Attending The IIT Institute of Design Strategy Conference here in Chicago was a two day immersion in design thinking with thought leaders from academia and practitioners from industry coming together. Each year ID hosts this international executive forum addressing how businesses can use design to explore emerging opportunities, solve complex problems, and achieve lasting strategic advantage.
Following along via the backchannel on Twitter, one theme quickly came into focus on day one. Practitioners of design thinking are constantly challenged with communicating the value of their work to stake holders.
How to sell the process or measure the results of design strategy, was a popular subject in the talks and in the informal conversations during breaks and in the halls. Designers need to be just as good as communicating about their craft as about their solution to “business,” and anyone talking about the tools to do that was extremely popular.
Early on Jeff Semenchuk shared his processes and successes driving innovation in large enterprises including Citi, Pfizer, and now Hyatt. His slides about his team’s innovation processes and how to document the ROI of innovation projects had everyone clicking away with their iPhones.
Tying together metrics and outcomes for design isn’t easy. Many business struggle to find the time and budget to invest in design. Even while citing the success of design-led business like Apple, they often stumble when trying to follow the same path.
The hard truth is that design-led teams often have to fight for resources and attention. Success comes from having the right tools both in the design studio and the conference room.