Design has the power to drive business success and innovation, yet many designers struggle to advocate for their work within their organizations. Whether it's a lack of understanding or appreciation for the value of design, competing priorities, or limited resources, these challenges can make it difficult for designers to make the case for their work and to get the support they need.
However, by building relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders, demonstrating the tangible business value of design, and educating others about the importance of design, it is possible to overcome these challenges and effectively advocate for design within your organization.
In this post, we'll explore strategies for advocating for design and the importance of doing so for driving business success and innovation.
Non-designers may not fully understand the role that design plays in driving business success and innovation, or they may underestimate the time and effort that goes into producing high-quality design work.
Design projects may sometimes be seen as lower priorities, especially if they are not directly tied to revenue-generating activities.
Designers may struggle to secure the budget, time, or other resources they need to do their work effectively.
These are just a few examples of the challenges that designers may face when advocating for their work within an organization. It's important to be aware of these challenges and to have strategies in place for addressing them.
Establishing strong relationships with key decision makers and other stakeholders can help to build support for design within your organization. This may involve regularly communicating the value of design and the design process, seeking out opportunities to collaborate, and being responsive to feedback.
Whether through internal presentations, lunch-and-learns, or other educational opportunities, taking the time to educate others about the value of design can help to build support for design within your organization.
Providing concrete examples of how design has contributed to business goals, such as increasing customer satisfaction or driving revenue, can help to build support for design within your organization.
There are many different types of data and case studies that can be used to demonstrate the business value of design. Here are a few examples:
Customer satisfaction: One way to measure the value of design is to track customer satisfaction. This can be done through surveys, net promoter scores, or other methods of gathering feedback from customers. By comparing customer satisfaction data before and after a design change, you can get a sense of the impact that design has had on customer experience.
User experience metrics: Another way to measure the value of design is to track user experience metrics, such as task completion rates, time on site, or bounce rates. By comparing these metrics before and after a design change, you can get a sense of the impact that design has had on user engagement and retention.
Conversion rates: Tracking conversion rates, such as the percentage of website visitors who make a purchase or complete a form, can also be a useful way to measure the value of design. By comparing conversion rates before and after a design change, you can get a sense of the impact that design has had on sales and lead generation.
Brand value: Measuring the value of design can also involve tracking brand value indicators, such as brand awareness, loyalty, or perception. By comparing these metrics before and after a design change, you can get a sense of the impact that design has had on the strength and perception of your brand.
In addition to data, case studies can also be effective in demonstrating the business value of design. Case studies should include a clear description of the design project, the business goals it was intended to achieve, and the results that were achieved.
Non-designers may not have a full understanding of the design process or the specific roles and responsibilities of different team members. By clearly communicating these aspects of the design process, you can help to build understanding and support for design within your organization.
A great way to demonstrate the design process will be through the use of a Design Starter Plan. Here is a possible Design Starter Plan that could help non-designers understand the design process better:
Define the problem or opportunity: The first step in the design process is to clearly define the problem or opportunity that the design will address. This may involve conducting research, such as user interviews or market analysis, to understand the needs and goals of the target audience.
Generate ideas: Once the problem or opportunity has been defined, the next step is to generate ideas for possible solutions. This may involve brainstorming sessions, sketching, or other techniques for coming up with a range of ideas.
Evaluate and select the best ideas: From the pool of ideas generated in the previous step, the team should select the most promising ones and evaluate their feasibility, effectiveness, and alignment with business goals.
Create prototypes: After selecting the best ideas, the team should create prototypes to test and refine the ideas. Prototypes can be low-fidelity (e.g. paper sketches) or high-fidelity (e.g. digital mockups),depending on the complexity of the solution and the stage of the design process.
Test and iterate: The team should test the prototypes with users or other stakeholders to gather feedback and iterate on the design as needed. This may involve repeating some or all of the previous steps until the design meets the desired goals and requirements.
Launch: Once the design has been finalized and tested, it is ready to be launched to the public. This may involve creating marketing materials, setting up a launch plan, and preparing for any potential issues that may arise.
Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves empathy for the user, a focus on creating solutions that meet their needs, and a willingness to iterate and test ideas. By incorporating design thinking principles into the design process, teams can come up with creative, user-centered solutions to complex problems.
Here is some additional information on each of these principles:
Empathy for the user: Design thinking starts by understanding the needs, wants, and motivations of the user. This may involve conducting user research, such as interviews or usability testing, to gain insight into how people think, feel, and behave.
Focus on creating solutions that meet user needs: Once the needs of the user have been identified, the focus should be on creating solutions that meet these needs in a meaningful and desirable way. This may involve prototyping and testing a range of ideas to find the most effective solution.
Willingness to iterate and test ideas: Design thinking is an iterative process that involves testing and refining ideas until the best solution is found. This may involve repeating some or all of the steps in the design process multiple times until the desired outcomes are achieved.
By incorporating these principles into the design process, teams can create solutions that are more likely to be successful and meet the needs of the users.
Design has the power to drive business success and innovation, yet many designers struggle to advocate for their work within their organizations. By building relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders, demonstrating the tangible business value of design through data and case studies, and educating others about the importance of design, it is possible to overcome these challenges and effectively advocate for design within your organization.
If you are considering hiring a professional design team, now is the time to take action with a design partner like Mad Creative Beanstalk. A skilled design team can bring expertise, creativity, and a user-centered approach to your projects, helping to drive business success and innovation.
Don't let a lack of internal design resources hold you back- consider partnering with a design team to bring your ideas to life and achieve your business goals.