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Design’s value: 32% higher revenue

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Imagine making an investment in your business that statistically shows a 32% higher revenue improvement compared to your competitors. That’s the basic premise of a McKinsey report from last year. And, yes, the investment is in design. This is for all aspects of design: physical products, services, and digital or physical interactions, among others.

The McKinsey report cited analytical leadership, user experience, cross-functional talent, and continuous iterations. Let’s explore each of these terms to see what we can learn from this.

First, analytical leadership. This encompasses creating a bold, user-centric strategy, having design experts embedded in the leadership of the organization, and utilizing design metrics (for example, satisfaction ratings and usability evaluations) to carefully track results.

Second, user experience. This encompasses mapping a customer journey, from pain points to sources of delight, to understand your customers’ needs. Then, it’s critical to make sure your product or service meets these needs better than your competition.

Third, cross-functional talent. It’s a matter of making everyone in the organization responsible for the design. This one was somewhat controversial to me. I worry that this opens the door to design-by-committee. Very often, this can really dilute design’s impact when not implemented correctly. Everyone has an opinion. But, not everyone’s opinion has equal value. It takes having a design leader in place to ensure that the good ideas rise to the top, and not dilute the design to appease a committee.

Fourth, continuous iterations. Design can often improve and gain more value as we learn from past efforts. It requires research into user experiences to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s a matter of continually refining these efforts to make the end product—whether it’s a physical product, service, or digital or physical interaction—the best solution possible.

The value of great design. It takes a designer with a ton of experience to help get you there—one that values your company’s goals but not at the expense of your customers. Sometimes, it takes someone from outside your organization to help keep your focus from a strictly profit-driven company to one that keeps this balanced with what your customers find valuable. This can often drive significant long-term growth. And based on the McKinsey report, that amounts to 32% higher revenue for companies that score high in their design methodologies.


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