Design is a Connector in Business

Ton Borsboom, my ex-colleague at GE/Fitch (a General Electric and Fitch joint venture in Asia), and now Senior Director at Philips Design Consulting, shares his view about how design and designers need to be connectors in today’s business by reaching across all touch points and stakeholders.

I also like how he proposes that companies should engage with designers at the very early stages of the discussion. This implies that design is a strategic activity and has the most value add at the beginning or the top of the decision making chain.

The complexity of our world is increasing and in order to survive, companies have to learn how to operate in changing, complex eco-systems of intertwined partners. Design has a lot to offer business beyond our traditional role of delivering on the function, form and emotion of products. Solutions are no longer always a product, they are increasingly combined with a service. Therefore service design, where we work as a connector across the whole consumer experience, always keeping our focus on what all stakeholders need and expect, is becoming increasingly important in achieving the optimum service.

In addition, by involving Design earlier in business processes, we can support the strategic agenda. We actively inspire the business to think differently and create better, qualified ideas and directions – greatly improving the business process of innovation. Designers have the ability to make issues and ideas visible and accessible to all stakeholders involved and facilitate a collaborative environment, for example through experience flows and early prototyping. These tools help to create a shared understanding making it easier for other experts to step in, quickly grasp the context and contribute. Working as a connector in this way we help all stakeholders to progress. In the same way, Design Consulting can be a great inspirer when creating joint innovation projects with third parties. Today we are seeing the role of Design in business developing into one of a true partner.

By the way, in most design centric companies such as Apple and Philips, no one really uses the term Design Thinking to describe Design Thinking activities…it’s just Design. Strange huh?

Via: Philips Design

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Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)

Brian is a multidisciplinary Design Leader with more than 18 years of experience leading strategic design programs that drives successful Brands and Fortune 500 businesses such as GE, Philips, Nakamichi, Flextronics, Ericsson, Hannspree, and HP. His passion is in helping organisations leverage on Design Driven Innovation to make people’s lives better.

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