Business Design Brings Human-Centric Mindset Into Building A Business

Sherif Labib, Senior Business Designer at PwC Luxembourg (Photo © Serge Deuces)

In recent years, businesses across the globe have acknowledged the value that design adds to any outcome they are pursuing. While many associate design with creating aesthetically pleasing products, it actually is a process of envisioning and creating new solutions – whether physical products, methods, systems, or even business models – to solve the problems people face.

In the world where people have countless options to fulfil their needs with, design has become even more crucial. Today, it is the users, not the producers, who possess the decision power. For this reason, business can no longer rely solely on the so-called market push approach that has been widely used in the previous decades.

And this is where design enters, bringing in the idea of a conversation instead of a monologue. By listening before speaking, designers create products that are more empathetic and resonate better with the end user. This is particularly important in today’s option-rich markets.

Alongside design, the term ‘design thinking’ has gotten popular. While many associate this term with workshops and sticky notes on the wall, design thinking is much more. It is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Designing the business

While design itself has been a part of business for centuries, business design is a new form of it. A decade ago, the term was first used in the context of consulting, but today, the term is used everywhere from the public sector to entertainment, banking, and technology.

In order to solve challenges organisations face, business design combines design mindsets with business tools and methodologies. In business design, the main purpose is to frame, direct, and inform the design process through a business lens to ensure that design solves problems effectively; translate design solutions into value and impact through a language that business stakeholders relate to; and use human-centered methodologies to strengthen the business and financial components of design work.

This may sound similar to management consulting but it is crucial to understand that the two are not the same. While management consultants focus on increasing business efficiency and optimising performance, business designers remind that all business activities have an underlying social dimension, and that this sort of social innovation must always be human-centered. Similarly, management consulting focuses on bringing new technologies to optimise existing solutions while business design works closely with end users to come up with innovative solutions that are, once again, based on human-needs.

Moreover, management consultants focus on maintaining good relationships with the people who have the most impact on the work, while business designers, in turn, find it essential to transform ideas into tangible prototypes and test in real environments while trying to avoid miscommunication. Management consultants also focus on averting risks while business designers see them as an opportunity to innovate by pushing the existing limits.

At its best, business design is not competing with management consulting or vice versa. Instead, both are complementing each other from different perspectives in the process of creating valuable business that meets the needs of the end-users, and by doing so, stays in business.

Read the full article “Business design and the future of business” on PwC Luxembourg’s blog.

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