Top 50 Rising Stars 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): James Field, service design lead, Ferguson Ventures

James Field is the service design lead at Ferguson Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of US-based plumbing and pipe valves and fittings distributor Ferguson Enterprises.

Blake Luse, managing director of Ferguson Ventures, said of Field: “James joined Ferguson Ventures in 2019 as a service design lead.

“Corporate venture is not just about investment, it is about understanding the future and accessing or creating new services to deliver value to customers in that future. James has helped me and our team see into the future and help orchestrate our organisation in delivering new services.

“James has been instrumental in expanding Ferguson Ventures’ ability in empathising with customers and designing new services that could better meet our customers’ needs. In leading service design, James plays a key role in onboarding projects by developing a clear understanding of the problem space through empathising with customers and the associates serving them.”

Field said: “My educational background and professional experience span both business and design. An effective investment strategy should start with clarity of vision and purpose. Design processes help identify customer needs and market trends and also align business needs and opportunities with values that external partners can offer. My ability to apply design thinking techniques to business innovation challenges is a good fit for CVC and I enjoy working this space.”

Regarding his greatest success at Ferguson Ventures, Field said it was levelling up the unit’s internal alignment efforts and improving its collaboration with partners by bringing groups together early and often in co-creation workshops.

“This has helped establish shared understanding of each other’s perspectives and processes to ensure we are moving quickly in a strong direction,” he added. “Our team has also been heavily involved leading exploration of a new business model over the past 12 months. That effort has significantly benefited from the portfolio and networks that have been built over recent years.”

Field has worked with some of the world’s biggest consumer brands in design offices located in the UK, Germany and China. His focus is on bringing human-centred design methodologies to support the growth and development of innovative organisations. He is also interested in experimenting with new methods, particularly the use of futures thinking to help lead disruption and not be surprised by it.