The current issue of Business Week features a special report dedicated to assessing the value that strong design can add to an organization. The piece differentiates design as a process (not a style) that spans multiple disciplines and influences several aspects within an organization, and cites corporate leaders who understand the role of good design.
The report features opinion pieces on the value of design from people such as IDEO partner Diego Rodriguez, who proposes that good business arises from a design-centric process which incorporates marketing, research and ideas – and that uses business constraints as inspiration – with which Seth Godin might agree. RKS Design’s Ravi Sawhney and Deepa Prahalad outline four specific areas in which design can create value: understanding the consumer, mitigating risk, boosting marketing and branding efforts, and driving sustainable business practices.
The special report closes with a list of the 27 influential designers and design thinkers impacting business today. The list includes Apple’s lead industrial designer Jonathan Ive, IDEO’s Tim Brown, Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo’s game design department, and Architecture for Humanity’s Cameron Sinclair – whom recently mobilized a team to provide immediate shelter, and plan for long-term reconstruction in Haiti.
The key argument the piece ultimately strives to validate is that design – when treated as a process and not just as a visual style or aesthetic – can truly impact an organization; its understanding of how consumers use its products, its ability to better meet a market’s needs and innovate over time, and ultimately its revenues. Not to mention the value it provides to its end users – people.