May the Design Be With You

May the Design Be With You

Organizations are changing drastically. Why shouldn’t we?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

[A. Einstein]





We are living in a world where classic “brick and mortar” organizations, that base their business model entirely on selling physical products, are beginning to disappear. Actually is the dawn of two “new” kind of organizations:

  • pure play: focused only on offering services.
  • bricks and clicks: offering both physical products and services.

Other than companies, also the networks between companies and customer is shifting: companies focused on virtual networks are able to offer services and products to their customer in a cheaper way than other classic companies having to manage physical network assets.

We are talking about servitization: a trend consisting on selling add-ons, like services, that supplement and enhance their traditional product offerings and product capabilities.

Nike, with Nike+, is one of the best examples of servitization so far. The “Just do it” company added a little device in their footwear that is now able to let people monitor their physical activity and to track other information.

To avoid collapse, companies are forced to adapt and they have to hire people with the right skill for a new market and continuously in motion.

I think that designers will be essentials for these new kind of companies. For this reason this is the right time to acquire new skills for this ”new” world.

During the 20th century companies invested on lowering their internal costs (for example Time and Motion study, business process reengineering and supply chain management). 

Thinking that competition is still based on cost is utopistic, on the contrary companies are competing on differentiation: being able to create relentlessly new products and services who satisfy customer needs… in few words the designer’s job.

Being affected by the virus of differentiation means for companies that they have to change their mindset.

It’s quite useless to strive for perfection: it will often require too resources on time and money. Market requires new products and services, and it should be done quickly too. Speaking about this topic, it comes to my mind how painting evolved in history. After the first prototype of camera was born, would it be useful to keep focusing on creating photorealistic paintings?

During 1800, after the camera was invented, the trend quietly shifted to impressionism: it would have been useless to invest a lot of time in paintings if something “similar” could be created quicker and cheaper, even if the goals of these two techniques to model reality are completely different.



So, where to focus from now on?

I suppose the first step for a better future will be investing to create adhoc-offering to customers: personalization will be the next big thing. Companies will need to create different products/services for each personas they want to address.

The major keypoint to innovate constantly is creativity.

And that’s why designers’ skill and the requirements of new concept of organizations complement each other. As it is said in this article design means “creating something to satisfy one or more objectives through an innovative and creative mindset”

What could companies do? And what could you do?

Good, one step at a time


What companies can do:

  • Collaboration with client and customers
    Projects have to be managed through cooperation, avoiding “turn key” offerings. Partnership may slow down a project at first, but in the medium/long term this will enhance the global efficiency of the process. We have to forget that there’s a strict division between customers and suppliers. Companies should conceive these figures as a whole team able to give different feedbacks and different values to the same goal.
  • Avoid to manage and constrain projects under budget limitations. Budget problems are only one of the features of that problems, not the main and only limitation.


What you can do:

  • The perfect solution doesn’t exist
    Just try to find something that’s good enough, you will have time to improve it. If you manage in understanding this way of thinking, you will solve problems and projects better, faster and more efficiently.
  • The customer is your friend
    Consider your customers as part of the team. If you would be able to co-create value with him, you will gain a lot of insight and you could understand their latent needs better.
  • Prototypes
    Create something tangible, or visible, whenever you can. Minimum viable products are essential to have a lot of feedbacks and thus re-iterate your processes.
  • Creativity tools and techniques
    Exploit all the different tools and techniques that enhance and empower you creativity skills, just like with design thinking. (If you want to know more about this topic, click here)



Understanding people means foresee the future.

Marco Carniel









What do you think about the topics in this article?

Let me know by commenting in the bottom section, I would be happy to talk with you.


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