By Anuj Prasad, Founder & CEO, Desmania, one of the best Industrial Design Studios in India
Why should designers work with only the top guys in the organisation?
In 2008, I met a reputed French designer in Paris. He must be in his late forties and had varied experience. He told me that he works with either the owner in a family business or with the top two guys in the professional company. This was the biggest takeaways from an informal chat with him. If designers really want to contribute to the industry or to the society then they should work only with the top guys of the establishment.
This takeaway has many postulates, which reflect the characteristic of design as a profession. Design is nurtured by visionaries while designers manifest their true worth under them. (Assumption: visionaries are leaders and vice versa). If a leader envisions a future of growth for the organisation, then he would place users/consumers at the top of his mind. And he would also acknowledge the fact that designers inherently work towards user delight.
User delight brings in brand loyalty, finally manifesting in numbers that matter: the top line and bottom line. These numbers are very important for the CEOs for the business growth.
Business growth is driven through constant engagement with the consumers and consumers remain engaged only though newness and excitement. The lifeline of design is to bring in newness that caters to the frequently changing consumer preferences &expectations.
Working in tandem with leaders should provide ample freedom and democratic environment. This creates conducive culture for innovation. Designers used to hunt for this natural selection, but mostly would fail to find such a fertile ground in the past. Designers seldom get a chance to work with leaders. In earlier times leaders had their eye on nos. which was traditionally delivered by marketing and sales.
But fortunately design thinking is in vogue and leaders are voluntarily accepting the fact that now numbers are driven by design. Leaders are trying to percolate this thought down the ranks. But for ranks it is a mere management tool to reach closer to the audience, while they treat designers only as outsourcing partners. For closing the loop and solving problems, designers need more power and larger ground to play in. If they directly work with leaders, they achieve both.
Automotive design is a great example of leader driven design philosophy. If leaders decide to work directly with designers, vision will be better honed and strategy will be well articulated. Designers are the best custodian of design thinking because they are groomed with it. And they practice it day in and day out which leads to intuitive problem solving response.
Design is the conduit between thought and its realisation!