Why user centred design reduces risks and increase innovation height

On February 28th Jonas Svennberg, CEO, talked at Malmö Business breakfast seminar “0707am” on the subject design. With the focus on users needs he shared his thoughts about what it is that makes a design solution great. Here’s the summary from the morning.


Why design

“Why design?” was Jonas opening line. Then he followed up and explained that the concept of design differs depending fields, your connotations and expectations. From a design agency’s perspective design is everything from initial user insight work to final mechanical design of a physical product. Many people may think that design is just the styling of a product or a service, but it’s more of a method, an approach, that you use to secure that you create user value. “We do more than just ‘put lipstick on a pig’”, as Jonas told the audience, more than just the styling of a solution. The reason for design is to reach the “Exciters and delighters” by using design thinking methodology.

“With user centred design you reduce the risk and increase innovation height. But most of all, you know that the solution you’ve created gives the user value.”
– Jonas

Pyramid of needs

Working in a modern design process the goal is to deliver design solutions that you didn’t know you needed, based on your users needs. Why? “With user centred design you reduce the risk and increase innovation height. But most of all, you know that the solution you’ve created gives the user value.” says Jonas. We will explain more of the concept below, what we mean with delivering solutions you didn’t know you needed. For when you deliver design you can do it in three steps, or stages, where you always strives for the “Exciters and delighters”.

Basic needs

The first step is when you deliver what is evident. Often unspoken of, considered obvious. You know what the service includes. For example, today you can by a bus ticket from an app.

Performance need

Second step you start to think outside the box with involving needs that the users express but not always says. It’s more than the demands demand. Example, the app also helps you out with directions and timetables, even if the need just was to buy a ticket.

Exciters and delighters

Third step comes from an iterative modern design process and is innovative. The solutions is unspoken of, not expressed by users yet (as they might not even be aware of it) but is created based on user insights. This is what we call “great design” – a completely different solution to what you thought your users wanted in the first place. You’ve reached the exciters and delighters with an end solution that will sell itself. Because it’s that good.

Users are experts in their situation – but not necessarily on what they actually need. Designers is experts in creating solutions from inputs and observations.
– Jonas

Product or service - what is it today?

Another subject Jonas discussed is one of the big questions in the industry today – is it a product or a service? What are we designing? Jonas argues that it doesn’t matter – in the sense that it’s the same thing. The final solution should give value, be something somebody wants and is requested, regardless if it’s a product or a service solution.

Today it’s also harder to point out the differences, because the two of them are dependent of each other. The app needs the phone, the system needs the pieces that makes it a system, all of them needs a user who uses the product and service.

Why user centered design

We can no longer just create “cool” products and push them out on the market with the only value that it’s new. The cool thing now is to listen to the people who actually uses the things you produce. “Users are experts in their situation – but not necessarily on what they actually need. Designers is experts in creating solutions from inputs and observations” said Jonas in the meaning of that company no more can think inside out. In order to make the product or service survive we have to listen and create the best solution from users experiences, outside in.

5 ground steps of how to understand the user:

  1. Understand, interact, visualize with the stakeholders.
  2. Analyse, reflect, analyze and reflect again.  
  3. Ideation, co-create with the user. Get everyone aboard early in the process.
  4. Test with triggers, mockups, visualizations, all together with users. Test, test and test some more, iterate.
  5. Implement. Time and budget determines how many laps you can do in the iteration phase. When the service is done it's time for validation and scaling. For products it means mechanical design for production and then up for market.

User centered business models aka servitization

More and more businesses adapt this design thinking perspective of users needs when developing their business model. We see several leasing, on demand and rental solutions. Also the number of services around products increases – instead for buying a bike (product) we rent it for an hour (service). In design, this is called Servitization, which involves taking physical products, changing the business model and offering the product as a service.

Do you have a company that you think is really good at design?
– Spotify is an example of a great design solution, Jonas answers. In the early twentieth century we faced the problem of not being able to share music files as before. What Spotify did was to find a service solutions addressing the needs and behavior people had and created a business out of it. They listened to the market and their users and is today the world's largest music streaming company.

4 key takeaways from the talk:
  1. Outside in, not inside out. Start with the user, then the innovation.
  2. Get under the skin of your users – be open and curious.
  3. Bring everyone aboard from the start. It will pay off in the end!
  4. Start small. Changes are challenging, starting in small scale is better than not starting  at all. For each step, it becomes obvious why you should work with a modern design process and be close to the user.

April 4, 2018
Want to know more?
Get in touch with:
Jonas Svennberg
+46 704 20 77 39
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