Welcome to the last edition of Designers in Business for 2020. The newsletter is taking a break, giving me time to work on new content ideas and some (hopefully) useful website resources.
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8 Core Business Concepts You Need To Know
As designers it’s natural to position product towards the centre of our business universe.
In this quickfire edit of a longer interview, Marcus Whitney reminds us just how many other concepts are important for business success.
His top priorities? Leadership, Finance, and Operations.
5 steps to a hypothesis-driven design process
Whether commercial, charity, or public sector, organisations typically look to reduce risk wherever possible. Big bets that pay off can be game changers, but getting it wrong can cost customers, revenue, and jobs.
Hypothesis-driven design helps reduce this risk by testing assumptions early and often. If you’re a designer new to this experimental approach, Sylvia Lai has you covered with this practical primer.
An Introduction to Positioning
5 minute read by April Dunford.
Positioning is a regularly misunderstood business marketing term. I’ve often struggled to clearly grasp the concept, confusing it with another fuzzy term: value proposition.
April Dunford is an leader in positioning and describes it like the opening scene of a movie - answering the big questions: Where are we? What year is this? What’s happening? Who are these people?
“Once we have established some context, we can settle in and pay attention to the story.”
ROI OF DESIGN
How to get business value from a Design Sprint
8 minute read by Nathan Kinch.
Used appropriately, Design Sprints offer businesses great bang for their buck. An accessible way to introduce the benefits of Design Thinking, they’re used to de-risk investment in potentially lucrative ideas.
But getting signoff for a Design Sprint can be a challenge; they’re an expensive commitment. In this article, Nathan Kinch suggests ways to get business value from a Sprint, approaches that could help you build a compelling case to get stakeholders on board.
New to Design Sprints? Try the last edition of the Clearleft podcast as an introduction, an episode it was a pleasure to be one of the guests on.
DIGITAL BUSINESS MODELS
How to shift towards a paywall: a detailed guide
15 minute read by Milos Stanic for Smartocto.
I’m currently deep in the world of paywalls, exploring them for a client who is looking to improve the conversion performance of their current paywall design.
Background research led me to this article from Smartocto, a Dutch agency specialising in content strategy and related business models.
It’s a long but well written guide covering paywall types, benefits, triggers, and how to measure their success. One to bookmark if you’re looking to get ahead with an approach growing in popularity while advertising revenue models continue to lose their lustre.
Practicing Growth Design
The more I hear about the role of Growth Designer, the more I relate to it. Lex Roman shares a definition of the discipline in her post Calling all Growth Designers:
“A person who approaches product design through the dual lens of customer experience and business impact.”
In this fantastic talk from Clearleft’s SofaConf, Lex shares 4 key skills that can help designers level-up their ability to deliver both customer and business value.
Armed with better ways to connect our work to business goals, Lex believes we can have greater influence on more strategic decisions by demonstrating the impact of our work more effectively.
Designers are regularly advised to talk and think more like our business counterparts if we want to have greater impact. I’ve shared plenty of content echoing this very sentiment.
So it’s refreshing to hear Nathan Shedroff argue that business leaders would also benefit from upskilling in a design superpower; our comfort with ambiguity.
How Salesforce Makes Decisions on Ethics and Social Issues
Last year Salesforce hired its first resident ethicist, Paula Goldman. As Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer, Paula is responsible for ensuring Salesforce products are developed with ethics in mind and that unintended consequences are discovered before they cause harm.
Saleforces share the background to their Ethical and Humane Use mission online. A standout infographic (PDF) from the portal summarises research which could help convince other business leaders to follow suit; the enormous business opportunity available to companies with ethics at their core.
Business Wars: The North Face vs Patagonia
Podcast series by Wondery.
Business Wars isn’t your typical business podcast. Instead of the usual interview format, David Brown brings the key players to life by dramatising the story of some famous rivalries. It’s a compelling listen and an engaging way to hear some fascinating business tales.
Tech rivalries are covered (Uber vs Lyft for example), but if you fancy a break from digital, I particularly enjoyed the series about two famous outdoor brands - The North Face and Patagonia.