What makes Designers relevant to business?

The maturity of Design within organizations

From small startups to large corporations now understand the value and impact of Design, it has become more than a “nice to have” department and is now considered a business capability.

Yes! We as designers have been seating and having a voice at the business table for quite a while now, something that a couple of years ago wasn’t happening as they only saw us as the “picture makers” or the “can you make these Powerpoint slides pretty?”; but now we are helping them raise the bar for business success in a world of so much competition and constant change.

But why are Designers relevant to business?

They have a human-centered approach

Designers provide a different way to innovate and design valuable solutions from a human perspective, which implies leaving behind the “solution first” approach and shift it into a user-centered approach.

It’s better to first ask ourselves and understand what our users/customers need, what motivates them, what’s their context, which are their main pain points and barriers that prevent them to achieve their goals and why?, all those questions eventually will lead us to the point in which we can start figuring out ways to provide them real value through products or services, or whatever the solution may be.

They know how to fail fast and cheap

Designers know how to create concepts that communicate the value proposition of a solution through various prototyping methods and test them with users, knowing that those concepts may not work as intended the first time and need to evolve.

To create a concept, we don’t need to have the final solution already constructed, it would take a lot of time and resources, instead, there are different ways to test a solution from emulating an app’s interface on paper or create an experience with some cardboard boxes and some average people that could act as the front line staff of a service. Sounds fun right?

They know how to deal with uncertainty

Designers know how to tackle complex challenges even when they don’t have any idea or clue of what solution they are going to come up with or which difficulties are going to arise through their problem-solving process.

The superpower to deal with uncertainty is the skill of knowing how to explore, understand and define the problem they are facing using various explorative techniques such as ethnographic research that help dig into people’s heads to really understand for who we’re designing for. And the power of creativity which makes us go into a divergent phase to come up with lots of ideas without fear of thinking about crazy or wild ideas that will evolve through time as we start testing and iterating them.

They are curious

Designers need to question everything they see and hear, digging into the whys of everything and avoiding the bias of making vague assumptions before really understanding the root of a problem.

They like collaborating with others to create better solutions

Designers are open to working with other non-designers. It’s not enough to think only about the users, they need to have a business sense which means understanding the feasibility and viability of their solutions and this means working with business people who may be in charge of implementing the final solution.

Co-creating ideas with other people of different backgrounds enrich ideas by having different perspectives of what could work or not and also empowers everyone in a team to stand out and defend them.

These are some of the skills that I’ve seen that great design teams that I’ve worked with have. These “superpowers” are not something that Designers are born with, it takes time, practice and exposure to master them. This is how Designers add extraordinary value to companies, but what I think that makes a difference is when they share and teach to other parts of an organization, their mindset, the resilience to any problem that arises and the intention to embrace change and transformation for the better.

What other superpower do you think makes a great Designer?

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