Note: This isn’t a “5 Steps to …” article. More of a “musing” after working on several different business models. While a good model is essential to business health, I think we need to see them as extremely useful for a point in time, and also as a work in progress. I've often seen, and you probably have to, a business using, even cherishing, a model designed for an environment that’s since changed. So here goes…

In a sense, many businesses are pieces of art, created by someone, sometimes with great love, with whatever materials they could get. Sometimes using a fine brush, sometimes, possibly, with paint thrown from a bucket. 

When you see the business, you see the image of the creators and their artistic choices. 

As art, some businesses are immediately stunning while others require more time to appreciate the creative vision. I’ll admit to never understanding some and I take the blame for that.

We can even debate which art genre some businesses belong to, with baroque being an option. (Sorry, I’ll stop that.)

Large numbers of business art now sit in a museum as the world found less and less use for them. Those numbers grow when anything but a company changes.

At the same time, other companies avoid the museum, thriving in dynamic environments, going through evolutions or revolutions as they adapt to, or lead change. 

Those companies are not just art, they are designed in the active present tense.

In fact, they are always in the design process as all design is re-design.

Imagine the energy and engagement required and created during the process of design and re-design! Both are oblivious to the community: customers, employees, and suppliers. Even competitors. 

There’s an elegance and ease to working for, or with, a designed company. The touch points, offerings, service envelop, and back-end functionalities reflect its real brand; the way it keeps promises made. Every aspect of the business interacts smoothly with others, each reflecting a common ethos and pathos.

Designed companies can still have their challenges; egos often overwhelm process and there are different kinds of pressure to deliver, but there’s a common intention that encourages alignment.

And after intention and alignment, there’s only the work. There’s more to say there, but right now, back to art...

Art companies are created for a point in time, and they can look beautiful. Sometimes in a museum. 

Designed companies are continually recreated for a mission, which can change, and they feel beautiful. In the real world.

Is your company art or design?