Design to Business Integration
Businesses that integrate the key elements of design perform better than businesses who don’t. Cobalt can help businesses integrate design thinking into their core skillset, building a culture of innovation through clear tools and steps.
What Is It? Aligning corporate strategy, brand and product through design
Design-to-Business (D2B) integration is the way we describe using design as a strategic element within a business. Multiple independent studiesA have shown that businesses who integrate design and user-centred thinking; are more profitable; release more new products in less time; and command customer loyalty as well as premium pricing. By making design a C-suite level function, your business will be in the best position to succeed.
What Cobalt can do We help organisations integrate design across their operations
Through our experience, including in different government-sponsored D2B integration programs, Cobalt takes a holistic view of an organisation’s process, products and branding. Through a collaborative auditing process we review existing processes and capabilities before guiding the business to determine its own goals and design-led strategy. These engagements can be standalone or incorporated within the preliminary stages of a new product development project.
Principles and Methods
The Power Within
Everyone has ideas; so every member of an organisation is capable of contributing to innovative outcomes. The challenge is in creating an environment where ideas are welcomed; people’s inputs are welcomed and good ideas are adopted. This is the fertile ground from which a creative culture can grow.
Business leaders can deliberately create these environments, and it starts with a genuine acceptance of the value of design integration from the CEO down.
Each of these questions need a deep understanding of users’ needs to answer correctly. So why is it better for a designer to do this? Because a researcher or analyst can only interpret what they are told. Designers can directly develop solutions to situations that they observe. Often before users are even aware of these as issues themselves.
In all case our aim is to embed greater design understanding within organisations. This is not totally altruistic, as we know that organisations with their own inhouse capabilities use external designers more than businesses who are not design-conscious.
D2B engagements include Design Audits; Design Mentoring; Product Roadmapping. And other Design Strategy related services are described elsewhere on our website.
Tools & Process
Perhaps because we are practicing industrial designers, we believe this area has far too much waffle and “innovaton doublespeak”. So like our products, when it comes to sharing our design process and creativity tools, we do this in a very practical, tangible way.
Design is everything, because without it we have no business. Anybody can design a decent product. They can’t all design outstanding products. So, design is the differentiatorB.
Pentland Brands CEO (owners of Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury)
Impact beyond current paradigms
There are many ways to define design. One useful definition can be incredibly powerful to businesses; “imagining existing technologies used in new ways to solve unmet user needs”.
Let’s take a hypothetical example; a company producing carparking technology systems. Their competitor has introduced a new barrier which outperforms theirs. Instead of reacting with a brief to upgrade their barrier to match or exceed their competitors, they stop and take a ‘design thinking’ approach. They engage designers to observe motorists’ and distil available technologies. The designers develop three solutions; the first is an improvement of the current barrier (another mousetrap); the second uses a different technology to leapfrog their competitor (a better mousetrap) and the third is a completely different approach, a new technology which provides a completely new capability while removing the need for any barrier at all (a gamechanging, mouse elimination solution). Imagining existing technologies used in new ways to solve unmet user needs.