What I’ve learned working in a design-focussed team

19 FEB. 2019 | EMILY O'NEILL

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Today, a universe of organisations is leveraging design to drive business forward. [Design Maturity Report]

Design Deep Dive

Recently InVision released a highly detailed report which explores how design practices are shaping business performance. The report compares the design behaviours of thousands of companies around the globe, from small businesses to large enterprises, and delivers a rating level of maturity for both teams and organisations. It is the largest global study of design in business.

The Impact

It was reported that an organisation that leads with design-thinking benefit from more positive business outcomes overall. This may not seem surprising — market leaders like Apple, IBM and Nike have all used design thinking (a creative and collaborative approach to problem-solving) to create innovative products and services, gaining a competitive advantage in the market. Design practices are proven to directly impact product quality and operational efficiency, business profitability and market position.

In fact, companies with high design maturity see cost savings, revenue gains, and brand and market position improvements as a result of their design efforts. - Design Maturity Report

My Experience

I began to think about my personal design maturity over the years, as well as the recent cultural shift in workplaces towards a design-focused mindset. My experience has been solely in agencies; both large and small. I pondered the pivotal moments that have transformed my thinking and way of working as a designer.

As an empath, I strive to bridge departmental gaps in workplaces and endeavour to create an open dialogue about the process from all angles of production. This initiative, driven mostly with the aim of creating operational efficiencies, sparked my interest in design-thinking and cultivating a design-focused environment. It taught me the benefits of shared knowledge and experience for better creativity, collaboration, and productivity. It instilled in me the power of cross-disciplinary teams.

Design-thinking groups

Thoughtful Business

Currently, I work with a team of developers and project managers that design together. It comes so naturally to us that it’s hardly worth talking about the who, what & how. It’s just how we work. It is, however, worth talking about the why, beyond the major business benefits documented in the InVision Maturity Report.

Being part of a design-led organisation means you’re all on the same team, with one shared purpose; this leads to greater alignment, engagement, and overall motivation. Our human-centric mindset enables better decision making in our development of products and services. Our collaborative culture promotes innovation and experimentation leading to better solutions.

We have benefitted from efficiencies in processes and overall productivity.

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Joint Adoption

A design-led practice may come naturally for our team, but this way of thinking isn’t always a priority for our clients. We have found that joint-adoption of a design-thinking methodology delivers the best results. In saying that, we approach every project collaboratively; involving clients in user research, workshops and shared tools and software. Close collaboration builds trust and understanding — this approach creates an environment for joint creation and ensures product knowledge is carried through post-launch.

Nurture

At 24, we continue to foster a design-focused environment. As a team, we are participating in IDEO.org’s Human Centred Design 101 course which requires us to tackle a social challenge as a team following the methodology and process of human-centred design. We hope the course will enable us to further hone our skills, and continue to nurture a culture and mindset of design-thinking. Watch this space — we will be updating our progress along the way on Linkedin, Instagram, Medium & Facebook.

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