This challenge is exacerbated by the inherent difficulty in mastering UX design. In fact, a strong UX capability (described as the ability to create well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction) is regarded as the most difficult to master, harder than a host of other fundamental areas such as data, technology, strategy, culture and skills (Figure 13).
Design-led thinking is ultimately about having the customer at the heart of your business strategy, building the experience based on an intimate understanding of how people use your products and services, and where there is friction in the process to iron out.
While individuals who specialise in UX and service design are important, an organisational approach to design means ensuring that individuals from different customer-facing departments are building as clear a picture of use cases as possible, and contributing to design-driven solutions. Companies are also more likely to learn from their failures than their successes, so it is important that organisations use setbacks as a springboard for CX improvements.
There is a mixed picture when it comes to the extent to which companies have a consistent approach to design across the whole business, with only 57% of respondents agreeing that this is the case (Figure 11). Similarly, less than two-thirds (65%) of organisations agree that design is consistent across the digital and physical worlds.
Speaking at Adobe MAX—The Creativity Conference last year, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said that we are living through ‘the dawn of the 21st Century Renaissance’. According to Narayen, the first Renaissance period famed for the likes of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci focused on the individual artist, but the blend of art, science, data and design that defines the new renaissance will take human creativity to new heights.
Adidas is a good example of a brand that has worked hard to embed digital thinking into its design processes, including core principles such as testing, iteration, understanding the user and solving pain points. Simone Cesano, Senior Director of Design Operations at Adidas, told the same conference that one of the secrets to their success in digitising the design experience was harnessing the talents of the company’s early adopters: “The first thing we realised is that there is always a small number of individuals in any company that are early adopters. These are people within the organisation who will try new things just because they are new.” 9