In 2013, Canva was a start-up that sought to “democratise design” by providing incredible and easily accessible design tools to anyone. Eight years later, our community has grown to over 70 million people who use Canva every month across 190 different countries. Collectively, they’ve created over 7 billion unique designs with 120 designs created per second on the Canva platform. So, it’s safe to say we know what it’s like to scale for growth.
For us, all growth can be directly traced back to Canva’s universal accessibility, a drawcard that has attracted an evolving range of user types across teams. And not just design teams, but entities like schools, workplaces and small businesses. In the past year we had a 300% increase in team usage. People aren’t only looking to create digital content, but also to seamlessly collaborate on design in the work-from-anywhere world.
Understanding these various types of users that Canva attracts is key in determining how to further scale the business. In 2019, we discovered that 85% of Fortune 500 companies were utilising Canva in some fashion, a fact from which a logical question arose: can we find a way to directly empower large chains and corporations? We could and we did, by creating Canva for enterprises.
Our Sales teams were asked to focus on what we are trying to solve and not just focus on one solution or just one company. By placing the user at the centre of our decision-making, we’ve taken our initial aim for the company to new and exciting places.
“Businesses grow not only by the provision of a great product, but by allowing the user to dictate how that product can be augmented, diversified and built upon.”
In other words, your community says a lot through how they interact with your product - all you have to do is listen.
Responsible growth is much more than growing your product and business, it’s considering the world you operate within. It's asking yourself how you can do well while doing good? For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic we offered free services to health organisations across the globe. To be one of the most valuable companies in the world you have to also do as much good as you can - it’s why Mel and Cliff started the Canva Foundation - and you can see those values trickle down into all our product and commercial decisions.
Prior to the pandemic, The Warehouse Group embarked on an organisation-wide transformation to an agile way of working. We wanted to move faster, operate more efficiently and above all, place the customer at the centre of everything.
This is an ongoing process, but we’ve already learned lessons. One is the importance of an organised communications team, even more so now that remote work is here to stay. With a transformation like this, there’s such a volume of information that needs to be seen and understood and it means different things to different people and teams. Our great communications team enabled employees to find out things like what an agile structure meant for them, how they fit into it and what their role would look like, and they kept up a regular drumbeat of relevant communications throughout the transformation.
Perhaps the most significant takeaway from this transformation is the importance of mindset. Any organisational change, whether scaling or restructuring, goes beyond processes, operations and systems.
“You can’t take to an agile structure with a command-and-control mindset, just as you can’t work within a 200-strong employee base with a small business mindset.”
For us, that transformation requires employees to embrace being part of a squad with many different capabilities, rather than an organisational hierarchy. To do that, we break our squad into tribes and chapters structured around the customer. Our tribes deliver on the ‘what’ for the customer, and our chapter areas deliver the ‘how’ by providing the tribes with the skills needed to achieve the ‘what’.
There’s no denying this online growth has been really interesting for organisations in New Zealand and across the world, but by having an agile structure, it allows us to focus on the work that directly impacts the customers and reflects our purpose: helping Kiwis live better everyday.
Roughly three years ago, Foxtel was facing threats to further success on multiple fronts, particularly from streaming services such as Netflix offering customers functions that cable couldn’t. Instead of taking apart and reconstructing our legacy product while losing business to more agile disruptors, we decided to disrupt ourselves. We now offer two streaming services separate from the Foxtel subscription: Binge and Kayo Sports.
Being managers to your own disruptors is a challenging dynamic, but in order to create a future vision of being digital-ready, we had to be brave. We had to pivot from holding metrics such as open and click-through rates in such high esteem, and really dig into what drove customer engagement – and customer engagement in our case was attracting streaming subscriptions.
“The underlying objective became not traffic to marketing comms, but what will be most intriguing to the customer and their experience.”
The business structures of Binge and Kayo are entirely different to Foxtel’s. They were built for the digital-first age. Meaning no service agents to sign-up or downgrade packages or change customer credit card details. It’s all online, all digital and all self-service.
We’re working with two very different types of businesses – streaming services, which we’re learning how to scale, and Foxtel, a hugely scaled service that we’re trying to simplify. The good news is that being brave is paying off. Engagement with streaming keeps climbing and digital subscriptions continue to rise, now outnumbering traditional Foxtel and satellite subscriptions. While challenges still lay ahead, we are now doing what always had to be done, and what thriving organisations are doing: moving forward with a digital-first, customer-centric mantra.