Design a Better Business | Patrick van der Pijl

Summary of: Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation
By: Patrick van der Pijl


Discover the power of design in shaping and transforming businesses, with the book ‘Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation’ by Patrick van der Pijl. This comprehensive guide reveals how a human-centered, collaborative approach can empower organizations to tackle increasing uncertainty and face the future with confidence. Through a design-centered process that emphasizes innovation and strategy, this book teaches how to build a better, more agile business by understanding customers and embracing change. Prepare for an enlightening journey through essential design concepts and methodologies that will elevate your organization’s ethos and performance.

Designing for Success

The design approach is the key to addressing the increasing uncertainty faced by organizations all over the world. By adopting a human-centered approach with a strong focus on the customer, smaller teams can accomplish much more. The design journey involves envisioning your central hypothesis as the center of a “double loop” that requires you to both acquire a deep understanding of your customers and your business and test your assumptions. Your organization’s unique point of view should be asserted throughout the process, and the product or process idea should be scaled only after the loop is complete – always refining your perspective along the way.

Designing for Innovation

In “Designing for Growth,” Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie offer a guide on how to apply design thinking to business strategy. The first step is to prepare thoroughly for the journey by seeking a catalyst for change and assembling a diverse team with varied skills. Next, train your team in design and innovation, and set a tangible objective by turning around a struggling project or product. Listen and learn from customers, collect diverse ideas and opinions, and share what you learned internally. Design your workspace to encourage creativity and appoint a facilitator to inspire and lead the process. Carefully structure meetings to produce results, ideas, and decisions. Work with your team to develop goals, values, and a shared purpose by composing a team charter and having everyone sign it. Ultimately, the goal is to create well-designed visions that inspire action and innovation.

Creating a Design Manifesto

Successful designers start their projects with a clear perspective, essentially a manifesto, that serves as an inspiration and a touchstone throughout the design journey. To determine your point of view, you need to know who you are as a company and work on it together.

The vision must have three key components, which are what the company will look like in two to five years, what the specific and detailed plan is for meeting your goals, and a call to action powerful enough to stir emotions. It’s vital to create bold, daring visions for the future by drawing on your team’s imagination. Talk to your customers and encourage team members to share their views and visions through exercises such as creating a ‘magazine’ from clippings, headlines, and drawings that illustrate the team’s vision.

Once the vision is defined and agreed on, gain consensus throughout the organization for it. Senior leaders especially must agree. Tell stories instead of relying on PowerPoint displays to appeal to listeners’ rational intelligence and emotions. The vision provides the focus the team needs to stay on track.

Customer-Centered Design

To achieve customer-centered design, it is important to understand your customers and their needs. Start by observing them at work and asking them open-ended questions. Listen to their responses and consider following a “customer safari” approach to gain a complete understanding of their priorities and needs. Use this information to assess whether your design journey makes sense or needs adjustment. Additionally, build a multidisciplinary team with varying skills and superpowers. Study the environment in which you do business, including trends, regulations, competition, and economics. Understand your organization, including its value proposition, how it delivers value, and how it makes money. Finally, try having walking meetings to avoid getting entrenched in arguments.

Unleashing the Power of Ideation

To generate the best ideas, it is essential to bring people together to brainstorm and collaborate. Start by distributing sticky notes to your team and encourage them to share as many ideas as possible. Once you have a full wall of sticky notes, use a whiteboard divided into four quadrants to evaluate and sort ideas based on their potential for substantial revenue and incremental costs. Use various techniques like imagining the worst-case scenario or changing environments to spark creativity. Remember to not rely solely on abstract ideas and create prototypes to test and evaluate them effectively. By assembling a team and engaging in ideation best practices, you can unleash the power of ideation and generate innovative ideas that have a significant impact on your business.

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