Designers don’t have to be business savvy – there is helpBath urgently needed Dyson’s design school

Ever since I started reading Design Week, in every issue I have found some mention of the ongoing discussion on lack of business acumen among the majority of designers.

I come from the business world, and echoing Clive Grinyer’s view in Voxpop (DW 13 September), I was frustrated with how stale, boring and uninspiring the traditional frameworks of business management are.

Then I was introduced to the world of design and I loved it. At the same time, I was shocked at the sheer ignorance of even basic business concepts at senior designer levels.

This dual-sided frustration led to the recent creation of Crystals Design, which is probably the first of its kind – a ‘business design’ group. We combine the creative elements of the design world with the strategic and quantitative elements of the business consulting world.

We do this only at the strategy level – for everything else (product, communication, brand and so forth), we leverage on design groups that are specialising in these areas. We take design to the core of the business and into the boardroom.

The point is that it may be futile to try to teach, say, a furniture designer how to build revenue models, grasp the market fundamentals, do competitive landscaping, ratio analysis and valuation. Instead, let them do what they are good at – designing furniture.

The future for addressing the issue of business-design integration is to create a specialist stream called business design. Clients are screaming for that, and it definitely yields results.

As an example, for our first client, we leveraged design to create a transformed business proposition for its service line. The result was that within weeks of deploying this positioning, the client won a €2.5m (£1.75m) contract and increased its service line footprint by 40 per cent

Arpit Kaushik, Founder and chief business designer,  Crystals Design, by e-mail

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