Digital First Framework

As I outlined in my post on Digital First, I believe that while many organisations are very aware of the opportunities that digital networks offer, few have managed to develop a joined up digital strategy that fully capitalises on these opportunities. I believe this is mainly due to an often understandable reliance on traditional strategic and creative approaches and structures designed to make traditional advertising.

I believe that if organisations want to develop more meaningful digital products, services and content, then they need to adopt new strategic and creative approaches designed to create software and content not 30 second TVCs and print brand identities.

Which is why I’ve developed what I’m calling a Digital First strategic and creative framework. Digital First is a hybrid approach based on best practices from a range of relevant disciplines I’ve worked in – software development, user-centred design, content production, product development and brand strategy.


Digital First is designed as a practical process that works with live briefs and projects from initial consumer insight to delivering live digital projects. Its primary aim is to deliver more successful and relevant digital work. Digital First can, however, also be used to help inform a wider process of digital transformation – we can incorporate relevant training and feedback so learnings can be captured and applied across the organisation as part of any wider digital transformation project.

The Digital First Framework

Digital First is composed of four distinct sections:

digital first framework 2

In this initial phase we try to identify the right digital approaches to any particular business problem based on a clearer understanding of digital user behaviour.

The creative phase is much collaborative, iterative and effective, and is based on lean and agile processes rather than traditional top down creative approaches.

In the testing phase we test concepts with users to validate concepts and assumptions in order to identify the approaches that resonate most with them.

In the measurement phase we develop clear targets and measures of success that are aligned with broader organisational goals.

A Modular Approach

Digital First is the organising framework for the work I do, but it’s not all or nothing – it’s a modular approach, so if you’ve got great insight and just need us to run the creative phase I can help with that. I can also help run components of each phase, so if you have in-house software development I can just run the design and user experience part of the process.


I know that putting digital first easy to say, less easy to do, that there are organisational and operational issues that need to be solved, however, Digital First is designed to help organisations mitigate the risk of experimenting with new approaches to digital. Many of the digital pioneers have experimented with different approaches on a project basis to help inform their longer-term strategy. And while Digital First usually requires some extra initial effort, this is often offset by a more efficient and lean development phase and by a more meaningful end result. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, learning from the project can be captured and applied across the organisation as part of any wider digital transformation project. In my experience some of the most valuable learning comes from doing.

Ultimately, Digital First is a framework designed to work with new forms of creativity, not against them, it’s about creating more meaningful work that people want, like or share. It’s about putting digital first, which is increasingly what your customers do.

This is a very top-level view of the process and if you want to know more about the detail of specific workshops, tools and approaches that make up the Digital First Framework then please drop me a line.