It is therefore clear that companies that recognize design as a strategic asset (rather then just its aesthetic value) perform much better than companies that do not.
Both UK and Sweden follow the same trend as in the US survey. The Design Index studies conducted by the Design Council of UK tracked 61 design-led household brands and found that they outperformed FTSE 100 by over 200% in a 10-year period. The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation went further by placing companies on a “design ladder”, with those that place on the top strategic importance on design driving the highest shareholder value, in comparison to businesses that are ignorant of design lying at the bottom.
Companies who have significant success usually have an appointed design director who is able to see and account for the business value of a design process, or have maintain long term working relationships with their designers. It is sometimes difficult to quantify design’s short-term impact on a business, and companies that lack the vision may find their hands tied when it comes to justifying their investment in design. Yet it is design that decides how to best position the product or service in a way that effectively addresses the target audience’s behaviour, desire and needs, allowing the business to be strongly poised in the market and successfully grow.
Thankfully, Chinese new generation seem to be basing their purchase on other values, especially those living in the coastal areas. They are rapidly upping their demands on products and services and are more than willing to pay premiums for quality.
The reach of design extends not just to US conglomerates, but also to startups. Young entrepreneurs now start their own microbrands using crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and design is vital to their success from the moment of inception. It is imperative for startup companies to incorporate design in their business strategy development, the earlier the better. In devising their strategies, bear in mind a design thinking attitude: how to engage our customers and enhance our competitiveness through design? Design should be the core of your business strategy, culture and day-to-day operations.
To meet this requirement, a company quickly need to learn how to incorporate a design process that enables the company to design products that customer actually care about. It starts with recognizing human intuition and feeding the ability to provide products and services that are based not on what you can produce with current manufacturing setup, but rather on a defined customer need. Incorporate three principles in your existing operations, products and services: inspiration, ideation and implementation.