Good design is good business. Thomas J. Watson, the CEO who led IBM from the era of mechanical tabulators and typewriters into the computer age, was known for building a corporate culture around this concept as he grew his mid-size company into an international force.
Today, good business design can still be a game changer in an environment where technological advances make so many things possible. “We have enough processing power; therefore, we aren’t driven to buy [something] because it’s faster or has more memory,” says John Maeda, a design partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design.
“So now we have to buy [something] because of how it makes us feel,” says Maeda in an interview with Hugo Sarrazin, a director in the Silicon Valley office of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Their discussion, “Good Design Is Good Business,” published on McKinsey’s website, addresses design issues executives face today.
“Certain kinds of design have strategic value,” says Maeda. “It has a multiplier effect.” Some designs can be instrumented. And there are designs that save time by changing processes. After Steve Jobs died in 2011, everyone wanted to understand the “magical design” that made Apple rise above, recalls Maeda. Now, when people come to Maeda looking for that silver bullet, he tells them, “There’s only a silver ray. And you have to know where to point it.”
“We often get impatient,” adds Sarrazin. “Sprinkle that design dust, and magic will happen. It’s just the wrong way to think about [a] problem. I think design is a mindset. It’s a set of capabilities and skills. It does require an environment to flourish. It requires people to work in a collaborative way that is different than it’s been historically.”
Good design comes from connecting things. It’s about systems thinking, not just appearances. “It’s getting the right people together, creating the sense of community… reframing what is” says Sarrazin.
Celemi Enterprise™ Fosters Business Design Breakthroughs
Celemi’s business solutions, featuring interactive simulations and hands-on problem-solving exercises, immerse employees in realistic scenarios where they work in teams to address challenges, make connections, test new approaches, and gauge potential outcomes.
In the Celemi Enterprise™ business simulation, six companies compete for the same customers in a dynamic marketplace. Working together, employees who are assigned roles different than their usual jobs gain a shared perspective of their overall business situation. While engrossed in a simulation, they gain clarity and the skills to identify why, where, and how they can start making changes to improve the business and boost profits.
Given the creative freedom to embrace change, anticipate market shifts, and design solutions, employees from multiple locations and strategies emerge from a Celemi experience with a new sense of community, ready to start implementing strategies that elevate people and processes, improve team and role dynamics, and generate competitive advantage.