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Where to apply & measure a value you offer (Design)

I struggled at first

" if you can't measure it, you cant improve it " - Peter Drucker

How can you measure value if no one is buying it?

That was my case at first, and then I got challenged with how to measure what I offer.

Companies and businesses are obsessed with measuring.

Business is a numbers game.

Any value should be translated into a number, such as increasing sales, reducing costs, retaining customers, or attracting talent.

If you struggle to measure the value you offer, no one will buy from you.

Because you can't improve without measuring it.

It's exactly as the quote suggests.

it's one of the most important principles in business.

The result is obvious: you lose a prospect, contract, client, or a buy-in.

It didn’t occur to me measure the value I offer. It’s not obvious or difficult to measure.

Especially when it's in a niche. I faced that challenge and problem.

I will walk you through a practical theory.

Business leadership challenged me in measuring the value of design.

How to measure design in business, projects, and companies in general.

I had to sit and use my knowledge and experience to find way to measure design in a language they love.

and you know what language business leaders love: its numbers, cost, success, increase, etc,

So what I come up with, will help others who have the same challenge, whether to adopt the same theory, tweak it, or at least trigger new ideas for them.

Designers who work in problem-solving, strategy, and innovation spheres.

Have struggled to gain buy-in from business leadership, trying to help them understand the value of design as a consultancy tool for problem-solving, creation, innovation, etc.

And don't know how to measure the value of design behind the scenes. Currently, they only measure design for digital products.

On how design improved user experience, retained users, and increased sales.

For business leaders, design is for designing an app or software pertains to the look and feel.

The benefit of design in digital products is the influence of a guiding hand behind the scenes.

A hand that facilitates reaching the end game.

Before reaching the end game, there are important values to apply and measure.

Behind the scenes is the business and strategy design discipline.

It designs a holistic view of the current state in detail, identifies barriers to avoid, and envisions the future state.

This is where leadership and designers of all kinds lack understanding.

The core discipline of design in business serves as a consultancy tool.

I talk a lot about acquisitions of design firms by prominent consulting firms and large tech companies for the tangible value that design firms offer.

By the way, I don't like the consultant label because there is a difference between a designer and a consultant.

The former designs a solution, while the latter recommends a solution.

So the problem is design being recognized by the business community in digital products only. and they’re happy they measure it against an increase in sales, experience, etc.

While they miss the value of it as a consultancy tool—where to apply it and how to measure it.

This will help many companies with a strategy and innovation unit, as well as those who will create one. It also guides them on the talents they need.

I believe every company should have a strategy and innovation unit. (Read why)

I want many companies to understand the value of design in business and how to measure it.

So they can adopt it to help them reach desired outcomes and understand how to match the style of the market in their transformation, innovation, and strategy projects.

company’s level without adopting design

What you are about to go through is a knowledge I have put together, you won't find anything similar.

I am glad that I faced such a challenge, as it led me to discover a new way to measure design methods and emphasize its role in business.

Let's get to it

There are two ways to measure the value of design at the company level and project level. and where to apply it.

Design in business achieve the following:

  • Cost <

  • Success >

  • Issues <

1. Measure by cost and success because they are intertwined

I illustrated the three levels of the company and linked material costs, a term from my auditing experience.

This led me to formulate the following practical theory:

Design has an inverse relationship with cost and success.

Ahmed Bousuwa

If you adopt design, you incur less cost and achieve a higher success rate. Conversely, the absence of design results in higher costs and a higher failure rate.

Use of design = less cost + high success rate

No design = more cost + high failure rate.

Let's apply this theory to the three levels of a company: strategic, tactical, and operational.

If you engage design at the strategy level, you incur low material costs (resources) and ensure project success in the future.

This marks the initiation of the project, and the right approach will set the direction for the future state.

But if you engage design at the tactical level, you incur average material costs.

Because the designer needs to spend time understanding what the strategy teams crafted.

going back and forth to identify risks, issues, etc., still ensuring project success in the future.

One could argue that you can achieve all that with your directors and VPs.

I can tell you, the difference lies in the approach, methods, and toolkits that a design strategist or business designer brings to help you reach outcomes. read skill companies lack

Now, imagine your team 'brainstormed ideas' and 'planned' without the skill I am referring to.

Key problems will appear at the operational level, within the project lifecycle, or post-delivery. Again, assuming VPs and directors planned the game alone.

The cost to understand and fix the issues you incur is going to be high.

A designer possesses unique skills and tools to understand, conduct work, and identify problems.

I advise engaging design between the strategy and tactical levels, while avoiding the operational level. And measure the value of design—by reducing resource costs and ensuring project success.

2. Measure by the number of issues during and post-project

When you face challenges, you start working on them, and they become your present; this is where you learn what is wrong.

As you deliver the final product, your future becomes your present, and you will learn what went wrong.

During the lifecycle of the project and post-delivery, there will be a number of issues.

The approach determines the number of issues; in the absence of design, the issues will be high in both phases.

Some issues include scope creep, budget overrun, stakeholders' disagreement, tech failure, post-delivery bugs, user adoption challenges, and not the right solution, etc.

With the design approach, you can reduce issues from zero to a minimum in both phases.

You measure the value of design by the number of issues that arise.

Applying design in the right level of company will ensure :

  • Avoiding an increase in the cost of resources

  • Ensuring a high success rate

  • Reducing the number of issues during and post-project

where to apple design and measure it

In retrospect, this provides a macro view of design as a tool to add value and how to measure it. It will certainly help you transform, innovate, create, and build new ideas.

Design informs your present to bid with confidence to your future.

For any value you create, try to find at where best to apply it to company or client and measure its benefits.

I can't stress enough the importance of this creative skill in the near future.

Look around you—the amount of automation that will take place and the increased innovation caused by the global desire are both sufficient to potentially put individuals out of work and leave a company behind.

Thanks for reading!

Ahmed Bousuwa

Ps two things I can help you with:

finding opportunities and designing the blocks of the solution. within any area: transformation, improvement, innovation, strategy, or product.

on a project you are working on, need help to set direction to reach desired outcomes