Understanding the role design plays in business success is crucial to making the best design decision based on your business objectives. Design is the language your business uses to communicate itself to the world.
Lets look at en everyday example. You’ve been invited to a business event, those attending will be trend setters in your specific industry. You have a copy of the programme of the event and have a good idea of how you want people to perceive your presence especially during the networking session. So how do you go about getting the results you need? Design!
You start by preparing the topics you’ll discuss should you engage in any meaningful discussions, you plan your words, do a bit of research, maybe take some material with you. You plan your outfit accordingly, sometimes even dressing completely outside of what you would normally choose for a regular business meeting. You’ve just designed one aspect of yourself. Maybe you have a haircut, more design. You shave, wear special cologne, you’re designing how people will experience you presence.
Of course your business cards don’t get left behind, they should align with with the image you’re trying to create if you want to achieve any kind of consistent impression. From where you sit and how you walk, your eye contact,volume of your voice, time you arrive, just about every aspect of each moment you are engaged in thinking about or experiencing this event you are designing something on some level.
Design is a natural human tendency, we shape our activities, words, appearances and movements according to the results we are trying to achieve. There’s absolutely nothing different about business. Your business needs to dress smart when it goes out to meet. It has to speak eloquently, to know what to do and when to do it and how to look while doing it.
The AIGA or â€œAmerican Institute of Graphic Artsâ€ has developed some vital resources to convey the importance design plays in the life of any business. One such resource is a small but powerful e-book titled “What every business needs” which
Growth, we all have learned, is no longer automatic. The past has less to teach us than we need to know. Consumers are jaded, markets fragmented and disposable dollars scarce. Risk is everywhere, and pressure produces rigidity, making it difficult to try new things. More than ever, time is our enemy.
This, as every visionary knows, is a rare moment of opportunity: one that rewards creativity and compensates companies that have learned to cultivate the brilliance of individuals and instill an effective process for innovation in their corporate cultures.
Despite commonly held beliefs, real invention is rarely the terminus of a carefully developed brief. It begins before the assignment is written, and is inevitably the difference between efforts that lead to meaningful new ideas and those that produce derivative results. It is an ability to identify inchoate opportunities and see openings where others canâ€™t. Invention never should be saved for problem solving. It should be engaged first to recognize the most rewarding problems to solve. It is not for the faint of heart or narrow-minded.
Happily, we have a plan.
Itâ€™s called design.
The e-book sets out a 12 step process which any organisation, business or entrepreneur can use to arrive at the innovative solution it might not know it needs.
The steps area 12 STEPS TO SUCCESS, AT A GLANCE.
- 1. Define the problem
- 2. Set clear objectives and define success
- 3. Define the approach
- 4. Elicit buy-in and support
- 5. Information gathering
- 6. Develop and prototype ideas
- 7. Analyze the options
- 8. Make the important decisions
- 9. Mobilize the team
- 10. Present to internal audiences
- 11. Take to public
- 12.Evaluate success
I’d add a last point, rinse and repeat.
“What you have just read (or not) is a process by which businesses can create value and market demand through innovation. It is done in partnership with designers.”– AIGA
Be warned though, just like anything, the cover of the book does not determine the reading experience. Once design has brought the readers, it’s up to the story inside to keep that first impression going and to further capitalize on each page. These can be designed as well though, so fear not, design is with you at every step of the journey, shaping the outcomes and adjusting to changes, making sure you’re heading to your desired results.
Let me take you on a design journey.