Success requires design leaders to deploy high-quality design talent and set the right context to ensure
Unwisely, design thinking sold a simple and snappy version of the product design process as a magic method that could be applied universally. In reality, process is nothing unless it begins within the right context (for example, with problem definition and vision) and with the right design talent.
1. Cross-silo communication
Working at the intersection of marketing and R&D, designers can play the role of translators or bridges between departments. Being able to talk people and technology enables them to facilitate effective cross-functional dialogue. This ability could be strengthened by learning the language of finance and supply chains.
2. Experience awareness
Many designers are good at grasping the subtleties of consumer perceptions and behaviours. Whether through observational research or more intuitive cultural interpretation, they situate and solve problems in a cultural context. As products and services become more complex, the ability to focus on experiences across touch-points is more highly valued.
3. Foresight and vision
Creating the future is part of every designer’s job description. While others seek data, designers spot ways to make tomorrow easier and more enjoyable than today. Fascinated by change, they excel at imagining future scenarios, anticipating new needs, and envisioning potential solutions. As businesses drown in data, clear-sighted vision is sorely needed.
4. Visualisation and prototyping
Making ideas tangible by sketching and prototyping is one of designers’ most obvious skills. As design solutions become more multifaceted, this ability will become more highly prized, but new techniques will need to be mastered—from infographics to Arduino prototyping.
5. Resolving and completing
One of designers’ most underrated abilities is pulling tangible stuff together for deadlines. While the alpha IQs wrestle with complexity and analysis paralysis, designers inch the ball forward by offering tangible solutions—in time for the key project review. Design strategists build on this discipline by producing objects of synthesis beyond design visuals.