Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses. However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.
How can Design help my business?
When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience. The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it. The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.
When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.
It sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.
Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.
Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.
Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval. Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.
Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot. The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.
Which company has applied Design thinking processes? Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.
To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.