Sir George Cox has stated that in Britain
"We don't understand the relevance of design, suffer from lack of imagination and aren't ambitious enough.”
Yet if we look at the spend on design it is evident that whilst many organisations invest in design they do not see a significant return for it, which is hardly an incentive for them to continue, or for others to take the plunge themselves, which explains why Sir George suggests that our mantra is
"Can't innovate. Don't innovate. Go nowhere."
A key strategic role of design is making ideas tangible, telling the story of alternative futures, and defining the actual products and services to make those stories become experiences. therefore, it should be a strategic imperative that we use appropriate technologies, techniques and capabilities of design in the most effective way, maximising the return on our innovation investment. Yet, as we have said,many organisations invest in design through in-house resources or external agencies, without gaining much traction. I remember talking to an advanced projects team that were tasked with coming up with longer-term radical solutions and their complaint was that they're projects were judged by the same criteria as near term incremental projects which meant they didn't stand a chance. The project leader observed:
"Our project teams have previously carried out work creating visions of the future and identifying new customer opportunities, which has generated a substantial amount of new ideas. However we have lacked a process to convert these creative ideas into radical new concepts and prototypes that are tangible expressions of business opportunities and marketable products. We need to develop processes that support fledgling ideas and enable breakthrough ideas to be realised. A key issue is to work differently across all our disciplines (such as Research, Design, Development, Manufacturing, Marketing, Human Resources, partners and sub-contractors) as a continuum in order to deliver inspiring solutions to the marketplace that pack a sustainable competitive clout.
In a nutshell, ideas must be allowed to break through barriers and present themselves to decision makers.“
Picture uploaded by sekimura. Used with thanks under CC.
Several challenges are contained in this statement that are essential to delivering a sustainable stream of winning new products and services. These challenges include better up-front design processes that support the emergence of more substantial concepts that are not killed by an inappropriate response to the uncertainty that is often the outcome of conventional risk management techniques. Collaboration between specialist disciplines that enable concepts to be assessed against the capabilities available in-house and outside. stronger links between strategic intent and project ambitions. Working differently means adopting different tools or adapting those we already have to achieve different ends.
Picture uploaded by MoonSoleil . Used with thanks under CC.
If we look in a dictionary we will find it is defined as:
2. Treasonable cooperation with an enemy
Picture uploaded by Yodel Anecdotal. Used with thanks under CC.
"In a world of largely saturated markets and many alternatives, astonishing the customer [through superior design] is the path to exceptional growth." -- Robert Heller, marketing guru