We often have a misconception of what design is, only focusing on the most visible part of it, like graphic design, fashion design or product design. I was listening to an interesting podcast about the business value of design and I found it interesting to go a little bit deeply into this topic.
Design, whether it’s of products or experiences, is not only about aesthetics but also about specific actions taken to boost revenues and customer engagement. From McKinsey podcast’s episode “Tapping into the business value of design”.
I would say that there are three core elements to design. I’ve already talked about the first one, the visible aspect. This is related to the craft, the “doing” of design: artisanal, visibly beautiful.
The second one is the design of the service or product. It’s more related to the experience that the user or consumer is going to have. How is the experience that you have in a café: entering, ordering, sitting, the lights, music, the employees… everything related to how you’re going to enjoy your sweet matcha latte. Talking about digital experiences, it could be the flow you have browsing a website, or what is the personality of the company on social networks. This part is huge and crucial, especially when you work on branding, where you work with the core of the company and the relationship with their customers.
The third, which is design thinking, is the method by which we tackle problems or challenges. And it’s not just design problems. It’s any kind of problem that we can crack with a design-thinking methodology.
When you understand that the roles of design focus on experiences and strategies to find new solutions, you clearly understand that this should be an important part of a business. And, as business people like numbers, McKinsey analyses the economic value of design. McKinsey is one of the most prestigious management consultancy firms in the world, so, if they say something is important, oh yeah, for sure it is. You can find the research online and see how the revenue of the business that uses design in a good, professional way increases a lot and makes a difference with their competitors.
I’m going to finish with this great scheme of how design must be integrated inside the company: I like to take design as another strategic action of the business, not something based on trends or what you like; I like how it says that designers must be part of other departments of the business to always remember that we’re building something for someone with a real need, not do it and then try to make it more appealing to sell it; I like how it shows that design is an ongoing work, always in progress, not an isolated phase; I like to design experiences.