For decades MBAs have helped businesses solving problems. They have analysed internal processes and changed the way people work in organisations and the way budgets were allocated to increase profit and efficiency. Advertising money has been spent on a large scale in the attempt to sell more stuff. In an increasingly complex world where advertising no longer works, and stuff is no longer just standalone products, but a part of a customer experience with many facets, a new method is seeing the light of day; managements consultants call it design thinking. We just call it design.
Designers don´t use market analysis to try to guess what people want. Instead, they go out and find out. Designers are trained to get into your customers’ shoes and to see things from their perspectives. It’s called empathy. They use their methods to find out what goes on with your employees, too.
The insight – and it will often surprise you – is presented in a visual and captivating way. It will give you a new perspective of your customers’ needs and will inspire you to create a better customer experience. For sure. The insight will give your customer a face, a voice and a life and make her a human being which is much easier to relate to than a number. Forget spreadsheets and ugly PowerPoints with boxes and arrows.
You can join the fun
Traditionally, consultants and advertising agencies are paid to come up with great ideas and solutions and present them to you for a go/no-go. That’s a boring way to lead. Designers create an environment and ambience for creativity and let you play along in the creative process. Based on the insight the designer facilitates the ideation process and include all relevant stakeholders to make sure to harness all the great ideas that are already found within your organisation. That´s part of what we call co-creation.
Create something from nothing
The design process is about creating something out of nothing. And by” nothing” of course we don’t mean nothing. The facilitation process will make sure that you and your colleagues inspire each other and the designers will connect the dots. The ideas will be visualised and voilà – a new product, concept, or service will come to life. That’s innovation.
Will it work?
Introducing new products to the market place, or even worse, introducing a new business model is risky business. So instead of spending vast amounts of time and money on developing the new service or product prior to introducing it to your customers and organisation, designers will prototype. Prototyping let you, your organisation, and your customers get a taste of the new concepts long before they are finished. This way, the designers get feedback that in turn is feed back into the development process. The product or services can be adopted by the organisation to make sure that the launch is a well prepare as possible. A much less risky approach, and actually much more fun, too
It will look great, but that’s a side effect
Designers are, of course, excellent in creating beautiful products and services and your clients will love. They work closely together with engineers, software developers and others to finely tune the customer experience. But that is only after the thorough process of insight, ideation, co-creation, and prototyping.
The smartphone Impact X and the Video Camera Orbit X designed by EGGS for Bartec Pixavi. EX certified to be used in areas where gas leaks are a risk.
Still not convinced?
Take it from your own. In the September 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, design thinking was the main topic. It’s good reading. Enjoy! (Or call me, of course. Had to say that.)Ulla Sommerfelt
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Seven secrets to our innovation culture
Oslo Business Forum - Leadership in Changing Times 2018