Design – adding value in unexpected places

Lots of brands understand how design can improve the customer journey – but is it time for companies to think about improving the employee journey?


This question – posed by Virgin Atlantic head of design Luke Miles – was one of many insights that peppered the Design Council’s Leading Business by Design conference, held this week.

Building on last year’s report of the same name, the Leading Business by Design Conference presented examples of design’s value to brands including Philips, Herman Miller and Rolls Royce.

There were some familiar stories – such the Waitrose’s launch of the Essential Waitrose own-label range, which grew like-for-like sales by 16 per cent in the first 12 weeks.

There was also a look into the huge investment Barclays has made into its design team, taking over the 22nd floor of the bank’s Canary Wharf HQ and recruiting talents such as customer experience director Clive Grinyer and designer Peter Dalton, formerly of Rain Room creator rAndom International.

But some of the most interesting insights were about how design is being used by organisations in unexpected ways. As many speakers said, a lot of the value a designer can bring to an organisation isn’t necessarily seen in traditional outputs such as products or services.

Diageo’s global design director Jeremy Lindley revealed that the brand had used design thinking to overhaul its recruitment process.

Lindley says, ‘We looked at whether we actually had to recruit, or whether we could, for example, have a system of building up a series of contacts.

‘The way a designer thinks when they are designing a product or other output was very helpful to this project. A designer will spend a lot of time observing a problem and thinking about the process.’

One of the things many companies cited was that redesigning office spaces could significantly improve performance, with recently appointed Baroness Martha Lane-Fox rather cheekily suggesting that the Houses of Parliament could do with some interior design attention.

And it was Miles who suggested that the next big challenge for designers – familiar with looking at how companies interact with their customers – could be to look at how they interact with their staff.

After the customer journey, the employee journey?

Hide Comments (4)Show Comments (4)
  • RitaSue Siegel November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Miles is 100% correct. We are working on searches for customer experience directors and vps and employee experience involvement and enhancement t is definitely a key to delivering great customer experience.

  • RitaSue Siegel November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Any links available to videos of conference presentations?

  • Sue Daun November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Chairing the adding value session was particularly inspiring as we saw guardians of global brands like Philips, Waitrose and Barclays supporting something we at Interbrand believe passionately about – the idea that brand-led design can be used as a vehicle to deliver solutions in line with business goals, ultimately adding value and contributing to brand strength.

    For more info, head to our blog to hear what Interbrand Global Chief Creative Officer had to say:

  • Margarita Ktoris November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Videos of the event will be coming soon. In the meantime you can read up on Design Council’s highlights here:

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