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The role of design today

Design is more than aesthetics. It’s more than creative concepts or graphical outputs. It’s more than just how something looks, it’s about how something works. Companies like Uber and Airbnb realise that, but there is still a huge opportunity to tap into when it comes to converting design thinking into actual business results. We usually say that your business has a new secret weapon – and we call that the Design Advantage.

But how, exactly, is design changing business? Where’s the proof? Why does it matter? We summarised the 4 key stats that will help understand the importance of design for businesses around the world.


Design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219% over 10 years

Better products or a superior customer service are no longer enough to stand out. Technology has lowered barriers for entry and, with that, provoked a new era of competition. According to John Maeda, design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the solution is to become a design-led company.

Companies that foster creativity enjoy 1.5x greater market share

Design-led companies invest heavily in powerful customer experiences – a key element to tackle if you want to get your customers’ attention and motivate them to keep coming back. In other words, design benefits business in the sense that it helps you attain a solid understanding of the many ways that customers engage with your brand—from websites and social media to wearables, on every form factor and operating system.

These experiences do more than simply engage audiences. They build and nurture deeply rooted, personalised connections. With that comes consumer preference and, of course, increased market share.

71% of companies report creating 10x the number of assets today than just a few years ago

Great design translates into great content, but this is where things get a bit tricky. Consumers want amazing content and experiences on their favorite devices, every minute of the day. Now, consider that currently there are 3.1 billion global consumers with internet access, each unique interests, needs and preferences, craving a tailored experience. On top of that, consider the explosion of new channels and formats driven by social, mobile and other new platforms. Exactly – it’s not an easy task. But it’s not impossible either – all you need is the right set of tools on desktop andmobile.

13 of the 2014 Fortune 125 companies have executive-level positions or CEO support for design

The right set of solutions can certainly help streamline team workflows, but that’s all in vain unless you have the right culture. You need a broader company adoption to this renewed role of design in order to truly see its effects on customer experiences and the company’s bottom line. Or, as John Maeda reminds us, some of the top companies are living and breathing design from the top down:

Nike’s CEO is a designer. Uniquely, Apple has a senior vice president of design. Businesses started by designers have  created billions of dollars of value, are raising billions of dollars in capital, and venture capital (VC) firms—a bellwether of what’s to come—increasingly recognise how design impacts the bottom line.

Get your Design Advantage

In the digital era, design sits at the core of amazing brand experiences. Smart organisations are realising that embedding design into business practices is now a necessity in order to create a deeper loyalty among customers, and ultimately to make an impact on their business results. These companies won’t just create great design. They’ll have a secret weapon to help them stand out.

If you want to find out how you can use design to produce actual business results, download our free Design Advantage report or sign up for ourDesign Advantage Forum on November 24 in London.