Why Design Is The Best Bottom Line Strategy

Design

How intangibles like design raise your profits.
CREDIT: Getty Images
Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, recently released the 2017 Design In Tech report and here are some of the juiciest design details with you.

As a student of design myself, I know in my bones that design isn’t just one aspect of an app or a product. Design is an integral part of the product or the app. Design is every aspect of creative touch from the moment of conception to final completion, that is, if it’s done right.

What Is Design In Today’s Market?

What we are learning now, supporting numbers show, is that design is an all-encompassing process of offering something to the market that is complete in every way, and also inclusive. And this completion of an end product that feels great, looks great, works great, has everything to do with design, and also everything to do with ROI. Of course a flawless product brings in more money, and adds more value, I just can’t believe traditional markets are taking this long to give us designers the credit or the space in which to create.

Letting The Data Do The Talking

John Maeda is spearheading this new convergence across the design + technology industries and his report is one of the ways he uses his influence to educate. And this is important knowledge. Money in relation to design affects most of us, designer or not. So here are today’s juicy details boiled down.

Q. How do you prove design success?

A. Proof of design success by ROI is the most surefire way to show, in dollars and cents, exactly how successful the design actually was/is. The numbers don’t lie.

Q. What does design encompass?

A. “Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.” Remember, design means total completion. A flawless product from every aspect, if done right.

Q. How will this constant shift change business?

A. “At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum — driven by market demand. 100% of top business schools have student-led design clubs.”

Q. What is this shift you are referring to?

A. “We moved from “tech-led” to “experience-led” digital products as services on smartphones took over and gave access to everyone.” This shift on the consumer side actually puts even more of an emphasis on design because our expectation level of the experience is incredibly high. Users basically demand perfection, and are noisy when they don’t get it. Getting ‘the buy’ becomes much less realistic when you don’t have a complete product, meeting the users experiential expectations.

Q. Does this mean more opportunity for designers?

A. Can I get a resounding YES?! “Facebook, Google, and Amazon have collectively grown their art and design headcount by 65% over the past year.”

Q. How does design become profitable?

A. As my fellow Inc. columnist, Linda Naiman aptly points out, “Making inclusive design profitable hinges on the principle that if you want to reach a larger market, you have to reach people you’re not already reaching by being inclusive. This new frontier of design requires some technical understanding outside of purely classical design. The hybrid designer/developer, referred to as a ‘unicorn’ in the tech industry, is often relied upon to bridge that gap.”

Startups, design firms, and tech giants alike would benefit deeply from understanding where design will take us in 2017 and beyond. When we learn and develop a deep understanding of designs full potential, only then will we also recognize the value different aspects of design brings to the table, and the bank.

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