Creative [kree-ey-tiv], adjective: 1. having the quality or power of creating; 2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative; 3. originative; productive.

With “Deloitte” in our name, the image of accountants and consultants in pinstripes leaps so immediately to mind that the rest of our story isn’t always heard. Sure, we’re a part of the larger organization, but we’re far from what you’d expect a consultancy to be: we’re creative. Like, we make things look good and function better, creative. We may be part of Deloitte, but we’ve not forgotten our design roots. In fact, contrary to popular belief, our grounding in this environment has given us the resources and stability to be even more creative.

Studio life has its material benefits – plentiful snacks, Dog Friday, bicycles, and studio breakfasts, for example – but that’s only part of what drives our best work. The environment is also inclusive and supportive, which means people can bring their unique abilities and perspective to the table, knowing it will just make the experience richer and the end result better.

“When I think of the Studio, I think of one word: Collaboration. We work together to support each other, challenge each other, and constantly aim to elevate the design and products we create for our clients.”

Candace Majedi-Caswell, Los Angeles studio

Collaboration is key

For us, collaboration goes well beyond just co-locating project teams in the studio, and having the occasional brainstorming session. Candace notes, “We know that collaboration leads to new directions, better outcomes, and overall innovation. We expect to be supported and often challenged in order to create amazing work, regardless of a person’s title or role. It’s this great ‘we’ not ‘me’ culture that makes working at the studio special.”

But collaborating well doesn’t mean we’re all cookie-cutter versions of one another. We’re able to bring a wide collection of people, experiences, and perspectives together to achieve our clients’ business goals. Holly Perkins, in our Fremont studio put it succinctly: “We think there’s positive tension between opposing viewpoints, and the real magic comes from exploring these contradictions. And because we’re so focused on cross-disciplinary collaboration, we’re constantly exposed to new ideas and given the opportunity to expand our knowledge.”

“We’re a group of creative, technical, analytical, abstract, and practical dreamers. No two people bring the same skills or perspective to the table, and that’s something we value. Our culture creates room for people to be individuals and express their whole personality.”

Holly Perkins, Fremont studio

Out of many, one

A company is only as good as its workforce, and the studios make a pointed effort to hire the right people for the job, period. For example, “when I started at the Fremont studio, there weren’t very many women on our payroll—especially in leadership,” says Holly. “We have a strong Women in Technology group and, with their support, we were able to lead a productive conversation with the studio leadership about the gender gap. Since then, we’ve doubled the number of women leaders and increased the ranks of female employees.” Increasing diversity is a process, but people know they will be listened to, and we’re making positive strides in the right direction.

From the people we hire to the projects and clients we take on, it’s clear that diversity is also a major element to our finding creative solutions to tough design problems. Where traditional agencies and consultancies tend to focus on a specific industry or product, Deloitte Digital doesn’t just cross lines, it blurs them, providing support to retail, energy, tech, manufacturing, the Federal sector, telecom, and beyond. There is huge satisfaction in finding a creative way to apply an elegant solution in an unexpected quarter. Working in this kind of changing environment keeps things fresh, and there are always opportunities to try something new.

“In a prior life, I followed a design-focused career path that led me through traditional and digital agencies, brand and innovation consultancies, interactive and product studios, and yes, a startup. At Deloitte Digital, I see an opportunity to bring the best aspects of each place into practice.”

Ali Madad, New York studio

Stable but not staid

Positioned within the larger Deloitte organization, Deloitte Digital has the ability to focus on the digital marketplace, explore relationships with our clients more deeply, and fearlessly try new things. Ali is excited about the possibilities this arrangement creates: “The studio perfectly complements the larger organization – not simply providing implementation, but a holistic view on customer experience, leading to innovation and meaningful experiences for users.” Without the traditional print and broadcast areas that may weigh other agencies down, we’re able to perfect our expertise and grow our business, yet remain responsive to the ever-changing nature of the digital industry. Jennifer Buchanan, from Pioneer Square, adds, “Deloitte adds credibility and structure to the ideas, to make them a reality.”

But it’s more than being All Digital All The Time. Ali goes on to say “the intrapreneurial nature of Deloitte is one based on relationships and not a transitory or transactional one, as you might experience at an agency. In the shifting industry landscape, being able to work across the C-suite has become essential to doing great work—and Deloitte Digital is positioned to do just that.” Typically, agencies put a lot of stock in volume. They still put out high-quality work, but it’s often a one-and-done scenario to solve an immediate need or meet a short-term goal. We’re able to draw on Deloitte’s standard approach to “foster deeply integrated relationships with our client’s company,” says Allison, in our Los Angeles studio.

“In my brief time at DD it has been very clear that there is a culture of investing in the development and personal growth of every team member with the goal of producing high-level work in the process.”

Allison Mills, Los Angeles studio

Creativity is its own reward

We work hard, and we play hard. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and the studios foster an environment where innovation can happen spontaneously. Opportunities to explore—from company-sponsored education to hack-a-thon days—abound. Obviously, this works out well for the clients we serve, as they benefit from our learning, but that’s not necessarily what drives us. “To be completely honest,” says Candace, “we aren’t just doing it to make the clients happy and get a pat on the head; we’re doing it because we want to improve people’s lives through our work.”

You can read more about Deloitte Digital’s workplace philosophy in “What it takes to be a great digital workplace” here.