Whether building a better guest experience, developing an app downloaded by millions, or creating luxury items, a commitment to great design remains at the center of commercial success.
The power of design doesn’t stop there. A strong design-centric corporate culture can provide an even stronger competitive advantage. In “Design Management (An Introduction) – Taking Charge of Processes and People,” the authors lay out some of the many benefits of applying the design process to improving the companies themselves:
“Design management allows companies to better control their design process and enhance their internal business processes – cutting out waste and inefficiency in processes may not be visible to the company’s clients, but it will be clearly beneficial to the company in terms of reduced costs.”
Enhancing internal business processes has to be a matter of human design. It’s not as simple as designing a new tool or a process strictly from the viewpoint of cutting costs. To work, these processes have to be easily understandable, usable, and helpful to the user. This means talking directly to all the stakeholders. This includes those who the processes will serve and those tasked with using the processes. Understanding what is needed, why it’s needed, and how it can be accomplished using the most efficient work process is vital.
In a McKinsey & Company report, the authors wrote that businesses with design-driven corporate cultures have more opportunities to grow and thrive than ever:
“In short, the potential for design-driven growth is enormous in both products- and service-based sectors. The good news is that there are more opportunities than ever to pursue user-centric, analytically informed design today. Customers can feed opinions back to companies (and to each other) in real time, allowing the design to be measured by customers themselves—whether or not companies want to listen.”
Companies should want to listen. Design should be a C-Suite issue, not something that is only the province of middle managers. According to the report, the leadership of the most successful companies builds their business strategies through the lens of a design-centric vision.
The desire for well-designed experiences has become a baseline expectation for all consumers. “Cool” tech is not enough. People expect a product to be easy to use and work consistently, or they’ll quickly move on to the next. The experiences should address customers’ individual needs and capabilities through inclusive design.
Brands in any industry must be concerned with delivering positive experiences to all stakeholders or risk them walking away. This means applying the same care for design to everything they do, from products to processes to messaging. It’s not just a winning strategy. It’s the only strategy to stay competitive in the years ahead.