The Age of Design-Centric culture

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Design is now understood to be critical to the success of businesses of all sizes, from well-established corporations to start-ups. Perhaps the next stage is for these companies to become design-centric?


What on earth is a design-centric culture?

In the late 1990s dot-com craze, you may picture designers as 20-somethings firing Nerf darts across a bar-like work environment. Since aesthetics and craftsmanship have long been associated with design, designers have been lauded as creative geniuses. A design-centric culture, on the other hand, goes beyond the job of design to instil a set of principles in everyone involved in bringing an idea to life on the project team. 


Wait, What distinguishes a design-centred organisation from others?

Design-centric companies have 2.11 times (211%) higher 10-year returns than non-design-centric companies. (The research study can be found here.) 

From the teacups we drink from to the cellphones we communicate on to the software that lets us bank online to our entertainment experiences and more, everything we use is built more carefully than we believe.


What principles are we talking about?

1. Emotional user experiences.

When you purchase a Rolls Royce, you can expect safe, comfortable, and high-performance transportation. When you buy a Rolls Royce, you may wish to feel pampered, opulent, and affluent. In design-centric organisations, emotional language is not seen as shallow, dumb, or biased. These companies’ strategic discussions typically centre on how a business decision or market trajectory will affect user experiences, and they implicitly acknowledge that well-designed offerings help them succeed financially.

A design-centric company encourages staff to study user behaviour to generate empathy. It’s hard to quantify these conclusions. Organizations that “understand” design utilise emotional language to describe products and users. Team members debate emotional resonance alongside utility and product requirements.


2. Try it, Prototype it and Improve it

Prototypes are like doodles. The key is to have fun and get your ideas out.

Prototypes of innovative ideas, products, and services are usually spread throughout offices and meeting rooms in design-centric firms. Prototypes investigate the solution space, whereas diagrams such as customer journey maps examine the problem space. 

They can be digital, tactile, or diagrammatic, but they all serve to communicate information. The practice of presenting preliminary prototypes in public suggests an open-minded culture that favours experimentation and exploration.


3. Fall seven, stand eight

If you don’t get a design right the first time, it’s not the end just yet. 

A design-centric culture offers space for growth. It creates a nurturing environment. Although the iterative nature of the design process does not encourage failure, it does understand that getting things right the first time is rare. 

PS: It takes a couple of tries for us to land on a terrific design. With every try, a better idea emerges.


4. Factory reset: The expectations

As more business leaders see the value of design, many see design thinking as a panacea for all their problems. Designers, enthralled by their newfound strategic power, frequently foster this idea.

However, the design does not fix all issues. It aids individuals and organisations in navigating the complexities of life. It promotes creativity. It’s very useful for imagining the future. Furthermore, even if expectations are adequately defined, they must be aligned with a realistic timeline—culture shifts in large businesses take time.


The questions that you should be asking yourself

  1. What do we know about the intent and context of the customer?
  2. What tests should be implemented to obtain input so that the design work may be continuously improved?
  3. How can we make seamless connections between experiences across channels?


The end: to a non-design-centric culture ;P

The ability to humanise technology and generate emotionally resonant products and services is enhanced by an organisational focus on design. 

It’s not easy to adopt this viewpoint.

However, doing so contributes to the creation of a workplace that people want to work in, one that adapts swiftly to changing business circumstances and empowers individual contributors. Because design is empathic, it encourages a more intelligent, humane approach to business.

Writing Credit – Drishti Shah

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