Design Thinking has been a go-to word for the last few years in almost every industry, and the pandemic has only highlighted the need for using Design Thinking at every level. Most organizations have realised the importance of being flexible and having a more structured approach towards problem-solving, instead of being in a fire-fighting mode all the time. Agile methodologies laid the foundation for organisations to think flexibly, but the true boost to effective problem-solving comes from Design Thinking.
Organisations desperately need dynamic, creative thinkers who are capable of re-imagining or revamping business processes and systems, approach problem-solving with a design thinking mindset, and create fresh value for customers and consumers. Enter the Design Strategist!
Management students have been traditionally instructed in aspects of business that revolved around productivity, finance, marketing, and human resources. However, there is a growing realisation of the value of Design Strategy, which takes the Design Thinking attitude, and applies it towards business strategy. Any strategic execution in business requires a good understanding of the innovation and design of the initiatives being implemented. As the pandemic has proven, the need for organisations to have the capability to innovate, revamp, and quickly redesign processes and strategies has never been greater.
Design Strategists are systems thinkers, combining creative and analytical skills to deliver strategies that make an impact. They look beyond obvious reasons and surface symptoms to approach a problem from a different angle, gain a deep understanding of an issue, and find new ways of solving it. They are also master story-tellers, able to create compelling narratives and engage with customers and clients. Design Strategists basically create a positive impact through design.
There is a common misconception that creative people are a constant fountain of ideas and solutions, and that a designer is all that is needed to solve a problem. However, Design Thinking itself is a process involving rigorous examination and analysis, as well as testing out ideas before an effective solution is generated. Design Strategists take that one step further, with a truly collaborative process that helps match people’s needs with business viability and technical feasibility.
In our rapidly changing world, design acts as the fundamental building block for business planning and strategy, because after all, it is great design that makes for a successful product, a great user experience or ground-breaking new technology.
While most companies today dream of coming up with game-changing innovations like Apple, or disruptive innovation like Facebook, many are disappointed with the results they get. This is mostly because their current analytical processes are only geared towards refining current knowledge and producing small improvements.
Design Strategists bridge this gap, having the ability to design specific, goal-oriented, intuitive strategies, tools, and processes. Their systems design skills also allow them to chart the path that can utilise small improvements that can help support and realise the breakthrough innovations that are desired.
‘Design strategy’ will be a key skill for new age roles in new-age companies. Professionals with an understanding of design thinking will become thought leaders of tomorrow working with strong teams who can help organisations achieve their strategic goals and maximise their growth potential.