We all know that as designers we work beyond ourselves, we work for others, we work for projects and solutions that make sense and create value for others. This value is often not just a number and very often it is much more than we can imagine. Most of the time the impact is irreversible and triggers cumulative impact. We know till someone else benefits from our value creation, as designers we are not satisfied. Whether it is a logo for a machine or an app, or just a rearrangement of furniture, we feel fulfilled by the way it changes the world around us.
Most of our work is such that we can communicate it to others, make them comfortable using it, and transfer to other stakeholders to manage it further. A designer or a studio also build value for themselves when they are doing such projects. Each project adds to its portfolio, brings in more work and attracts people who want to work on such projects. Many studios, as well as designers, become aware of the value they are creating at this stage and start introspecting. At this stage, much of this value is the designer’s talent itself. Very few studios in the past have been able to create processes and systems that account for talent. With these in place, the value of the studio becomes transferable and scalable.
Design as an industry becomes valid only when the designers and studios start building value that is transferable and scalable. A freelance designer could be very talented and may do fantastic work, but that kind of work will not continue in his/her absence.
I think it is time for us to include creation of the Business Value of Design as a topic in design schools. While we have started teaching Design Management to designers, they also now need to start planning on creating a transferable and scalable value for the work they do.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief