingrained knowledge no doubt helped add a sense of integrity to the ambitious GAA rebrand project. Every kid in Kerry dreams of one day winning an All-Ireland medal, he just took a circuitous route to get his.
“Any accomplishment you ever achieve is nothing, compared to having an All-Ireland medal but, thankfully, I have an All-Ireland medal that we designed with Oisín Hurst, who is currently WONDR’s Director of Brand Strategy at the moment. So yeah, at least I have one myself.”
Looking back on seven years in WONDR throws up similar emotions and a sense of having created something that is also built upon integrity. In business, just surviving is an admirable enough trait, but to do so you need an ethos or a philosophy.
WONDR remains independent but when any business wins a few awards and gets a decent profile, people will offer you partnerships and takeovers, as Dermot explains. “When I founded WONDR, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that I knew it all… even though the technology was different, the stories are the same. If you talk to someone who ran an ad agency thirty years ago, or a brand agency or whatever, or a direct marketing agency, it’s the same shit, just slightly different deliverables. So, when I met all these guys, they told me the stories about how some of them had fallen for the trap of taking the money from that investor too early on or taking that free ride from an agency who would offer you a quick way into the market by working ‘in-house’. They all said two things to me; never sell and never scale.”
The problem with reaching a certain scale means that others will want to come in and manage the process. An external management structure can inject a certain order and, of course, cash. But somewhere along the way what makes the venture so unique in the first place can be lost. “Something we’ve done in WONDR from the start is that we have no accountants. The only accountant we’ve got is called ‘Xero’. It’s doing what departments of spreadsheet warriors do in these big agencies. I felt the moment you allow this spreadsheet engineering to dominate your culture, the sooner it can ruin it.
So everything in WONDR has always been about design first. It’s a place for designers and people who are excited by design. And anyone that doesn’t like design is not welcome.”
Warming to the theme, we discuss how a creatively led design practice can retain that culture. The age-old clash between art and commerce naturally results in creative tension as these two worlds collide. This is not always a bad thing – tension can stimulate passion in the pursuit of great work. But the lines can get blurry after a while. Too much energy is wasted when the process intrudes to such a point that it’s a distraction from what everyone set out to build in the first place.
Anyone who works in a creative field will recognise that moment when a desire for control and order begins to restrict the very thing it was brought in to promote. That’s when you lose your soul. Some organisations get it right and some get it wrong and there are learnings in that too. Culture always has to triumph over corporate process if you are to have any hope of retaining an independently creative mind-set.
“To build a really cool creative business. It’s all about culture. It’s not about logos and it’s not about hierarchies or politics. It’s about culture. So we’ve spent a fortune on culture in WONDR. It’s what everything is about. For example we’ve had our own built-in library… that’s something I learned from Jim Dunne – the knowledge in books, keeping them everywhere because it changes the tone.
I worry sometimes we’ve all become monotonous humans because, back in the day, I’d go to my friend’s house and see his LP collection or CD collection. I’d see his books and I’d start to get it get a sense of the person. Whereas now, everything’s just IKEA furniture & iphones in people’s houses.
What I didn’t really understand at first was that culture does come from the top. And I know that’s a cheesy phrase that you hear, but I’ve really learned it because I’m really into design and doing things the right way.
So, sometimes in WONDR I’ll turn down projects. Or we’ll have been offered massive money to do something that just isn’t right or isn’t us. And we’ll say no. I always say to people; ‘always be true’. That’s why we’ve focused on clarity and bravery. Because you’ve got to be brave to not want to take the easy money and in some of those other places, when they take the easy money they sacrifice their culture.”
A WONDR Build
All this ambition is well and good but when did the idea crystallise to put all of this experience into setting up your own company with a philosophy based on these core learnings? Everyone has an opinion on what their business should look like and how it would work more efficiently. But not everyone steps off the escalator of a steady income to have a crack at it.
“Well, yeah, when I was working on my own I had a taste for it, even though I was only doing small projects. I liked just talking to people understanding what they were trying to do because our role is to be a storyteller, through words, through visuals, through technology. Then, I was working in a particular company where I felt like I was leading it. But because there was some idea that you can’t trust designers to run agencies, they always installed what I call accountants on top of me and these accountants would be following me around the place, asking ‘what do we do next?’
All they’re doing is counting the cheques. But I was the one doing the work until one o’clock in the morning. And one day, I was in with Fáilte Ireland – because at the time, I was working on the digital strategy for The Gathering.”
“Glancing at the crew assembled around a boardroom table the client asked, ‘Why are these people here when clearly you could just do this on your own? Why are you supporting all these people?’ And I thought you know what, this fella’s right. I’m going to do my own thing now. I’ve already built up the company for this millionaire and I have no equity. Yet because I’m interested in it I’m the one working until one o’clock in the morning three or four nights a week. So I made it a mission, then, to look at ways to get started.”
