One of the questions I get asked most often is this – is design only for creative businesses?
There’s a misconception in the ‘traditional’ business world that design is simply about how things look. So that means the logo, a website and printed stuff.
Design, however, is about people. Whatever you’re designing, people – your customers and your team – are at the heart of it. Design is applicable to any organisation.
How can you embed design in your business?
- Start with Why. Do you know why you do what you do? If you’re not familiar with Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, then I would recommend watching it, then spend some time working on your own ‘Why’.
- Design the customer experience. Most businesses leave the customer experience to chance. They invest lots of time and money in marketing, but little or nothing on what happens once the sale is made. By understanding, mapping and then designing the customer journey to be a positive one, you’re making sure that the marketing dollars aren’t going to waste.
- Involve your customers. Another common mistake is not listening to customers. Your business exists to solve your customers needs and problems. They are on the receiving end of what you do and will have stories to tell about how they’ve experienced your service. Every time we ask customers to give their feedback, we learn a tonne of valuable information and the customers feel valued. Everyone’s a winner!
- Generate new ideas. Design Thinking is a fantastic way to generate ideas for new products and services, or to improve existing ones. Real innovation can come from this approach.
- Fail early and often. Complacency is one of the biggest threats to any business. Not trying new things and just doing what you’ve always done, could see your business going the way of Kodak. It’s better to lead an industry than be led! Embracing a design-led approach, where many new ideas are generated, prototyped and tested, will set you apart from the competition.
There are many more ways that you can embed design, but if you start off with these five, then you’ll begin to build the kind of culture within your organisation that enables innovation.
Your business, as a result, will be better by design.