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Thought Leadership

Design as intentional change

Design as intentional change

What does it meant to adopt Comprehensive Design?

Design is a loaded term.

What is design: a process, a philosophy, a discipline? At Veriteer “design” is the most important part of how we do what we do, so with all the noise and confusion that has sprung up around it in recent years, it’s really important for us to be clear on what we mean when we say it.

Furthermore, in Veriteer it is also really important how we use the term. There are many people in the world today who have an emotional connection to their own definition of design, and for whom being a designer is their most important identity. And given that many of these people work in Veriteer, it is a sensitive topic.

This article captures the essence of what we mean by “design”, and describes the breath of its application across Veriteer.

Firstly, design denotes intention.

When you say that you do something “by design”, you indicate that you meant to do it that way (whatever it was that you did…). And if something wasn’t done by design, we can conclude that it has basically happened by accident. This is the most important part of our definition.

In Veriteer, we want to help brands achieve good outcomes. And if we want to achieve precise results, we have to be precise in the changes we make: there can be no accidental outcomes. Ergo, we have to do everything by design.

And ‘intentionality’ has some deeper nuance that we have to be aware of. When you intentionally choose to do something, it indicates:

  • That you have considered all (or at least most) of the things that you could do; and

  • That you have a clear rationale for choosing to do it in that way.

These two elements speak about fully exploring the option space, and using research and data to support creative thought in designing the change. These are both critical activities in every one of the services that deliver, and they align tightly to some of the core principles that are held so dear by those of us that identify as designers.

Lastly, design starts with the target experience.

The other component of our definition is about experience. And in this, we are being deliberately specific about the approach we take to designing anything.

We believe that good outcomes are not achieved by results alone, they are influenced by the experience of those results. For example, we might increase a brand’s profit margin by 5% - but if our key stakeholders were expecting a higher increase, then we will have delivered a bad customer experience. Similarly, a retailer’s prices may be lower than the competition, but if the customer doesn’t know or understand this, then they may not have the positive reaction at the checkout that you might expect.

As a result, although it may not be en vogue as a term anymore, we are passionate advocates for experiential design. This means that all of our design work starts with the experience that we wish to deliver for the affected stakeholders (whoever they may be).

This focus on the target experience is aligned to our customer-centric philosophy and is also one of the ways that we deliver differentiated outcomes.

For us, design is universal.

So despite it being a clunky phrase, for us design means creating an intentional experience.

And this applies to (or should apply to!) every single thing that we do. It doesn’t matter if we are designing a personalised brand experience, building a PowerPoint slide, or developing a customer-led growth strategy…it is universal.

All of our actions and outputs are based on our Comprehensive DesignTM methodology, and are focused on delivering an intentional experience for the customer / user / patient / student / citizen / stakeholder / whoever, so that we can achieve the precise, good outcomes that we are trying to realise.

This is why our internal mantra is Change, by design.

But […] design […].

So…so far we have talked about how we do things by design. But we haven’t quite talked about the use of the word ‘design’ by itself.

The reason for this is that we try not to use ‘design’ by itself, or the word designer. It is a very vague phrase, and design is certainly not a ‘service’ that we can deliver to our customers, or even a single methodology. It’s not really a thing, rather it’s just an element of how we provide all of our services.

That being said, there are many more specific uses of the word that we do love. Service design is a discipline that uses experiential design to develop well-crafted organisational services. Digital product design help creates software with an effective user experience. Communications design, learning design, store design, brand design, etc., etc. The combination of the word design (with all of its rich meaning, as described above) with the ‘thing’ that is being designed is very common across all of Veriteer.

But in general, all Veriteers are designers, whether they identify as one or not. And doing things by design is our most fundamental characteristic.