There is a common misconception about design in the business world—that it’s all about making products “pretty” or broadly “usable.” However, Apple became the most valuable brand in the world with design at its core; and that didn’t happen without the additional components that fall under the true design umbrella.

Product design is essential to your business; but you can create real competitive advantages by extending the design mindset throughout your organization and releasing products that are better aligned with your business.

Design Thinking Gives Businesses a New Perspective

Designers are trained to see the world differently. Whether they are focused on research, data, visual designers or any other discipline, they are capable of looking at your business objectively – not just the way you want to see it. 

1-_silicon-valley-s3-e2-conjoined.jpgCEO of HBO’s fictional PiedPiper, explaining his “Conjoined Triangle of Success”. His misguided, one-size-fits-all model for business.

Employing a typical business strategy, your team is equipped for and has a good vision for the big picture in regards to product development. However, execution can fall short as small details escape their view. Designers, on the other hand, are able to change the business perspective by seeing both the big picture and the minute details. 

When you are able to harness the perspective of designers, you can capture the “why” of your product, which ultimately creates competitive advantages as you develop minimum lovable product.


Getting to the Heart of Your “Why”

Design, whether it’s an internal team or an external consultant, can walk a business through its own core messaging—a detailed overview of the tone and voice you convey with your current design language. Many businesses have a surface-level idea of why they’re developing a new product or market, but fail to achieve a deeper understanding of how it affects stakeholders, internal users and customers.

2_-_the-golden-circle.pngSimon Sinek’s Golden Circle -

We’re always surprised to hear the multitude of answers members of the same organization give when asked about their “why.” To get the business into a design mindset and get to the heart of the “why,” design teams can change the conversation from “how? What? Why?” to “why? How? What?”. This amounts to what Simon Sinek calls the golden circle and includes answering questions such as:

  •      What’s your purpose?
  •      What’s your cause?
  •      What are your beliefs?
  •      Why does your organization exist?
  •      Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  •      Why should anyone care?

All of these questions serve to take the business out of its typical thought processes. When you're supremely focused on profits (the “how”), you lose sight of what truly sets you apart from the competition. By partnering with design, you can build a more cohesive and empathetic message centered on your “why,” which is how companies such as Apple and Mercedes build brands that resonate so well with their customers.

Iterative design Means Future-Proofing Products

A strict business mindset that doesn’t include design might lead you to pursue quick wins with new products, finding ways to meet today’s customer needs. This is often cheaper in the short-term and is necessary under certain circumstances. But by solidifying a partnership between design and engineering - iterative design can work to develop more scalable products.

Free eBook: Designing for Business Outcomes

You might understand what you want today, but it’s often more important to look ahead to customers will need in the future. This is where a design team brings value to the business strategy.

By designing minimum lovable products with the future in mind, you can execute digital transformation projects that drive real competitive advantages for current releases and continued, iterative updates.

Breaking the Design Misconception

Design’s ability to create competitive advantages begins with businesses thinking of the term “design” as more than just user experience. While user experience and aesthetics are important, the true value of design comes from the unique mindset of designers themselves. Bringing the essence of design thinking to all aspects of your business is how you can impact 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.

This is only a start of the discussion of how design fits into overall business value. If you want to learn more about how design can play a more crucial role in your business, download our latest free eBook, Designing for Business Outcomes.  

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