How far has the economic case for design come?

Your business case for investing in design will include both qualitative and quantitative evidence. This blog focuses on the economics of innovation so we won’t spend to much time on qualitative arguments like case studies, war stories and theoretical arguments. Instead the focus is on ways that you can make a compelling financial and economic business case for design.

Design Thinking in business
The business value of design thinking is being more and more widely recognised.

That said, you’ll still need to balance both by including examples along with your analysis and there’s a great post from back in 2007 by Brian Gillespie who had just attended the DMI Conference “Improving and Measuring Design’s Role in Business Performance“ which cried out for more case studies and more qualitative examples. In short, he wanted to see more effort put into articulating the role of design in:

  • Influence on the purchasing decisions
  • Enabling strategy (new markets)
  • Enabling product and service innovation
  • Reputation/awareness/brand value
  • Time to market/process improvement
  • Customer experiences
  • Cost savings/ROI
  • Developing communities of customers
  • Good design is good for all: triple bottom line accounting for social, environmental, and business impact

Since 2007 a lot of evidence has emerged on each of these and we’ll be reviewing them in turn over the next couple of weeks and including a few new areas where design can add value. Paste any of your favorite micro-examples of end user centred design and design thinking adding practical economic value in the comments below and we’ll include them as we go.

Why design?

Everyone had a dream as a child. A fireman, a police officer, a pilot or a doctor. Every so often you meet someone who says their dream was to be a stockbroker or company executive. It throws you off balance because it’s so seemingly mundane, but it’s usually true. Some people just knew what they wanted to do from a young age and make it happen.

Peter Thomson Design Strategy
I love the discipline of design because it brings ideas to life as tangible products.

My dream was always to be a management consultant. Mainly because I always noticed bad customer experiences and believed we can do better. My first adult book (at age 11) was Iacocca. It was a ridiculously nerdy book for a kid to read but I was inspired by the journey of turning around a distressed business. Reading it subtly changed the course of my life.

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Resume tips for a career in innovation

I get asked a lot for advice about how to get a job in advertising, design or PR. Most of the people that ask me are looking for jobs as a strategist, planner, consultant or account manager. It’s not easy to get started in brand strategy and innovation.

CV Advice for strategy jobs
Brand strategy, design thinking and social media are fascinating careers but you’ve got to build your business credibility early on.

Over the years, I’ve compiled the most important things to check in your resume when applying for jobs in innovation, design and business strategy. I’ve also kept track of the best career advice that I’ve been given…

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