I recently took a design class at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) called “Design Innovations: Stealing from Start-Ups – Marketing Strategy Workshop.” The class, lead by Joshua Hardisty, introduced me to the term “growth hacker”. I’d never heard the phrase, so imagine my surprise when I learned that I am, in fact, a growth hacker. According to Hardisty, growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identity the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers who specifically focus on building and engaging a company’s most important customers, partners and influencers. Many of the examples Hardisty shared had one thing in common: don’t just do what you’ve always done. Sounds simple enough, but then what should we do? The point of growth hacking is that creativity and growth comes come from a well-defined business goal and clear path to get there. At Beehive, we call that “starting with the end in mind.” Simple statement, game-changing results when taken seriously. So why talk about this at an art school? I think it’s brilliant. Creatives do need to work on getting more involved in business strategy, with their organizations and with their clients. Artists and designers think differently, often challenging the norm. That is where innovation is born, and where real change and growth can happen. Isn’t that what every business wants? Growth. Growth hackers can be anyone—it’s not a role, but rather a way of thinking. And growth hacking can be applied broadly, including using design to drive growth. Here’s a recent example, and one of my favorites. One of Beehive’s largest clients holds a quarterly, department-wide meeting to update the team on the state of the business and developing strategies. Rather than following up with a standard meeting recap, we created an infographic to serve as a visual reminder of the role each member of the department plays in moving their business forward. The client was impressed by the fresh approach to delivering routine information, and the results show. Now, leadership prints off a poster-sized version of that same infographic each quarter to hang outside their office, and many employees print and hang the infographic up at their desk. Overall I was encouraged and inspired to continue to push my design solutions away from the expected, towards results that drive growth. I look forward to the next Design Innovation class this month at MCAD: Start – A Class in Sparking Productive Creativity.