The Five Essential Pillars of Multidisciplinary Process/Service Design

Graphic designer drawing on graphics tablet at workplace

By Lilla Asir

Transforming the internal structures of companies by integrating design assets has been seen by many multinational corporations as a challenging process. Crafting services whether targeting external markets or in order to reformulate long-term internal strategies revolves around five essential main pillars every design manager should keep in mind.

 

In a market where the technical qualities of products are barely distinguishable, design can be the perfect differentiator. We live in artificial environments where our cities, tools and systems are a product of design processes affecting our everyday lives. In the midst of artificial intelligence, automation and machines, there is an ever-growing need for human creativity. Meanwhile, the highly qualified members of the knowledge-based economy, are increasingly more in demand of higher quality products in an ever competitive market with a bigger focus on the creative sector.

Design in this context no longer functions as a form but rather as a strategy. Transforming the internal structures of companies by integrating design assets has been seen by many multinational corporations as a challenging process that has generated an additional competitive advantage. Design management can’t work in isolated silos. Support within the organisation is essential for the design field’s methodologies to take shape effectively. There is a need for multidisciplinary collaboration with the various departments where the network generates the needed infrastructure, tools and information necessary to sustain the whole ecosystem. Tolerance, liberal receptive communities and technology are essential in the rise of creativity on a national as well as a corporate level. Creating the right environments for innovation where the members of the company are capable of adapting as a tool for collective action while preserving individuality is crucial. Whether design is used strategically or not it seems to be determined by three main factors:

1. The presence of a sponsor among senior management (such as the CEO/founder)

2. The role of the Design Manager/Director is crucial, especially when leadership support is lacking, as he/she must both influence and educate decision-makers about design.

3. Review and documentation of successes, especially when design has been capable of reflecting and strengthening the company’s brand(s).

 

Design management can’t work in isolated silos. Support within the organisation is essential for the design field’s methodologies to take shape effectively.

It’s important not to force design thinking in the wrong context. Knowing when to use design and how, is crucial. Understanding the role of designers and design managers while re-evaluating their processes can help leverage the team’s performance. Designers apart from being technical specialists with functional expertise, a lot of the times as part of cross functional teams, can bring shifting new perspectives to the table. Engineers for example, tend to focus on the technicalities of networks, the infrastructure and wireframes. Designers on the other hand, tend to reshape the balance by focussing on the end users, seeing things from the customer’s perspective while designing touchpoints. Crafting a service for the market for instance may involve similar methodologies when compared to creating an internal corporate workflow. Creating and scaling services can feel overwhelming but by understanding the basic pillars that form the service design process, we can have a more structured approach. By improving our offering over the various touchpoints we can maintain a competitive advantage having a lasting return on investment. Service design is evidence-based, holistic, co-creative and user-centred.

A service involves various pillars, which may seem evident at first. When creating services, we tend to underestimate the power of structuring the workflow around these elements.

The world in the digital age has turned into a structure that lacks a clearly-defined shape or form, time and space diffused, previously incompatible states of being turned into one: self-actualisation and a strong sense of virtual community, individuality and intense form of collectivity. We can access everything, anytime, anywhere being omnipresent, omniscient at the verge of being omnipotent. With the intense need to control the digital realm and with the arising challenges of GDPR, there is a strong need to regain our roots in the physical world, gain real experiences, and see the bigger picture. Creating customer-centric solutions with increased restrictions on our collected data can turn such endeavours into an even more creative process. In the midst of all these contradictions, there is still space for an effective form of collective brainstorming and collaborative co-creation. This intense form of self-empowerment turns everyday users into efficient producers.

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About the Author

Lilla Asir is the founder of Emeraldaline with a Masters in Design Management, a Former Head of Design at one of PRGN’s leading Communication Agencies and a KPMG alumnus.

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