Closing the loop — designing beyond digital

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15 minutes downtime. Site zapping along our favourite inspirational sites can make you think that creating and shipping killer apps and features is one of the most important things in the world.

This, of course, is not true.

The focus, the alfa and the omega, is people, real human beings. As a professional, designer and otherwise, it is your responsibility to make sure that you understand who is using your products and services.

The last two decades has seen an enormous mobilisation of technology in business, but we have lost focus where the actual value is created.

The internet is not young anymore and we have become comfortable. There is reasonably good money in incrementally improving apps and websites of businesses around us. Meanwhile, the world’s largest corporations are buying up the studios we dreamed of working at.

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Large corporations are buying up the studios we dreamed of working at.

Digital is an enabler

People use technology to achieve things. We can use technology to pass the time, tell our friends we are running late, save us a trip to the bank or set up large-scale cybercrime organisations.

There is a difference in a store that sells things through your phone, and a store that never closes. By understanding who your customers are, what they need and what motivates them, you can make key decisions about what and how things are sold, serviced and delivered.

Restructuring to meet people on their own terms

Technology is a type of “Pollyfilla“ that has a magic ability to be shaped to fit gaps of many shapes, but it is essentially a bridge. We need to look at what people actually do and shape experiences that thrive in the ecology around those people.

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Fits all gaps?

Curiosity, research & testing and are not enough. If we are serious about creating products and services for people we must also design, challenge the status quo. We must move beyond todays apps and create for the needs (or wants) of people.

This is both easier and more challenging than one might think. Holistically, we can make this happen by creating cross-disciplinary teams and enabling them to run open-ended design projects. On a personal plane, it is about creating the time and space to experiment and think.

I don’t have the answers as to where you will end up, but it’s time that we push the boundaries of design.

It is time to stop thinking digital & start speaking people.

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