Design in Business

Who could we send to the Shard, other than Work Place Learning Centre contributors Julia Tybura and Rupert Wainwright? They were looking forward to debating radical innovation and doing some real blue sky thinking on level 17 the location for the October 2016 Warwick Business School’s Designing Business (WBS) network. They tell us what they learnt.

The first speaker Pietro Micheli, Associate Professor in strategy and innovation, shared his latest research on the different mental models between designers and marketeers.

We all speak in ‘expert or functional code’ – which can be dangerous if there are misunderstandings say in a cockpit or operating theatre. However, Micheli recommends ‘reconciling apparent dualisms’ – like designers’ focus on shape and creation and marketers’ focus on fit and analysis. Micheli proposed 3 good practices to help the reconciliation to work: – exposing – bring differences to light in language, ways of doing things and thinking with a focus on sharing all views as legitimate – co-opting – intentionally include and involve people so that all views – be they creative, logical, quantitative or qualitative – are expressed and considered – repurposing – together deploy the practical implementation of the fruits of the debate and work done during exposure and co-option

A fascinating Q&A then took place where the 50 strong group of designers, marketeers, academics and business people deepened our understanding of Micheli’s research. A healthy debate ensued culminating in my question testing his research focus about leadership behaviours – which this particular research didn’t cover – but where we agreed that it is key to ‘work beyond the egos’.

The second session by Markus Hohl, CEO from Hellon gave a Finnish perspective to creating great customer experience based on a methodology they had created to move from Project to Process to Culture.

There were some lovely insightful phrases that were new to us – “Eating your own dog food” as a way of saying that you should experience your company’s service the way a customer would, and the “delusion gap” after a survey that showed 88% of companies believed they provided a great customer experience but only 11% of customers thought so. Some tried and tested methods were advocated including recommending prototyping and iterating instead of large single changes but with the strong advice to “kill ideas that don’t work” as they believed many companies are full of people running projects that nobody believes in any more, and I think they are right. Hellon finished with a strong message – it’s only a great customer experience if you feel impelled to tell your friends about it, otherwise it’s just a competent experience.

So, two thought provoking session with passionate people in a fabulous setting. WBS’s designing business network will go from strength to strength and we would be delighted to continue the debate with them!

Julia Tybura, Managing Director, Zenon Consulting