Why design thinking will change your business in 2019

Talwyn Whetter

Imagine getting in to the office and going the whole day without anything frustrating you. Where your experiences with internal systems, meetings and clients was so seamless that nothing remarkable happened, except space for you to deliver great, satisfying work.

Lucky you. Most people’s experiences are far from this ideal, but much can be done to move you and your organisation closer with a bit of design thinking.

Emphasising innovation throughout your business

I think we’re all pretty smart - that is, the business community in general. As a country, we thrive on innovation, a hunger for advancement and knowledge – in fact, we love it so much, that UK businesses spent £23.7 billion on R&D in 2017 and has seen a year-on-year increase in this of 4.3% since 1993i Yet, different sectors obviously have different perspectives on how to deliver transformative industry work. At Sysdoc, we work with loads of organisations that innovate but not so many that see that innovation turn into unashamed profit and, let’s face it, the recognition of their peers and customers. Leading consumer centred businesses (think Netflix, AirBnB, Virgin Atlantic) seemingly nailed their winning formula years ago – not only a great product but one that leaves their customers (and employees) raving about the experience. Much of their success can be attributed to early adoption of design principles – Empathy, Iteration, Collaboration and Visualisation – to deliver outstanding customer experiences.

Other sectors have been slow on the uptake. Indeed, working on business transformation programmes where the audience is predominantly internal, there is a clear lag in the adoption of design. I mean, why spend that precious investment budget on “making things look good”, right?

Wrong.

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Why promote design?

Design has significant business impacts for both customers and employees alike.

  • Good design puts people first.
  • Design uses creativity to solve problems, challenge thinking and make lives better.
  • Design shapes the products and services we use, creating better places, products, processes and performance.

In the past year, we have really seen a shift in our clients understanding of how design can deliver their projects more successfully. In just one example, a client’s business transformation programme is reporting significantly higher levels of senior stakeholder and employee engagement, as well as less confusion, higher buy in. This uplift in metrics is primarily down to the design approach taken at the project inception, all it took was one stakeholder who trusted us to show the value that a design approach can deliver.

So, if you are planning a programme, project or just interested in giving your business or workstream the once over, here are four great reasons to allocate time and budget for design in your approach:

1. Human centred design is a robust approach where by you work with your customer (internal or external) to understand what they really need, designing a solution that delivers the desired

outcomes – massively reducing the need for rework, misunderstandings or misinformation.

2. For every £1 invested in design, businesses are seeing returns on investment of £20 in increased revenues – and of that, £4 in net operating profit.ii

3. Design led organisations consistently outperform their competitors with the Design Management Institute measuring this as a 211% yield difference against non-design led organisations over a 10 year period.iii

4. A simple, cleaner approach to any project delivery can mean internal company recognition (promotion!) as well as external recognitions (awards and industry showcasing) – this can go a long way to keep your teams and stakeholders not only motivated but committed to a clear business outcome.


Why Sysdoc is the perfect partner

Big consultancies are buying up design agencies all over the world. ($1.2bn in 2017)iv. But at Sysdoc we are proud to say that, we’ve had in-house design capability for over 15 years and lead with human centred design and aviation principles. Whether through our digital solutions, our innovative learning programmes or our business transformation programmes - we lead with the customer first, so design really does come as second nature to us.

It may be tempting to go it alone – but seriously, get someone to support you on this journey. Even if it is just to help you set the strategic direction in a specific area of your business, we can help you shape a programme and approach that really works for your end user. It is such a logical move that you only really need to prove the business case once for your organisation to start to see the benefits more broadly.


References:

i ONS Business enterprise research and development, UK: 2017 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy... 

ii https://www.designcouncil.org.... 

iii https://www.dmi.org/page/2015D... 

iv https://www.consultancy.uk/new...

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