"Every day, I am pitched by startups hoping to change the world and some actually do. Lately however, it seems that many entrepreneurs are confusing creativity with innovation. Now more than ever, I see apps, services, and companies that are uninspired or uninspiring. While this itself is not a problem, the fact that many of these ideas are funded creates a benchmark for mediocrity." Brian Solis
People-First Design: Download the Paper
Enlightened companies are talking about design and its benefits like never before. Product, brand and service design are on the agenda because they speak volumes about the company that produced them, its values and priorities. It is also good business, as smart design makes money.
Unfortunately so few do this or do so remotely well. One cannot attend a design or marketing conference without Apple being lauded as the pinnacle of design thinking. I recently was a Keynote speaker at the Tsinghua International Design Management Symposium in Shenzhen, China and joked with fellow presenters about who would be first to mention Apple. The joke is actually a bitter one because there are few other companies to cite.
There are many reasons for this very real drought. The first is that design and its practice has been made overly complex. We have assigned words, processes and tools to design that confuse more than enlighten. Now “design” is analogous to “strategy”, it is a word that has come to mean so much that it means almost nothing when we hear it.
The second reason is putting design at the heart of an organization is tough stuff. Business is complex with many competing priorities and focuses. Too often design is viewed as a supporting player. Where design is at in business today holds eerie parallels to where branding was ten years ago. Design advocates are attempting to convince the C-Suite that a Chief Design Officer should be at the ‘big-boys’ table.
For design and design management to be valued it has to demonstrate a clear return on investment. It will do so by solving business problems, by putting people first and by making each person believe that whatever was designed was designed solely for them.
What Digital Agency Clients, Staff and Leaders Say in Private
Digital agencies enjoy a reputation of being cool, cutting-edge and creative. They even have a bit of a bad-boy persona because they talk about challenging the status quo. Their offices are hip and their employees are hipsters. They are positioned as the future of marketing and advertising.
Read the article in Advertising Age.