If design isn’t a core piece of your business, you’re likely missing out on many opportunities to thrive in the era of digital disruption. Many companies leave design out of fundamental product development conversations because they think design is all about a high-level focus on making things pretty or usable.

Instead, business teams want to be results-oriented, focusing on meeting immediate customer needs uncovered with various market research tools. In a future that increasingly belongs to the fast, this approach won’t work anymore.

The need to meet rapidly evolving customer needs to win both market and mind share makes data-driven design an essential component of business performance today.


What Is Data-Driven innovative Design?

Data-driven design moves beyond the common thought that design is all about aesthetics to include research, creative solutions, and enhanced experiences by identifying  solutions for users' needs and pain points as well as creating feelings of delight and achievement. The typical product development process starts out with a lot of assumptions and uncertainty, leading to customer research to inform the project. Including design in this research process gives you access to professionals trained to see both the big picture and the minute details that drive the project.


The perspective that innovative design brings to the research process can push you past today’s customer sentiments and into the space that Apple always operated in with Steve Jobs, who said “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Without data-driven design, we may have never seen the Macbook, iPhone or iPad.

If you want to learn more about the role of design in an end-to-end product development process - from idea all the way through execution - download our latest guide: Designing for Business Outcomes.

When you embrace data-driven design, there are a number of benefits that can directly impact your business performance and drive new product success.

4 Ways Data-Driven Design Drives Business Performance

There’s no doubt that product design is important to your business, pushing executives to change long-standing processes requires more tangible value adds. Here are 4 ways that data-driven design can positively impact business performance:

  • Design provides structure to optimize your business: Relying on data-driven design helps you set parameters (for example, customized metrics for success) that keep all teams and messaging strategies aligned. Once you’ve tapped into a design team’s ability to bridge the gap between the big and small pictures, you’ll begin seeing improved business performance.
  • Design can help normalize business bias: It’s no secret that when you’re so close to your business, you can develop blind spots to its weaknesses. Design teams—especially those are coming in to consult—are able to see the white space around the hyper-focused business strategy to normalize the common sense of bias in an organization.


  • Design-centric sprints get faster, more accurate results: We always refer back to it, but our favorite motto, “try fast, iterate fast, fail quickly, and stop,” is becoming a requirement for keeping up with a future that belongs to the fast. Design teams enable rapid prototyping that supports 2 or 3 week sprints. These design sprints give you a chance to collect data quickly and validate business assumptions through concrete research.
  • Design marries the value proposition with your business objectives: It’s easy for business operations teams to get stuck in a cycle with processes that have always seemed successful. However, going through the same cycle over and over again can quickly cause innovation to stall. Designers can define alternative paths to innovative design and meet business objectives. Ultimately, good and valid design sells more than the status quo.

Changing the Narrative When It Comes to Design

When design finds a stronger voice in your business, you can achieve the necessary level of innovation to stay ahead of competition as agile start-ups disrupt all industries. To break the idea down to its simplest form, good design leads to happy customers, which sparks repeated use, which drives revenue.


However, there’s so much more to this concept of data-driven design improving business performance. If you want to learn more about the role of design in an end-to-end product development process—from idea all the way through execution—download our latest eBook, Designing for Business Outcomes.

If you liked this article, listen to Dialexa’s Head of Design Research, Sarah Reid, and Design Architect, James Utley, on Custom Made talk using lean design research to get to the ‘the why’ of your product: 

Listen to all episodes of Custom Made for insights and perspectives from industry disruptors and technology leaders.

Free eBook: Designing for Business Outcomes

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