Five Ways Not To Design

October 26, 2016

Design is not how it looks. It’s how it works. Service design, in particular, is a business development process that can transform an organisation to be customer centred, empathetic and agile. But only if the whole business is actually on board.

Here’s five ways of how NOT to do it:

1. Refuse to change any part of your business
In this case design is treated as an add-on, with the hope that it boosts your company’s appeal. The source of the problem is that the design team is allowed to propose only solutions that can be made with your current process. This is guaranteed to result in more of the same.

2. Stepping outside your competence
Companies have to implement the design, not designers. Execution is difficult and it won’t work if it isn’t done the way it was intended to be done. It is important to understand in what arena you can be best, and innovate there, not to try to copy what you think others are doing.

3. Something for everyone
Design for experience or design for aesthetics. In either case, it is important to design for someone, not everyone. All of the brands and products that people admire, have a specific target in mind. The one’s no one can remember were designed by committee and were intended to appeal to everyone.

4. Try to copy someone else’s success
“We’d like to be the Apple of (insert industry)” is a common but completely useless request. Success comes from culture, purpose and values and the way the fruit company does it is not the way you do it. Trying to replicate someone else’s success ends up in an inconsistent experience that cannot be sustained anyway.

5. Consider design a menu of non-related items
Applying design in some areas when convenient, and not in others, can feel economical and controlled. However, this exacerbates the silo effect found in most companies. The best user experiences are integrated throughout the business and requires the removal of silos, so that departments can work together, not the opposite. Yes, its true that applying strategic design always ends up being a bigger project than initially envisioned. It is equally true, that if you follow the process to the end, the results will improve your brand, increase your customers’ loyalty and reduce costs.