Strategic User experience and why good design = good business

Throughout history we can find moments where strategic design decisions have fundamentally changed consumer habits, beliefs and their emotional connection to the environment around them. Think about Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the Guggenheim Museum or Jonathan Ives design of Apple products, both involved a good understanding of the marketplace and public consumer behaviours. But many companies, in their haste to be first to market, forget the value of good early, strategic design thinking. It has become easy to reduce the costs or launch ‘on time’ by cutting back on the strategic design thinking time early on when creating a product or service. This results in mediocrity and ultimately to an unloved brand experience where consumers become fickle and  disloyal.

Now whether leading a design team, sitting on the board of directors or starting up company, UX practitioners have made their way back up the value chain; earning more respect along the way. We have been re-empowered to make decisions that really can change the world. This is a great responsibility. At times we may feel we have been thrown into the deep end and left to swim up the steep value curve stream. Would it have been useful to have had some core principles, processes and insights to help you on your way? I think so and I hope you all do too.

My talk at UX India pulls together insights and leanings I hope will help set those brave enough to take on this responsibility in the right direction. Having worked the last 16 years as a creative both internally for large corporates and externally consulting in to some large corporate brands, I am now straddling the cross roads and actively connecting that emotional relationship between the business and design. Strategic design is critical to the success of the business.

Talk outline:

How design has changed the world

  • History of great strategic design (and how it changed history)
  • Contemporary design heroes as role models (pay homage!)
  • What is an experience strategy? (do I have to wear a tie?)

The business strategy is the design strategy

  • Understand the business purpose – Golden circles, what is the problem you are solving?
  • Create a simple, clear and effective value proposition (elevator pitch)
  • Align your design principles to the business vision
  • Evaluate your business model (Business Model Canvas)
  • Appreciate how much great design costs. Efficient design resourcing, spend vs ROI

User centered design 101

  • Know your target audience – Empathy mapping, personas + customer needs
  • Define holistic customer journeys (case study)
  • Emphasise the value of great design (Value mapping, customer needs matched to business KPIs and metrics)
  • Prioritise ideas effectively (agile story mapping)
  • Validate assumptions early

Team, process and getting the job done

  • Build the ‘perfect’ design team and collaborate with the rest of the business
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities. Clarify the RACI (working with technology, marketing, editorial etc. through the design process)
  • Recognise the importance of a design authority (design advocacy, guidelines and rules)
  • Apply design methods and working practices (process fit with lean UX and Agile, co-location vs design studio)
  • Constantly evaluate your designs and align them to the business purpose (validate before, during and after)
  • Be accountable (team efficiency, delivery and impact on the business goals)
  • Thank you and Q and A

Interested in hearing what you guys think!

I will also be running one of my surprise challenge workshops where we  create a minimum viable product in 3 hours to address a real world issue!

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