After working with Darrel Rhea of Cheskin for the past few months, we invited him to speak to our design team this week on his recent book Making Meaning (co-wrote with Nathan Shedroff and Steve Diller).
At the core he speaks about how companies have three ways to create a long term strategic competitive advantage: strategic M&A, operational excellence, and organic growth. It’s the last of these three that design forms the cornerstone of success for he said “Design is the skill of identifying and creating value”.
Given that design is the key to organic growth, he went on to discuss what makes a great experience and introduced the following framework:
At the most basic levels, a product or service may simply fill a need. For example, perhaps I need to buy some salt (economic need) so that I can add it to some cookies I’m making (functional need). However for a brand to become truly meaningful it must create a meaningful experience. Perhaps using Morton brand salt to help me bake cookies with my son would evoke memories of baking with my mom growing up–a meaningful experience.
I think Darrel and others evangelizing creating customer experience through the design process are right on. The companies that embrace this thinking will do well in an age where meaningful experiences create loyal customers (and thus value for shareholders).
This fall one of my courses at Haas will focus on design and how as leaders we can leverage it as the key to innovation and growth. I look forward to learning more and sharing it here on this blog as well as my thoughts on the Making Meaning book which I just ordered.