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How ‘Human-centric’ Design Offers a Business Advantage

People ignore design that ignores people” Frank Chimero -Designer

When discussing work and workplaces—it eventually trickles down into the one more important element: people.

Work happens with people, by people and around people. And the drive for organizations to chart the ladder comes directly from its people. A design that accommodates this, is ‘Human Centric’, is the one that will rule the roost—something that has been well-established in recent times. By putting ‘people first’–it will no doubt create a workplace that has a strong moral, psychological and social core. Leading eventually to a spontaneous sense of productivity, creativity and yes—a definite advantage in terms of revenue and business. Overall, it will play a major role in consolidating the strength of the organization. In fact, as you come to decide how your company will respond to any crisis, a human-centric design is an absolutely positive place to begin.

Human-Centered Design (HCD) was most notably employed by design firm IDEO to create radical change in the social sector, describing it as a process that ‘starts with people’ and ‘ends with solutions catered to meet their needs’. It is applicable to other people-centric sectors as well–including corporate interior design. The process helps balance the ‘needs of the users, customers and community’ with the ‘needs of the organization’, as stated by IBM. Hence, when we say it gives the business an ‘advantage’–we go beyond strictly talking profits, and more into providing the business with value. Something that enriches its various aspects for the foreseeable future.

Let’s explore how.

Adding Value in Culture Through Empathy

HCD looks at ‘culture’ through an altruistic, positive lens that promotes value-centricity, including aspects like empathy and creativity and building an atmosphere around the employees that helps build the vibe that is perfect for the culture to grow and succeed. The goal is to create a fundamentally better ‘human experience’ for employees, clients and consumers. Something that is inclusive, diverse, open-minded and geared towards innovation. It then seeks to inculcate these values into the very fabric and identity of the organization.

Aiding these are aspects like ‘Energy Leadership’–which act as an interface between the design and the users–completing the experience. Such excellence in forward-thinking leadership offers a perfect complement to the nature of design itself, and becomes a cornerstone of the overall culture.

Improving Revenue Streams of the Organization

Fundamentally, it comes down to a basic understanding, which is: market share comes from making customers happier than the competition. Ultimately, this is an outcome that is based on humanistic values as well. Happy people build happy organizations–which build great products and happy customers, ultimately leading to a positive inflow of revenue–which makes everyone happier.

Human-centric design goes hand-in-hand with analytics. The proof, as always, is in the numbers. IBM stated that firms with HCD performed 32% better than regular firms, and delivered market value 2x faster. Design Management Institute (DMI) calculated that firms with HCD outperformed S&P 500 by an extraordinary 211%. Major firms like Blackrock also emphasized the value of human-centric elements like sustainability in their operations–making it critical to “making sustainability integral to portfolio construction and risk management”, in an official letter to their clients about their operations.

Helping in Organizational Transformation

HCD has an eye towards an organization’s long-term success and growth. Its core tenets are Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. This displays an open-minded and creative approach that is beneficial for the long haul, and trust that as long as the intent remains towards designing for the well-being of the people–the right solution will emerge, no matter what. It is also an iterative process, involving prototyping and testing–with constant feedback loops that generally make the idea better, identify more problems–and then solve them to an optimal capacity.

Implementing this mindset helps challenge each element of your business model–in a positive way. It builds adaptive, flexible, stronger and more resilient organizations, able to not only meet, but exceed the demands of the future.

In Conclusion

In the 21st century, the race is on for organizations to adopt and transform and keep the rapid pace of progress. Inculcating them with a ‘human’ core will facilitate a vital boost to the whole journey–and build something that will inspire, innovate and be talked about and remembered forever.


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