The One Relationship Your Organization Needs For Success

Do you want to limit waste in your organization? Do you want your efforts to have greater impact? Become best friends with a designer.

Leaders and institutional workers make every effort to bring products and services to their users. However, despite valiant efforts, the systems in place to deliver resources often are working against the goal.

Let’s call these traditional systems.

Though they produce many goods for the end user, traditional systems have a few problems:

  • User access points are often scattered.
  • There is little feedback from users or communication within the system.
  • They fall prey to unnecessary structural tension and overlap.
  • The structure is built to maintain the system, rather than to adapt to changing user need.

In traditional systems, resources vital for the intended users are often wasted or not put to best use, not because there are individuals or groups taking advantage of the system, but because the system is not built effectively for the user.

Herein lies the need for design.

Designers go into these systems and, through the process of ethnographic research and prototyping, find how to utilize existing resources in new ways to activate their potential.

Designers look at the raw resources and discover how they can be reconfigured to create a stronger system for the user.

The goal of user-centered design is to create a user-centered system.

In a user-centered system:

  • There are many accessible user access points.
  • The system is structured around the user and designed for their experience.
  • There is strategic resource movement, crossover and communication.
  • System tension is limited.

Designers test and develop new approaches to get resources to the user efficiently and effectively, streamlining and documenting the process for future innovative efforts.

The typical problem for an organization is not a lack of resources; it is the unactivated power from those resources. Innovation does not require new technology or millions of dollars; it requires willingness to put your model to the test and change it when it does not serve your user.

The resources and potential energy in both traditional and user-centered systems are the same, but the outcome is very different.

Design once was reserved for tangible product development. In an increasingly services-based world, however, the product has become the experience. There is now a global movement surrounding the application of design thinking to service organizations and whole social systems — from healthcare and education systems to government services. The Business Innovation Factory and many other design groups are imagining a world where public policy is driven by the citizen experience, where education is centered on the student, and healthcare created for the patient.

Whether you are leading a small group, an organization or a whole social system, the principles of design stand the test of user experience. Do you want a powerful system to match the work you put in?

You are working hard, so do yourself a favor — become friends with a designer.


N E X T → Mrs. W and the Citizen Story