An interesting view on the economic crisis, switching focus from complex economic nodes (businesses) to the links between them (shareholders) giving a view of the big picture, greater than the sum of the nodes.
Seems to be that this industry view is matched by studies of the consumer side based on semiotics type practice, understanding the cultural links between consumers for a view of the big picture.
I’d argue the industry view can diagnose flaws in the system, but how to improve the system should be underpinned by consumer side understanding.
From age of competition to age of ?
Strikes me that we’re moving away from the age of brand on brand competition and towards communities of business that live in relationship to offer total experience to the consumer. That’s surely a big shift for business. More has been said about moving from product focus to experience focus in terms of an offer to the consumer, but to offer total experience surely means varied and increasingly rich B2B relationships.
That’s a whole can of worms.
Maybe we could say we’re moving from the age of competition to the age of governance, and that meant on many levels.
Consumer centric AND employee centric, define your people to define the vision
Because they carry the vision already
Because they will need to carry the vision going forwards
Because they are the company
Because every employee will be empowered
Because business will be played out in genuine relationships, there’s no hiding
Because it’s a grounded way of bridging the vision reality gap
Understanding comes from placing something by asking:
How productive (the doing)
How profound (the thinking)
How connected (the spirit)
A good post building on the ‘Design Thinking organisations’ debate.
The key to organisational change is in social dynamics, which are based on social values, which are socially constructed truths I’d add (post on ‘social constructs’ to come).
Social dynamics feed off relationship, and depend on good will, commitment, purpose.
To change an organisation you’ve got to understand how people tick, what motivates them etc.
Dan Pink’s book ‘Drive’ makes the statement that people are generally more motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose than the traditional stick and carrot. It’s that kind of insight that makes the difference.
If great product designs have functional and emotional elements, with the emotional side built on meaning, what about organisations? Can they have a meaning based quality to them?
8 ways to behave as a strategic designer designing for social impact, but very relevant for designers working in business.
An interesting article on where design is going. Some reflections on the reflections:
For me much of the activity around what design is has greatest value in opening up design and bringing others in. In business design needs to be relational and participatory to be strategic.
I’m working through what is unique at the intersection between design and business.
Vision resilience. For designers vision is about depth through divergence & convergence, for business it’s about clarity and resilience, robustness.
Collaboration engagement. For designers relationship is about creativity, for business it’s about frameworks, rules of engagement, consensus.
Communication timing. For designers it’s continual and flexible, for business it’s about implications and closure.
Creativity appropriation. For designers recognition is respect, in business respect is day to day appropriation (of ideas and process). This is perhaps the most directly interesting and relevant point for the article. Grasping too thinly at the creative process and accomplishments doesn’t make for a strategic role in business. A generous willingness to mix with the messy and release ownership of the juicy core of design is a start point. Clarity on what design thinking is can help a lot, in the context of learning the uniqueness at the intersection of design and business.
I guess the summary is that when design meets business high quality design expertise is essential but not the ‘solution’.
Why the local Post Office?
If David Cameron knows in his gut that losing the local Post Office would be a mistake then he needs to speak to us designers in forming his argument.
We deal in the holistic value of things day in day out.
Design strategy is process
Traditional business might have treated a design strategy as a masterplan, a series of defined steps intended to control the future; the hopes for the future would be in the plan.
The new is to see it as process in the sense that it’s a way of doing things, an attitude, an intent; the methods aren’t defined so much as the intent. It’s an organic order.
A product of a process is a reflection of the process, so a design strategy can’t but represent process.
Having said that the best design strategies are crystal clear, design strategy isn’t only process…
This article got me thinking.
The relationship between the two types of process, and ways of thinking, can be heavy going. It needs people who can bridge it.
Industrial Design always claimed to bridge between industry and consumer. Now markets and business are maturing to the point where ‘design strategist’ types bridge between old business (six sigma alone) and design thinking.
Where does ‘metrics’ come into this, for design in business?
I feel although a corporate creative competence does of course need to be managed it’s management on a different basis, defined by different values, and different kinds of metrics.
It’s along the lines that old business craves clarity and decision but new business will also need to seek depth and vision. How do you measure depth? Or vision? Or purpose? Or cultural capital?
I feel like these things require relationship, people within a corporation need to ‘feel’ something to be ‘on-board’, just as the consumer needs to ‘connect’ with something emotionally and experience it meaningfully. It’s like the designed product is a reflection of the design process, so in this new world we need new business that is connected (not only by process) and speaks in ‘depth’ and ‘vision’.
You can’t go far wrong with a Dieter Rams quote can you:
“Good Design is making something intelligible and memorable, great design is making something memorable and meaningful.”
Making something intelligible is to make sound decisions in the design process, something is memorable when it is a good design and easy to remember for making a clear statement; it becomes an icon.
But making something meaningful is better still. The meaning of something is derived from how it fits into a context, a culture, and point in time and history. A product with meaning might communicate a value like authenticity or playfulness, or remind us of something else, or the time when…
An example would be making a kettle out of copper, most people will have come across the old copper pots so straight away they’d be thinking of quality, homeliness, social hubbub in a way that wouldn’t be prompted by a plastic kettle.
Meaning depends on culture, on context and history, so we need to understand that stuff. People are inevitably engaged with their surroundings so it depends on their baggage, where they’re coming from, their lives, their journey, and habitat.
People generally respond to meaning by intuition, which is informed by experience, so someone’s understanding of meaning will depend on them and their subjective view. Intuition deals in emotion which is a very powerful motivator and compass, in a sense we can’t avoid meaning.