In a of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) the situation is more complicated today than we wish for and we see no signs that this complexity will slow down in the near future. This means organizations must act, think and work in a way that is completely different than before just in order to meet the biggest challenge of them all: Tomorrow!

©Matias Rengel

for the future

Today’s competitive landscape is defined by one word: disruption. And with all the challenges ahead for humanity it seems that one particular underlying problem is complexity. The complexity to navigate in our world today is overwhelming and needs to be adressed, regardless if it comes to environmental, social or economic matters. What we are dealing with is not only digitalization and digital transformation, but also to help people and organizations to navigate in a truly world.

Know the future. Own it. Design it.

Design is the tool that can help bring order and coherence to the chaos of our hyper-connected and complex world. Through empathy and user research, we can take great complexity and simplify it, make it more understandable and useful for every day life. Organizations are going to need people who can manage innovation and bring relevance, structure and stability in a chaotic world. Design is the right tool to take on topics such as inclusion, tolerance and equality.

Design is not by technology. It is by needs and hopes and an urgency for a world that can accommodate; empathy, equality, diversity and security for all.

Designers have one superpower in this matter, it’s called empathy. The profound idea that there is power in empathy has never been more true. Empathy lets you understand by heart the situation of others. In a world that is data-driven and becoming more and more complex we need empathy.

Design is the method of bringing value to everyday life

A business design strategy for the future is to be a clear and visible leader in sustainable solutions. Every smart business leader embrace the idea of ​​empathic design based on insights –because this can be a crucial factor for success.

The Culture and how to navigate chaos?

Being design-driven means treating design as a partner and as a leader in an . To be a truly design-driven , design needs to be in the room when major decisions are made about future business strategies.

In our complex world, designers are highly adapted to a holistic view of both products and human needs. We also have an empathetic ability to understand abstract situations, and as designers we can see things other people can’t.

Culture is the backbone of business strategy and design strategy. However, it is important that you have a solid design philosophy that can really give value to ordinary people.

© Tanmay Vora

As this brilliant picture from Tanmay Vora shows, we must drastically change our way of organizing and managing our business. This type of perspective is invaluable when we design products and services or help organizations to navigate through a volatile environment. That’s why we need to keep the design deeply involved and linked to the company’s heart; it will not only make our company truly design-oriented, but will also benefit our culture, our productions and the end users.

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.

— Charles Brower

A design organization must truly embrace a design perspective and every day we must ask ”are we doing the right stuff?” and ”are we doing our stuff right?”. Most important of all, there must be an culture that can nurture the crazy, the odd, the not so common, the questioning and the self critique. We must be masters of letting people grow beyond their own imagination, never let enthusiasm slip away and always encourage creativity.

The Business of design

Design is not an option, an add-on or decoration. Design is what we are doing, our end-product. Design is what we are.

We need to reinvent design to become a relevant partner and find new ways to do business. Companies today need design to survive, to understand the new world and to handle complex future scenarios.

People today no longer care about possessing — they care about connecting.

The biggest challenge for many companies today is that even if you have lots of data to analyze in order to understand your market, you can no longer play it safe. Risks must be taken and those who are willing to invest in high risk projects and create a corporate culture that can embrace brave initiatives, will be the winners.

Service Design or Design Thinking is a user-centered method. It may be about development of services, offers, organizations, important social functions or larger ecosystems. By involving the people involved throughout the development process, relevance, dedication and loyalty are created.

New way of thinking, new way of working

Every design delivery needs to be authentic. It needs to be real. It needs to be convincing.

In order to be the leader in the business you must establish a culture of excellence. That means that you deploy the best practice there is and nurture a culture where questioning and risk taking is hard coded into the everyday life. There must be an 360 view on every project and you must talk about team, people and ambition instead of resources.

The only future worth building includes everyone. Period.

We must break the status quo of hierarchical decision making, overcome a focus on optimizing rather than innovating, and celebrate learning from failure. That means building a culture where people feel comfortable trying things that might fail, and it starts with senior leaders’ attitudes and role modeling.

In this stage we need to bring everyone into the design process early and let every team member play a significant role in planning and executing in every project.

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