Apart from improved financial performance – what can design can bring to an organisation?

We all know design can improve the bottom line – but what else can it do?

Laura Haynes

‘In answering this question, we first have to consider what we mean by design. Too often design is associated only with an output – an object, a look, the clothing worn by a product or organisation. This is incredibly important because when something is well designed, it works well and creates clarity, difference, understanding, loyalty and change. It inspires, instructs and informs. But a design approach can fundamentally change an organisation for the better. It brings a new way of thinking and acting to the heart of an organisation. It focuses on core purpose, innovation and establishes new processes for exploration. It puts the user at the centre of the experience and examines the context of how things are done, it finds new and better ways to do things and express ideas. In short, it delivers better.’

Laura Haynes, chairman, Appetite

John Mathers

‘Our Leading Business by Design research, which we showcased at our Summit last week, shows a clear connection between design, customers and financial results. However, aside from financial performance the most important thing design can bring to a business is an ability to radically innovate. Radical rather than incremental innovation challenges existing offerings and schemes and creates genuinely new opportunities and markets. As our report says, “…With design, your company will be recognised, and loved, by your consumers for breakthrough ideas, exciting products, exciting campaigns; brands that you can adore”. [Global Design Manager, Reckitt Benckiser].’

John Mathers, chief executive, Design Council

Shaun Bowen

‘A successful brand identity is one that is as meaningful inside the organisation as outside it; one that influences the company’s culture, builds pride and loyalty, and results in happier, more motivated people. Our work for Bear is a great example of design that’s inspired real brand love internally. Trust me, nothing makes those guys happier than getting dressed up in a bear suit.’

Shaun Bowen, creative partner, B&B Studio

Joel Bailey

‘Service design is like organisational therapy. The cause of so much customer and staff frustration is often tribal departmentalism, which erects pointless barriers to simplicity. Service designers overcome this by bringing both groups together to work collaboratively to challenge these barriers. The key thing is for leaders to support the process through to real system change.’

Joel Bailey, director of service design, Capita

Emily Penny

‘Writing agencies’ submissions for the Design Effectiveness Awards is something I hugely enjoy – it’s so worthwhile to remind clients and designers of just how much impact design has. But a spike in sales is one thing. When designers develop the vision and tools to build a brand for the long-term, they deliver much greater value. And for many service brands and charities, it’s not only about the bottom line. Design can make ideas tangible for internal and external audiences alike.’

Emily Penny, co-founder, Colourful Design Strategy

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