We all know examples of bad design such as the U.S.B. plug, chasing connection flights at an airport, or even the Death Star's exhaust port on Star Wars.
On the flip side, we also know examples of great design such as the home page of Google, the visitor experience in Disneyland, and the Swiss-Army Knife.
Without a doubt a good design provides many commercial benefits.
However, consistently making good designs is hard and only getting harder every day.
Customers have broad access to information and reviews, are exposed to the highest end of products and services like Amazon, resulting in their expectations being set sky-high.
To understand what design really is worth, McKinsey carried out a research on 300 public companies, throughout the world in various sectors.
It was found that good design and high business performance were highly correlated.
This proved to be true across several domains, proving good design has key impact on revenue for companies with physical products, digital ones, as well as companies that provide services.
Another key finding shows that companies with exceptionally good design had nearly double the return to shareholders.
Well, how do companies do this?
Mckinsey categorised 4 themes of good design that lead to better performance financially.
First, design is more than just a feeling. Much like tracking costs and revenue, you need to assess design in the same analytical way: every designer should use metrics showing the connection between design decisions and company goals. McKinsey found that companies where C-level executives are design-focused and have a solid understanding of their customers, do best.
Second, good design is more than just a product. It is important to fully embrace the whole user experience: a customer's journey often includes the use of several of the company's products, services, and physical establishments; Solving the user's journey as a whole proves to result in more profitable design.
Third, the most successful companies do not put the responsibilities of design on just one department.
Rather, they understand that good design is cross functional throughout the whole company. This starts all the way from senior leadership down to the lowest person in the organization.
Fourth, design is not a phase. Rather, it is a continuous iteration based on constant learning and testing with users, gathering qualitative and quantiative data points.
This approach has two effects; mitigating risks of failure, as well as inducing the chances of creating over-performant products and services.
In McKinsey's study, 60% of companies said they never share early prototypes and share designs at a much later stage, which brings lesser results.
Many companies might apply some of theses design practices,
However, it is very rare to find a company that excels across all 4 design themes. The ones that do are the ones that perform the best.
A favorable way to get there is to pick out a small product coming up and commit to a pilot combining all 4 themes.