November 4, 2022
When designers are designing new products or services they often use design principles to ensure that the final solution has the desired attributes that fulfill customers' needs. It also helps to maintain focus and efficiency during the design process by reflecting every decision against the design principles. Let's take a look at a well-known example: Apple's/Steve Jobs's five design principles (that were heavily inspired by iconic designer Dieter Rams) were simplicity, friendliness, minimalism, precision, and focus. You see these principles coming to life consistently across Apple's entire product and service portfolio.
How can you apply these design principles to establish an entirely new business like Growberry, and create your value proposition for the customers? Instead of calling it design principles, you could call it business or operating principles. However, It functions similarly: we want to achieve the desired outcome, in our case growth (monetary, or something else) for our customers that is enabled by human-centric design and merging new technologies - growthtech. All aspects of the business: offering, service, and decisions.. need to be aligned with the principles. here are the 3 principles that we see today.
Especially during the last 2 years, the word "digital transformation" has been frequently used and mostly too lightly. You can only call it a transformation when it has a significant enough impact on your business, for example, xx% increase in revenue. Otherwise, it's an incremental development. Nevertheless, we start to tackle this by setting a clear target at the beginning of customer engagement by building a value hypothesis and value drivers for how we deliver the value. The progress is monitored and revised throughout the journey reducing risk, hence the Growth mindset. Growth is not only an outcome, it is something that takes place all along the journey. If for some reason, during the process it is becoming evident that the value is not going to be realized as originally planned, you can take action as early as possible to minimize the costs and risks associated.
During the past years, almost all companies have focused on maximizing growth. However, in today's volatile market, the focus has shifted more toward efficiency. We believe digital platforms/packaged software can drive significant efficiency: simplifying the architecture by reducing the number of systems that need to be maintained, increasing integration between the systems, and fastening time-to-market. Unfortunately, many fail to achieve these benefits today. One of the key reasons is "putting new technology over old thinking" which means taking new technologies into use, but not changing existing business processes. This leads to heavy customizations that are difficult and expensive to maintain. It also prevents companies from getting the full value out of the innovation updates on their platforms. Digital platforms can deliver significantly more value and be leveraged more efficiently, if during the design and implementation phases business processes and business models are constantly monitored, revisited and challenged.
The 2 principles above are purposeless without mastering human-to-human interaction from user-experience to change management. In today's world of bots and automation, it's easy to forget how important human-to-human interactions are. However, it's always humans who build the bots and automations in the first place that other humans use. Instead of a single good or bad interaction, it is repeated thousands of times. If systems are not easy to use nor create value for their users, people will not use them. Employee and customer experience is more important today than it has ever been in history. It is caused by the increased complexity, competition, and fast pace of innovations that only keep on accelerating. Covering all dimensions of human-to-human interactions builds a foundation for growth that can be nurtured over time.
Even though these are fundamental parts of our operations and value proposition they can also change and adapt over time, just like the customers' needs change and that's how it should be.
About the author: Ilari is an experienced leader in a complex international context with expertise in customer experience, business strategy and growth. He has a background from multiple roles in the manufacturing industry and most recently Salesforce’s Digital Strategy and Design team supporting some of the biggest global brands in Northern Europe.