McKinsey: What every executive needs to know about design

ATN-300InsightaaS: First off, a disclaimer: those who came to this post expecting to find out that McKinsey & Co. the management consulting firm known for advising senior management within the world’s largest enterprises, is telling senior executives to pay attention to colours and graphics will be disappointed. Yes, this post is about "design," but in McKinsey's lexicon, that refers to the way that an enterprise engineers its processes to "create experiences that people take insights into the consumer decision journey and the marketplace and convert them into products and services customers actually want."

With that out of the way, let me add another disclaimer: the examples used in this post (Uber, Airbnb, etc.) are shopworn, and their connections to the content are pretty tenuous.

So with those cautions - why did we choose to highlight this post? Simply, because it provides guidance that is important for management at organizations of all sizes. The ideas that act as headers - that it's important to understand "consumers' emotions and desires," to "know who and what are shaping expectations" and to "remember that dollars make a lot of sense" - aren't revolutionary, but their appearance in a McKinsey post gives them additional weight. The notion that it's important to "test, test, and test some more," and that companies should be "open to experimenting and taking risks and then quickly learning and iterating" sounds like common sense, but it doesn't reflect universal practice, as firms that are being usurped by competitors (traditional and upstarts like Uber that seem to appear from the ether) are learning, painfully. Don't think of this post as a portal to new understanding. It (including the sidebar questions) is better positioned as a management refresher for executives who are building 'to do' lists for the new year. 

Do you really know what your customers want?

That’s never been an easy question. Yet it’s even more difficult to answer today, when companies such as Airbnb, Amazon, Google, and Uber1 have shaken up the competitive landscape by raising the bar on consumer expectations. They don’t just provide useful products and services; they create experiences that people love. They do it by applying a user-centered perspective that unearths opportunities to create products and services that delight and empower customers.

This design approach is forcing business leaders to reconsider their offerings. Within that competitive challenge, however, lies a tremendous opportunity to "reimagine" the very foundations of a business–from transforming how it engages with customers to becoming an agile, innovative organization.

What a user-centered approach enables companies to do is to take insights into the consumer decision journey and the marketplace and convert them into products and services customers actually want.

This capability is particularly important given the billions of dollars being invested in advanced analytics. The insights derived from data and analytics are wasted unless they can be turned into well-designed, meaningful experiences. In short, great design turns insights into impact...

Read the entire post at the McKinsey website: Link