The concept of design and its relevance has extended beyond just the aesthetic appeal to now apply to products, processes, experiences, leadership philosophies and an overall human centric approach. In fact, in our customer focused world that continues to see constant disruption, it is the design led companies that have now emerged as the new power houses. Design today is more than just creativity, it is really seen as reflective of two main components: Empathy and Experience.
The importance of skilling ourselves in “Design” came to my notice when my young cousin in her 20s enrolled in a program on User Experience Design (UX/UI) and my father and his other 60+ year old buddies started taking online courses on Design Thinking.
Management focused journals and periodicals are full of articles that emphasize the importance of design led thinking as a part of business strategy and how adopting a human centered approach lets you create or understand how your products and services fit into your customers’ lives. They suggest applying the 5 stage design thinking methodology of empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test to develop new innovative solutions to problems.
As companies evolve to become organizations of the future, the design thinking mindset will only get more entrenched in their corporate culture. While the majority of Design Thinking programs currently operate outside of the standard curriculum as additional certifications or summer intensives, educational systems too will have to alter their modus operandi to integrate design thinking within the existing curriculum. Research suggests that with students, design thinking helps develop empathy and creativity, and helps educational institutions develop students who are more resilient and adaptive. All key skill sets required to thrive in the constantly evolving world that we live in.
For those confused about the ‘job applicability’ of honing their skills in the design oriented mindset, think again. From jobs roles in customer centricity, to user experience, marketing, sales, technology, services, organizational design and culture, business strategy, to even developing smart cities, the role of design thinking is all pervasive. To quote PepsiCo’s first ever Chief Design Officer (CDO) Mauro Pocini, “People don’t buy products anymore; they buy experiences that are meaningful to them.”
The onus is then on students, new graduates and existing employees to skill/upskill themselves to become more human centered in their approachas they look to stay relevant in an evolving and constantly disruptive world.
About the Author – Shubika Bilkha has an ideal blend of corporate experience and entrepreneurship in India and Internationally. Her experience of over 12 years spans the finance, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors. As the managing Director of two early stage start-ups in technology and education, she has hands on experience in strategy, execution, operations management, marketing, sales and customer experience, HR, recruitment and finance.
Shubika is a published author and a prominent media spokesperson for the real estate and education sectors having contributed to publications, portals, panels/events, the radio and television channels in India. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.