Launching a digital transformation initiative comes with a huge responsibility of making sure that both business and consumer goals are met. A design strategy can play an extremely important role in the overall digital transformation journey of a business as it keeps the customer as the focal point of the entire initiative. It is therefore said that design strategy is the unique amalgamation of the profit anticipated by the business and the value expected by the customer.
To gauge the potential of a design strategy, it needs to be understood completely. Often, clients approach us with a typical, limited set of requirements that overlook the importance of design, not just on the experience level but also at a macro level of functionalities and usable features. They usually underutilize design consultants by assigning them trivial tasks that don’t focus on the real objective or outcome for the business. Design strategy consulting is not about giving mere advice on the look and feel – it’s about gaining a better understanding of the business objectives and processes, user goals, and translating those into meaningful and engaging experiences for both the end user and the business. If executed well, a design strategy can help save operational costs significantly, prioritize business and user needs in a better way, and create a unique selling point for the business.
Going Beyond The “Wow Factor”
A strategic design plan goes beyond just having a ‘design with a wow factor’ or executing the streamlined user stories in an agile methodology. Strategy-driven design is a process that is culminated by the research and goals established during the initial phases of a project. It’s where the design team works closely with the business and technology teams from the first day itself. For example, a client may have a set of requirements that are limited to just enhancing the user interface design. However, with strategy-driven design consulting, the right approach would be to understand the business goals and objectives first. Customer journey mapping can be used to outline the actual pain points of the client’s employees, end customers and the technological bottlenecks in between. If we can empathise with the client on all these levels, it can lead to a much better understanding of opportunities and improvement areas that can save both efforts and operational costs. An efficient design strategy can also drastically reduce the overall project timeline which is the need of every business in today’s digitally accelerated times.
Strategy-driven design goes beyond the superficial look and feel aspect of an application or a client site and transfigures it inside out. Needless to say, it involves comprehensive design research to be conducted with the users and business stakeholders for ensuring that all required aspects are taken into consideration. This exercise concludes with synthesis, analysis and recommendations of features and functionalities that would help in enhancing the overall customer experience across all touchpoints of service.
Making Strategy-driven Design a Core Capability
Most organizations today are committing to improve the user experience. However, making strategy-driven design into a core capability means going towards a human-centric design approach. But how does one make that happen?
This can be done by undertaking the following initiatives:
- Illustrating a design-led strategy approach with business ROI is a good way to start a dialogue with business stakeholders
- Workshops must be conducted with the client across all levels to better understand the individual and collective objectives. This is more vital rather than just sharing a common client questionnaire or a requirements template
- Conducting a walkthrough of the entire design and research plan empowers the client to absorb and become a part of the co-design process
- Mutually agreeing on the specific deliverables / results along with the measurement of these results is equally important to ensure a smooth partnership
A strong capability in strategy-driven design can lead to multiple business benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Projects are better aligned with well-thought customer and business specific features
- Defined enhancements and persona-led user flows result in fewer iterations or rework. This leads to lesser wastage of time and efforts, as no time is now lost in debating on subjective design areas
- Better collaboration results into sharing the same design mindset which translates into closer alignment with business goals that can eventually help in building game changing products or solutions for the client.
- Better results help in solidifying the client’s confidence which can lead to better customer relationships
Intervention of strategy-driven design consulting right from the start is the key to create an impactful transformation in overall experience. Co-creation via strategy-driven design can truly help in unleashing unlimited opportunities for digital enhancement and user experience transformation.
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