An old buddy sent me a link to this on the UK design council site about Cycle Clothing entrprise Rapha.

From start up to 900,000 quid per annum turnover is an impressive statistic. It is an example of what I have been saying in terms of having an all-encompassing view towards Design (capitlisation intentional). For too long people have seen design as an adjunct to a business, primarily concerned with product development, branding or marketing. What design proponents have been saying over the past few years is that design involves all aspects of the business, from structure to processes to development to relationship building.

If we look at Xero as an example, we can see that Rod “designed” the business from the ground up – the early IPO, the development team he’s built, the strategy to target Australasia and UK almost contemporaneously, the partnerships with accounting firms and banks – all this is design in its broader sense.

Its an idea which is gaining momentum here in NZ too – Better by Design is the most widely known proponent of design for growth, but working quietly underneath them are organisations such as designindustry which is heavily involved in the “holistic business design” space – helping businesses develop all aspects of their operations so as to achieve their desired outcome.

We need to build these sorts of businesses here in New Zealand. We’re too focused on making “things” and few enterprises are really focused on building pathways focused on facilitating achievable and sustainable growth.

Disclosure – I provide some services to designindustry loosely related to strategic planning and design methodology development and implementation

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Hey Ben,

    You’re right – of course. I spoke at Massey University’s open day on the weekend. The theme of my talk was ‘Designing a future’. It was a variation on the concepts behind Idealog magazine – emphasis on the need to diversify the economy in addition to meat, milk and wool.

    I broke the talk into two parts: Value and Values.

    There is the obvious aspect of design that adds value to commodities and materials for the profit of the maker and the enhanced satisfaction of the user. But I think that designers also have a crucial role in imagining a future that uses sustainable materials, reduces waste and increases the happiness of people for the right reasons (other than consumption alone).

    Design isn’t ‘making nice’ anymore, is it?

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