February 11, 2021
The correct view of the quote 'Good Design is Good Business'
Dharam Mentor

The moment you read 'Good Design is Good Business'; it seems convincing, compelling, and credible. However, some could argue that it isn't often so. Recently, my friend called me and said he created good designs for a brand a few years ago, and that brand did not do well in the market. In his opinion, a good design alone doesn't ensure good business.

Unfortunately, my friend viewed the quote incorrectly. He had restricted the meaning of the word 'design' to aesthetics, whereas design means a lot more. I believe calibrating the meaning of the word 'design' is essential to understand the above quote better. Sadly, for most people, the word 'design' equals to drawing, painting and designing products. Very few can associate the word 'design' to problem-solving. The nature of a problem could be engineering or economics, social or structural, aesthetically or perceptual. All these can be resolved by design-thinking processes.

Design = Problem Solving Process

On the other hand, 'Good Business' does not mean simply monetary profit. It can be good reputation, building equity for a brand and serving people better with a product/service too. In a nutshell, a brand should increase the well-being of individuals, families, communities and societies with its products and services. This leads to gaining trust from customers. This trust is also a form of a 'good business' gain which can be encashed later.

Source: www.enterpriseai.news/2014/04/08/ibm-system360-original-enterprise-tech/

The phrase 'Good Design is Good Business' was coined by Thomas John Watson Jr., Chairman, and CEO of IBM. He started this initiative through modern design philosophy. He affirmed Good Design increases value, boosts sales and puts IBM business in an excellent financial condition. He believed that an excellent design helps build consumer trust, make a strong first impression and build strong consumer relationships, which eventually translate into a profitable business proposition and generate revenue for the company.

Let's look at the three strong reasons, how 'Good Design' can be a Good (profitable) business?

Firstly, a good design helps create an excellent first impression; as the saying goes, the 'First impression is the last impression.' So being right at first makes a lot of difference to a business and its success in today's hyper-competitive market. Hence, applying design (problem-solving tools) to produce excellent products and services could give one an edge and first-mover advantage in many cases.

Secondly, as we discussed earlier, the word design stands for a problem-solving process. It encompasses several tools that aid in innovating effective solutions. Tesla is one such company. It uses design thinking extensively. Hardly anybody could have imagined it a few decades ago, breaking into a highly developed and competitive USA car market and setting EV cars trends. Yes, Tesla was able to do it effectively because of the proper application of the design processes.

Thirdly, it seems commonsensical that a good design can lead to substantial revenue generation. Isn't every customer looking for a good design? Yes, true! As customers, we all expect a product or service to solve our problems. That's why we opt for those respective products/services and are willing to pay for them. Sometimes we don't even mind incurring an extra cost if the solution matches our expectations perfectly .

Further, Good Design extensively applies a human-centric design-thinking methodology. For instance, Apple Computers, from the beginning, adhered to human-centric-design-thinking, which resulted in producing excellent solutions. Apple is one such company that exemplifies the 'Good Design is Good Business' statement.

Human-Centric Design Thinking

To conclude, design is beyond drawing, painting and image creation. It's a problem-solving approach that encompasses several tools that enable us to arrive at an appropriate solution. The problem could be of any nature, from structural to biological, social to economical, corporate branding to product design, any problematic issue can be dealt with effectively. Hence, a Good Design can be the bedrock for a Good successful Business!