Designing Business Success
Two testimonies on the role of creatives
Think of your latest experience as a customer. What was great, what was missing? Did you find what you were looking for while browsing a store? How easy was it to get support on a purchase you made? Did you discover a new feature after updating your favorite app that made your life easier?
All of these experiences have two things in common. First, they can make or break a business. And second — those experiences are all subject of good design. In fact, having the right people at the intersection of design and business can be a huge success factor.
But before you place a job ad for a Chief Design Officer, let me share the perspective of two design professionals that joined the community of Austrian Startups for one fireside chat to talk about their role and mission as a designer.
Paulo Ferreira, now UI/UX Designer at Uberall, has always worked with companies that approach him at a very early stage of a project. He defines his role as an external advisor to challenge ideas from the beginning. In his experience, business and design priorities are often very different.
Are CEOs lacking understanding for creativity? Or do designers need more training in business and economics?
Maurizio Poletto is one of the design professionals that transitioned from his role as owner and Creative Director of his own agency to Chief Platform Officer in of the biggest banks in Austria and CEE. Following his desire to make a profound difference, his mission is to help people understand how banking works, making sure they can take care of their money since “banking is among the most important things in life — after love and health”.
In the end, both agree that the focus for designers as well as for CEOs should be the satisfaction of the end-user. “People are constantly looking for new and better ways of doing things”, as Katie Dill, VP of Design at Lyft, puts it (via McKinsey).
Takeaway #1: If you are a business…
… do not solely focus on the visual output but allow the experience and perspective of your designer or agency to challenge your ideas. When designers have a clear understanding of your business goals, they can help you find new opportunities.
Takeaway #2: If you are a designer…
… do not shy away from the C-Suite if the opportunity arises but be open to applying your knowledge in a broader area. Building an in-house design department can be an exciting journey that provides many opportunities and is anything but boring.
Recognizing opportunities and solving problems are the two unifying objectives of design and business, tackled from different perspectives but with both creativity and logic. Blurring the line of business and design can be the opportunity to find and solve challenges that have not been addressed yet.
And I think you will agree that there are plenty of problems left to solve.
How important is the role of design in your business? Are you implementing creative thinking in your problem-solving process? What is your opinion on working with external agencies vs. having an in-house design department?