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The one skill that companies and individuals need

It's needed now more than ever

Not everyone can assess what they lack.

its easier for an outsider to tell you what you need.

It hasn't occurred to me that I would be forming opinions about what companies are missing.

but due to what I do and the changes in business and market dynamics, I see the importance of it in helping companies achieve their goals.

In the past, achieving goals was simple; now, it requires a different skillset and mindset.

But the problem lies in the old formulas still living in the minds of many, still being used to evolve business.

What’s missing from their formula is something they can employ in many areas across all sectors. Much like a sneaker, you wear it to any event.

Design in business is what companies lack, it is also an opportunity for individuals to gain as a skill.

Many think they know what design is, just like they know what a tablespoon is for. but when it comes to business, design is often perceived as colors, shapes, patterns, etc.

Design is mindset first, then a skill.

It's a practice that has existed since the beginning of civilizations.

Life evolved and developed through designing many aspects of it, from buildings, roads, to equipment, and means of transportation.

Anything successful is because it's designed, not just planned. This applies to your life and career as well.

Planning is surface-level work, following a sequence of logic often used for organizing events.

Design forces you to think in details, in-depth, and holistically. Through it, you uncover new areas, identify blind spots, and make connections.

This is how every business perceive design:

how we perceive design

I changed my perception when I developed a growing interest in design and discovered various areas within it.

That's when I knew what I wanted to become—a design strategist.

Behind every piece in the images above, regardless of their look and feel, lies a great amount of work.

From understanding, researching, asking questions, ideating, testing, and iterating to arrive at the final product, there is a creative process in each of these steps.

The importance of this process in solving, creating, and innovating is frequently underestimated by many companies and individuals in business, where it is needed the most now more than ever.

The skills of 19th century won't solve your companies biggest challenges.

The result of not adopting design skills

You loose market share, stay behind or failing to meet the style of current market.

Companies attempting to transform are facing challenges. They struggle to identify their needs, and consultants often fail to address them correctly.

there is a difference between a designer and a consultant when it comes to solving problem. You can read more about the unbundling of consulting firms.

Many lack understanding in the realm of the physical and digital world, especially in finding new ways to retain or attract new customers.

Companies can't figure out how to enhance the employee experience with the right tools and skills.

Most companies in the world are in transition period. going from 1.0 to 2.0 and in fact they should be 3.0 with recent advance is AI, robotics and automation.

They can frog leap to 3.0 but with right skills to bridge gap in between.

Some will succeed at carrying their legacy and some wont.

Objections to design

Some large companies have begun hiring designers after consulting firms advised them to do so.

This move is aimed at better understanding their needs and facilitating transformation.

Unfortunately, others who can't afford consulting miss out on valuable advice. The reason I am sharing this post is in the hope that many companies come across it.

It's the right thing to do. That's what I have been emphasizing in all my posts—the missing variable in the equation.

But those who paid for the advice find that it is not working for them.

Designers often encounter objections internally, coming from both leadership and middle management.

Design is often perceived as something soft, mainly centered around making things aesthetically beautiful.

So, leadership doesn't buy in.

That happens for a few reasons. Leadership roles often don't accept being told how to conduct business and are stuck in the past with their old formulas.

The second line of the barrier is the managers and directors, stuck in their stagnating skills from the 19th century. and perceive new formulas as a threat.

Whether companies are aware or unaware of design in business, there is a loss of value if the practice is not adopted.

Design in business

I have coined the term 'Design in Business.' How else can I differentiate it from other design disciplines?

Its origin stems from design thinking practice and other areas such as user experience design, business, and strategy design.

Definition of design by IDEO, one of the top design firms in the world:

Design thinking has a human-centered core. It encourages organizations to focus on the people they're creating for, which leads to better products, services, and processes.”

The designer's role is to gain an understanding of the audience and business challenges and needs, and meet them through processes, products, services, or technology.

Design began to make its impact in business since the 1970s and gained widespread adoption in the 2000s.

It has become a powerful tool for solving problems, creating, improving, building, and innovating.

Many individuals who practiced design in the business world went on to establish business design consultancies, most of which were later acquired by large tech companies and consulting firms.

Companies like Google, Facebook, Deloitte, and Accenture have acquired a multitude of design firms.

I believe the acquisitions prevented the design in business discipline from gaining market awareness.

My own definition of design in business:

To design is to solve challenges by creating something better. It involves understanding, discovering, analyzing, and seizing opportunities, allowing you to establish clear priorities and capabilities that enable the crafting of a solution or strategy.

Ahmed Bousuwa

Value of Design

1. Where is the best place to apply design, and how do you measure the benefits?

There are three levels in each company: strategy, tactical and operation.

The higher the level at which you apply design, the lower the costs incurred (in terms of resources and time), leading to a higher success of project. This is particularly at the strategy level.

Applying design at the tactical level will incur moderate material costs and also guarantee the success of the project.

At the operational level, during the project lifecycle or post-delivery, there will often be an array of issues when not applying design in prior levels.

The cost to fix these issues will be significantly high, and even higher in the absence of designers.

I strongly advise to always engage design early between strategy and tactical level.

This is one way to measure the benefits of design—by applying it at the right company level to ensure the success of the project and achieve desired outcomes with minimal issues, costs, and time.

Another way to measure the benefits of design is by the number of issues that arise during the lifecycle of the project and post-delivery.

2. key values design bring:

  • Design offers the opportunity to audience to share their perspective and pain points by looking at the challenge from different lenses

  • Enable ideating or sourcing the right solution for the business

  • Makes innovation process efficient

  • Drives business decision in shaping future solution

  • Saves company time and money.

  • Speed and cost effective to launch MVP products to market, iterate and develop accordingly

  • Improve your internal capabilities.

  • driving engagement and loyalty

Design is an important tool to have in the company like having accounting, finance and marketing.

Every company needs a creative system that enables them to solve, create, improve, or innovate based on the moment, scenario, and environment.

Design provides the fundamentals, and the sky is the limit to develop and build new how-t on top based on the nature of the project.

The art of a creative system is to shape it like dough, backed with skills, experience, and knowledge.

The constant evolution of societies and markets requires a creative system to adapt to any prevailing market style.

The market is a style—you either match it, create a new trend, or go out of style.

If you have any question or a feedback, reply to this email.

Thanks for reading!

Ahmed Bousuwa

Two things I can help you with:

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

2. Guiding and advising you on a challenge you are working on.

Visit Neo Strateje and fill out a discovery form.