Whatever the decade has in store, at the start of a new year it’s important to reflect on the goals you’ve set for your business and the strategy you have in place to meet and exceed them. Investment in a design and innovation strategy should be at the heart of business planning for 2020, an approach that is proven to not only increase profit but keep businesses one step ahead of their competition with innovative, new ideas. In fact, research suggests that for every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £4 increase in net operating profits.
For businesses looking at international markets, design is proven to boost exports, with a £1 investment in design yielding a return of over £5 in increased exports. It could be changes to an existing product or service to broaden appeal to a new market, or a new opportunity in an existing market, either way, it pays to consider the design implications early. A long-term innovation and design strategy sustains and develops a company’s competitive advantage by creating a culture of innovation from within, as well as fostering the understanding and development of new technology and products that are user-centric in design.
Going into 2020, innovation in design is certainly the key to success. Businesses are being forced to adapt quickly to meet market demands or customer needs. An innovative design strategy is the answer, either applied in-house or working alongside a Product design consultancy.
How can you drive innovation in 2020?
Good design revolves around understanding the needs and desires of the end user, regardless of which sector the product will be sold in. Understanding the user providers Product Designers with the opportunity to identify user issues and then design a solution. This leads to innovative new ideas which designers can then prototype and test to deliver fail-safe concepts ready for investment. Ideas guaranteed to work. Consider using design to develop an existing product as your customers’ needs evolve. IoT technology can be used to incorporate sensor technology to modernise products and add new functionality.
A long term commitment to innovation has proven to increase revenue and brand value with the design of new products, services and experiences that appeal to a target customer, their changing needs or a new marketplace.
Innovation comes from within
Redefining an organisation’s internal structures and processes can also drive innovation from within. What matters most is the organisational mindset, that it is implicitly progressive and focused on the end outcome, not the isolated process of coming up with new ideas. The start of a new year is the perfect time to motivate teams, redefine collective goals and problem-solve with a renewed sense of purpose. Design can be used to harness this and create the common language teams need for constructive dialogue that overcomes challenges and produces ideas.
Three questions to ask yourself going into 2020
With innovation your goal, to gain or retain competitive advantage in 2020, here are three questions to consider:
- Are your products responding to people’s needs as they exist today? Are there users’ needs that your products are not responding to, and need to?
- Is your team engaged and free to explore ideas? Internal conversations are key to innovation, the more open and democratic that conversation is, the better it will be. Avoid ‘siloing’ teams and welcome all voices. You’ll soon be welcoming new ideas.
- Are your innovations usable and ready for market or do they require more testing?
Go beyond the constraints of what customer research is telling you and try to gain a much broader understanding of your customer. Who they are, what drives them, their values and beliefs. By thoroughly understanding your customer, you will start to identify the problems they have, which in turn will lead to designing a solution.
Don’t underestimate the value of testing things out. The biggest mistake a business can make is launching a product to market before you are certain it works and the quality will meet expectations. Your users will evaluate the success of your innovation so it’s important you only launch when your idea is ready for the public and will, most importantly, work well.
We help clients bring products to market. Industry-first products and services that define their sector for future decades. Clients approach us at completely different stages of the design process. Some clients know that they have a specific problem and want us to create the solution, whilst others have fully identified the solution and need us to make their idea a reality. Some organisations simply want us to help them to become more innovative.
There’s no one path to innovation; different organisations take different paths which suit their identity and structure. We can help your business find its own path.
Get in touch to find out how – firstname.lastname@example.org