Accelerate your innovation with design

Organisations are increasingly embracing the concept of design thinking, but not all design is the same. Good design deeply understands context. It designs for the long term, not the short term. It puts the human at the centre. When these elements are present, design is a transformative force for innovation and growth.


What is good design?

What is design, really – and what is good design? Sometimes the concept gets boiled down to making cool things for the sake of it, but it’s so much more than that. In its purest form, good design is invisible. It blends seamlessly. When something works well, it naturally looks and feels good.

That’s the kind of design we do at Designit; design for how it works, how it looks, and most importantly, how it feels. Because at its core, design is the art and science of solving problems and innovating with purpose.

You’ve probably noticed the proliferation of design thinking – today it shows up everywhere. Businesses host design workshops to generate new ideas every day, and they often come away with a wall of sticky notes to prove it. But with a closer look, it’s clear that design thinking, as it’s practiced today, is missing something essential.

Not all design is equal.

To illustrate what design thinking today lacks, consider the collector’s fallacy, which describes how the good feeling that comes from producing and collecting ideas becomes a substitute for actually doing the work. Design all too often starts – and then ends – with ideas alone. But ideas are cheap, and this approach is problematic.

When you overemphasise the need for new ideas, design becomes superficial. It tends to rely on knowledge acquired through very brief, limited contact with the end user. And without meaningful data and information, it’s impossible to understand the context behind ideas. What you end up with is design that professes empathy and user-centredness, but only on the surface.

Because the act of generating new ideas privileges a fresh perspective, it’s usually assumed that it’s easier for a novice mind to come up with unbiased ideas. But when you minimise the value of expertise, you lose out on the context that leads to meaningful outcomes. Good design calls for an integration of both – deep expertise complemented by creative, fearless thinking.

Good design leads to growth.

Once it’s moved beyond the idea stage, design can be transformative for innovation and growth. Let’s look at two applications of design that we use to help our clients achieve growth: speculative design and designing for AI.

Speculative design fuses conjecture and research to antipicate potential ‘black swan’ events that would otherwise be missed. By revealing the hidden perspectives that don’t show up in day-to-day operations and forecasting, you’ve inverted the pyramid to focus on what matters most for growth.

Designers are used to building things in a deterministic way, and most of design is built for deterministic systems. But modern AI requires a system designed for a series of probabilities, which requires you to approach it with a whole new data-driven model of thinking and tooling. Designing for AI demands the highest level of design thinking to help you unlock a competitive edge and enable a greater potential for growth.

Put design to work.

How can you harness the power of design to accelerate your innovation? First, design is more than a press release – to implement it successfully, decision makers and planners must take a principled stand toward it. If design innovation doesn’t have a place in your corporate strategy, it needs one.

Design that drives innovation requires new business models that prioritise long term profit and growth. In the process, humanity must remain at the centre. Your design and innovation will only succeed when you fit it around the human. After all, good design feels so natural that it becomes invisible.

Going beyond the sticky note takes effort. When it’s done in the right way, design is hard. The good news is that it’s possible to generate true creativity and implement design thinking at scale. Because when design is centred on the human and focused on the future, innovation is infinite.

Want to explore how design innovation can shape the future of your organisation? We’d love to help you. Let’s talk.