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Why Design Thinking Should Be at the Center of Business

design thinking for business

+4 reasons design leaders should be involved in decision making

Think for a moment about what you want to achieve with your business.

Rapidly scaling your team, unbeatable customer loyalty, increased revenue year on year?

These aren’t easy things to do, but there is one vital change you can make within the workings of your business that will help you get there: design thinking.

It’s a model that puts the customer first. The human first. Because what’s a business without happy customers, clients, and staff? Well, it isn’t a business at all.

In this article, we’ll touch on what design thinking means, and then share 4 reasons why you should get creatives involved in decision-making if you want successful business growth.

What does design thinking mean?

Historically, organization models see design and creative teams as separate departments from the rest of the business. 

Working away independently on whatever it is they are employed to design – be that packaging, branding, website design – creatives function without much involvement with other teams across the business. 

You might have seen multiple design teams for various design disciplines –UX, product, animation– but each would still work independently from the rest of the business. 

It’s been a ‘normal’ way of structuring teams for decades, but times have changed. This model can cause bottlenecks, delays, stressed-out teams and worse, unhappy customers. 

Why? 

Because design affects the feel, visual look, and usability of a product or service. 

When it’s not considered at all stages of the customer journey, the decisions made (that inevitably impact the end-user) aren’t cohesive across the board because each team –marketing, HR, customer service, etc.– is working to its own independent KPI.

Design thinking flips this model on its head. 

It brings teams from all departments together –or to be more specific, places designers and creatives within all departments– to work collaboratively, towards a common goal.

That common goal? Increased customer satisfaction and retention. 

To put the customer at the heart of every decision, in every department.

It’s a creative process that increases innovation through collaboration, and one that Tesla harnessed to great success. Because Tesla knows that designers and creatives approach things through a customer-use perspective, and that design itself is a tool to communicate with those customers effectively.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to doing business. 

4 reasons why design thinking will scale your business in 2022 in beyond

1. Design thinking improves company culture

By bringing teams together to work collaboratively, the entire organization is aligned on the mission of the company. 

To build a successful brand, you need 3 things: purpose, principles, and personality

You need the whole company to understand these 3 things, so that each area of the business, from marketing to operations, is 100% invested in making them a reality.

According to findings from Mckinsey Digital, “97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.”

When teams are united in their mission, company culture soars. Happy teams make for great business.

2. Solve potentially hazardous (and costly) problems in real-time

When design is actively considered in all stages of development, issues can be workshopped as and when they arise, because creatives offer a human-first approach to problem-solving.

Take your recruitment team as an example.

Let’s say the product in question is an application portal for hopeful employees to submit their resumes. Your data shows that applications are extremely low, which is halting the growth of your company.

If you apply design thinking and bring recruitment and design teams together, you might spot that the portal design has a flaw. Let’s say, the ‘submit’ button is not clearly positioned on the page, making the application process frustrating enough to make applicants give up.

Solve that, solve the problem.

Design thinking taps into the data available in each consumer touchpoint, and allows you to make informed decisions that will best serve the end user.

3. Increased customer satisfaction

As consumers, we want our products and services to look good (our purchases are a reflection of ourselves these days), work well, and deliver on their promises.

Expectations are high.

And in today’s society, digital, physical and service products regularly cross over as the customer uses multiple things in multiple ways. 

A physical product may come with an app.

A service may have a member portal.

Internal databases, external comms, marketing… each of these elements work together to support the overall brand identity. 

With design thinking principles, you place designers within different areas of the business to ensure a cohesive look and feel across the board. 

Using a signature color within your branding at any given touchpoint, as just one example, can increase brand recognition by 80%.

A cohesive customer experience is a better customer experience.

4. Design thinking improves business value

For design thinking to work effectively within your organization, it needs to come in at the C-Suite level. 

It truly needs to be embraced by the entire company, to ensure each and every member is working towards improving the experience of the end user.

When designers and creatives are distributed among departments, there is a clear (and consistent) focus on the customer and better relationships across functions. 

One company noted that distributed design increased their success rate for getting a product to market by 30%.

So we encourage you to place design leaders among the highest tiers of your organizational chart. Fashion leader Burberry has done this, and they’re noted as one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Are you embracing customer-first design thinking?

If you’re excited by the idea but are short on designers to disperse among your teams, we can help. 

Here at Design Force, we’ve curated a world-class pool of expert designers, each with the skill and passion needed to bring your vision to life. It’s like having in-house designers, without having in-house designers.

Want to know more? See what’s on offer.

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