John Chaplin (pictured), former Chief Product Officer of Hogarth Australia and Co-founder of award winning digital agency Fusion, has launched a new digital product design company, Diagram.
Based in Sydney, Diagram are a collective of creators and makers who partner with individuals, agencies, startups, business and industry to design and build considered, elegant digital products.
“We are not an agency. We don’t make ads. Our single goal is to create products that solve problems, drive growth and make life better for the end-user,” Chaplin says.
Diagram will work with organisations looking to grow or improve through digital transformation or digitalisation and need the capabilities to do so. They will partner on projects to ideate, bring a concept to life, deliver technical support, and unlock new opportunities in traditional industries with emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Chaplin Co-founded Fusion in Adelaide in 1995 and grew that business to three offices in three cities with over 40 staff. In 2017, he joined Hogarth Australia as Head of Digital, and later CTO and CPO.
Following decades in agencies, Chaplin says Diagram’s model is aimed at providing a stronger value proposition to startups and other clients.
Every project and team will be purpose-built. This includes collaboration with partners to establish the right team for the job across disciplines. It also means total transparency with partners and clients, offering multiple pricing options, including reduced fees for equity tailored to each engagement to establish an open working model and build a strong alignment between parties.
Internally, the business will have a flat structure, assembling talent from many fields who will have access to an Employee Share Option Scheme and success fees in an open financial business model.
“Waterfall methods work well for structured, repeatable work like campaigns, where the brief is clear, the output is known from the start and the process is well embedded in the organisation. But most agencies are not set up to develop products in an agile way or to support them long term,” Chaplin says.
“We believe there is a better way. When the client relationship is tailored to the brief – everything from people to process to financials – it allows you to build an environment that supports the long tail of the product lifecycle, from initial ideation, to user testing and continual feedback, to support and maintenance.
“Ultimately, we care about results and creating a culture of continuous improvement for our partners. We are removing the roadblocks that hold people and ideas back, and backing our smart people so they can focus on what they’re great at.”
During the upheaval of 2020, Chaplin has been working on several projects including a startup supporting Australian manufacturing. Alongside planning the creation and launch of Diagram, he took the time to reflect on his past roles.
“I realised that what motivates me is making great products, solving problems and working with smart, passionate people,” he says.
“I am excited to be returning to my product roots in a business that reflects strong values. I believe Diagram’s approach will be welcomed by potential partners and staff with the new perspective that 2020 has brought to us all.
“Great design can make a better world, and it is my hope that Diagram will play a small role in proving that.”
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