Previously, we established that those of us who seek to solve problems by creating impactful solutions, regardless of job title or function is, intrinsically, designers. We also established that iterating prototypes — early and often — is a core tenet of effective design thinking and something we wholeheartedly preach in our innovation consulting practice.

With that in mind, what does good design thinking all come down to? The answer: Usefulness.

Designers Are Not Scorekeepers

It is important to understand that in design, the designer is not a referee or scorekeeper. The value of a design doesn’t come from the creator, regardless of how in love with the idea we may be.

We’ve all been in a situation where we see a product or service for the first time and think, “Oh yeah, I’d use that.” Then, we purchase it and it goes on the shelf. Simply put, designs that avoid this pitfall share a common trait: they create value.

Creating Value

At Insigniam, we subscribe to the idea innovation is anything new or novel that creates value. Creating — not just adding — value for an organization should be the ultimate goal of effective design. Regardless of what you’re developing — a process, product, service, offering, or approach — the user must realize its potential; they are the true scorekeepers of efficient design.

Companies like Apple ground every product and marketing experience in terms of the user. By employing an integrated design approach to the user experience — seamlessly connecting great products, support platforms (iTunes and App Store), marketing and commercials, and the retail experience — they can realize created value very quickly.

Creating Results

The reality is that just designing great ideas won’t move the needle or change anything in the marketplace. You’ve got to get those ideas into action. This means getting products on the shelf or services into a client’s portfolio, ready for execution.

That’s why iteration — the topic of our previous post — is so crucial. You can’t afford to invest the time and resources needed to design an effective product or service, only to bring it to market and discover it’s not something people want, nor does it create value.

And while companies like Apple may have seemingly infinite resources, the ability to design and create isn’t determined by liquidity. Design thinkers are limited only by their imagination. By following a criterion — empathy for the user, prototyping iterations early and often, and being guided by the need to create value — you can take your design strengths to the next level.

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