The future of SYPartners

When SYPartners simultaneously hit two major milestones in our history in 2014 — a 20-year anniversary timed perfectly with our acquisition by kyu — we took the opportunity to engage every member of our company in a new vision for our future.

We wanted to articulate our hopes for the future of SYPartners in the next decade, so we asked ourselves:

Are we making a big enough impact?
Are we taking on the right work?
Are we creating the conditions to live up to our highest capabilities?

Answers to those questions are written here, below—it’s our vision statement. Addressed first to our employees, it’s now open for you, and anyone, to read and share.

We hope it inspires you as it inspires us.

Twenty years ago, if you had asked us to state our vision for SYPartners, we would have greatly underestimated what the company would ultimately achieve. So what is written here — even in its boldest form — may suffer from not being imaginative enough about who we could very well become in the next ten years.

Our vision of where the firm could be by 2025 starts with you, as members of this company: Your passions. What motivates you. The impact you want to have in and on the world — from the simplest human interaction to the most complex global transformations. Ultimately, the firm is a vessel for the collective wishes of each of its members. That’s not to say that it is the full sum total of every wish, but of the ones we have in common:

  • To each show up as the best version of ourselves. This sounds simple, but it requires constant and vigilant work.
  • To make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. In striving to be the best versions of ourselves, we can be generous in serving the success of others — be that a fellow team member, client, customer, CEO, world leader, or citizen.
  • To be creative beings who get things done. (One without the other is a life half-fulfilled.)
  • To muster the courage to dare to create something in the world that makes a difference at profound scale. This means going beyond projects, or clients, or products — and trying to mobilize many to transform their lives, to shift their behavior, to live up to their full potential.
  • We want SYPartners to be a place where human beings come not just to do a job — but to build their life’s work.

Given that desire, here’s what we see for our future:

Our vision

To fight for greatness at billion-person scale. We will make a dent in the universe — one human connection, epiphany, behavior, project, tool, and cause at a time. It requires thinking and making in formidable combination. And we will show up as our full selves to make this impact.

Our first 20 years was the warm-up act: We found the secret sauce that makes us, us. We fooled with methods. We experimented. We failed. We practiced, practiced, and practiced our craft. Honed it. And at times were even trapped by our mastery of it.

What now changes is our depth, scale, and audacity. More of our aspirations realized, and more of our outcomes measured.

Six aspects of SYPartners that evolve:

  1. Scale of ambition. We have spent 20 years gathering the experience, earning the opportunity. Now, we humbly — but persistently — aim for ambitions of even greater impact.
  2. Defying labels and definitions. We have spent 20 years trying to find the one label that describes who we are and what we do: Studio? Consultancy? Product team? In our next decade, let’s not worry about owning a niche — or frankly, how others want to label us — but rather, be confidently who we are. Hard to characterize, but potent in results.
  3. The power of creativity. We bring it to every situation; this is what distinguishes us. We’ll deepen our ingenuity, our reframing skills, our making skills — all of us as creative beings. We, too, will build our skills in analytics — so creativity is sparked by knowing, not just guessing.
  4. Behavior change. The first 20 years was about first sparks, provocations, getting transformation started. In the next ten, we’ll master how to close the loop — the change realized, the behavior improved, the life improved for our clients and the individuals our work touches.
  5. To have empathy. Choosing Greatness as a purpose means we have to be prepared for disappointment, pain, suffering. Not because we choose these things, but because they are a human reality. We have to be adept at empathy, exhibiting compassion, and lessening the suffering of others.
  6. The preciousness of time. At 20 we realize: Time is short. Given the capabilities we will have, and the depth of talent in our ecosystem, neither time nor talent should ever be squandered.

So where will you find this company of ours in ten years?

The biggest enterprises going through transformation: You’d see us there. The next Facebook on the cusp of commercialization: You’d see us there. A fledgling team in India trying to work together for the first time: You’d see us there. A global movement of the world’s women in full force — to help each woman live the life she wants, for the greater good of all of us: You’d see us there. A cross-sector coalition taking on some of the world’s toughest issues: You’d see us there. In the dorm room of a college sophomore wrestling with a personal issue: You’d see us there. Alongside a nation striving to remake its image by changing its reality on a world stage: You’d see us there, too. This all requires firepower and more partnership — so we can be a force of several hundred, with new offices in new cities. Our careers will be made possible because of a healthy, hybrid business.

But more than a force, we’ll be a place that is about a life’s work. Whether you stay for two months or 20 years, SYPartners will demand that you become your best self — and will teach you more than you would ever dare ask for. Because in the end, this is why we are on the planet: To each show up, fully, as the best person we can be — not for selfish reasons, but because the world deserves our best shot at making it great.