Insights 06.29.2018

Why Companies Need to Embrace Design Thinking

06.29.2018 / Articles

Avendi has been in the design industry for 15+ years, and like many, we find ourselves and our clients in a perpetual state of evolution. The rate of change has accelerated markedly during the past couple of years. This is not a bad thing—it just means we’re all adapting to a hyper-dynamic environment.

Most recently, there’s been a great deal more attention paid to design by non-designers, and greater appreciation for the potential of an intangible “design process” to produce tangible, quantifiable results. Apple and its rampant success over the past ten years is repeatedly cited as a leader in this shift of focus.

We call this process design thinking. It’s not a new concept—Herbert Simon was writing about it in 1969. But companies embracing design thinking en masse is somewhat of a recent phenomenon occurring most notably over the past decade.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking uses design as a basis for problem solving. It is not just about how something looks, but rather how design is integrated into the core of its purpose and functionality.

Design thinking sets the stated outcome aside (“We need a new website,” for example), and demands answers to questions that reveal the true issues underlying the problem to be solved. In our case, the client may need a new or refreshed website, but the underlying challenge that (also) needs to be solved may be something within that stated outcome, like increasing sales to a specific customer demographic, reducing the rate of shopping cart abandonment, or facilitating a higher level of customer loyalty.

Whether we’re working in digital or print, we create and consider multiple options rather than settling for what worked last time. It means taking on each project with a mind and an eye for the one solution that will work best. And it works because we’ve identified the real problem, leveraging design to address and solve it.

Why should you care?

Commoditization, or the sameness of everything, is a byproduct of taking the easy route—whether you’re pushing widgets or placing pixels. Consumers and businesses have more choices available and more resources at their disposal than ever before, and commoditization (pumping more sameness into the market) will not grab the customer’s attention.

Design–whether we’re talking about your product, your service, your website, or your collateral–is one of the few remaining ways to distinguish the customer experience. Even if what you’re selling is truly a one-of-a-kind offering, design will help attract and retain your customers, and make it harder for would-be competitors to gain a foothold in your market.

We practice design thinking at Avendi by examining the presented problem, then digging deeper to identify the real issue and opportunity to be addressed. It is a deliberate and disciplined process that requires a specific skill-set and mindset. It’s not something that comes packaged with an off-the-shelf template or DIY “design solution.” When you hire us, you’re quite simply more effective in grabbing attention, making the sale, and keeping your customers coming back. Why? Because you’re offering what people want—you’re offering something that isn’t a commodity.

If you’re serious about standing out in an increasingly commoditized world, design is one of the sharpest tools for carving a position in the market that provides real return. It’s a mark of distinction, and savvy customers crave it. It’s as true for your business as it is for ours.