It was a short while later that my wife helped me make the final call and give me the final push to exit the big machine. We had just had our first child, we had bought our first home and it kinda made sense to throw in opening a new company into the mix just to keep busy. Her encouragement gave me the confidence to believe in my ability to do this. And the business is roughly the same age as our child so there’s a nice story in that too.
As it turned out, plenty of people were eager to make the same journey. You could sense in Dublin at the time a changing of the guard and a desire for an alternative to the stale agency model.
“I made a lot of friends over the years. I knew that there are enough talented people in Ireland, in individual companies that we could come together to form what I would call a super agency. One that could be as good as any company in Amsterdam, or New York. And that’s what WONDR was born out of. I was so tired of being compromised and giving up on creating something beautiful just because we needed to turn over money to keep all these people aboard the ship.
So, when we started WONDR, it was all about craft. And next thing you know, we were winning awards from these organisations, like the FWA and the CSS Design Awards, that no Irish company had ever won before.” (WONDR was shortlisted as a Top 10 Studio in the world by the prestigious CSS Design Awards in 2018). “For the first couple of years we focussed on our culture and creativity to almost… refresh the soul.”
Soul is that indefinable thing that you never seem to find on a brief or a planning document and yet it’s something that WONDR is passionate about. Why shouldn’t UX have a little bit of soul incorporated into it?
Soul is also something Irish people have in abundance and WONDR is a keen supporter of home grown talent. “In Ireland, there is an extremely talented creative community. I feel sometimes we have become so insular that we forget to showcase it. Why do Irish people do so well? We’re actually a very talented nation of storytellers, whether it be through music, poetry, design, copywriting or art direction. A lot of people now look at WONDR and say, ‘you’re doing work that’s much better than the big fancy place in New York’. And so, now, when I go to meet these companies, they’re just blown away.
The feedback from the market has been phenomenal. We’ve had a lot of interest from Singapore, from America and elsewhere.
And they are, I suppose, potential growth areas for WONDR and we are looking to branch out. I think if you can expand your mind-set and collaborate with different people it will keep you fresh and also keep you on your toes.”
The brand positioning of WONDR – the mission statement that greets you is “Accelerated Innovation comes from Clarity and Bravery.” What does that mean in practice? “Well, clarity is… it’s a couple of things. There are a lot of businesses out there and I won’t name them. But they love to create complexity, because there’s money in managing complexity. They promise the big machine of innovation and digital transformation. There’s a lot of bullshit in what they’re doing. It’s a philosophy of ‘create complexity / land-and-expand’. WONDR’s whole model is almost an antidote to that level of bullshit as I see it.”
“Some people have described us as an anti-agency agency. It’s an interesting sound bite that keeps coming back to us because they can’t get over the level of honesty. I’ll say to clients, look, don’t spend your money here. You don’t even need to do this. You don’t need to give WONDR this… Just do this first – make some money, come back and then we can look at these things. And people appreciate that advice, because digital can be complex. And if people think digital is hard now, they need to consider that we are still in the early days and the easy part of digital. Wait till you see what’s next once AI and robotics take over!”
This thought encapsulates the sense that there is a digital world just around the corner that may subsume us. It’s reassuring to talk to someone who seems to know what the direction of travel is. There is another part of the WONDR philosophy and that is innovation but not just for the sake of it – in service to the underlying strategy as Dermot describes it, “The other part, then, is bringing that clarity and being brave enough to innovate. Being brave enough to change because the only people that are rewarded are the people that are willing to put their necks on the line. And time and time again, we’ll do that. But we have a way to back that up with data and science that we know – when we’re suggesting innovation – guarantees that it’s going to work”.
Power, Money & Politics
“First you get the money, then you get the power,” as Tony Montana memorably tells Manny in Scarface. The same principals apply to any business. WONDR seems determined to exert its soft power into a series of smaller boutiques, rather than an all-encompassing empire. It’s the “speedboat” versus the “tanker” to borrow a recent analogy from the European Union Commissioner, Ursula von der Leyen, Tankers are impressive but they are cumbersome and difficult to turn around.
“When you scale like that, the people who aren’t designers come into your company. And because they haven’t got any design to add, they focus on what I would call power, money and politics. And then that starts to bastardise your culture. So, everyone interviewed by WONDR, has to have a passion for design. What we’re looking for is that ‘can do’ mind-set. Those people who are culturally curious, people who want to discover something. If you want to be good, you’ll have a passion for it. You’ll find a way.”
To wind up, I ask how Dermot would describe WONDR to someone he was sat bedside at a dinner party with no knowledge of design, creativity, innovation or any of the things he is passionate about.
“The best way to describe it is – we help people make sense of digital. And we help brands find a way to make money through digital technology. That’s it. It’s a simple as that. Or, to be more accurate – like digital technology itself; it’s as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.”