by Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, SOLIDWORKS
Design in the Age of Experience is becoming more and more strategic. Innovators and entrepreneurs have realized that in addition to the functional aspects, design must also focus on the emotional connection with the user. As we put more focus on the emotional connection, design can create a close link between the user and their experience with a product or service.
To be successful, the design and the product cannot provide just capabilities. The concept must grab us and make us want it. When we see it, we believe in some way that this design is the solution we want.
Design as a discipline (including experimentation, room for error, iterations, testing, innovation…) and a way of thinking (based on facts and science, pragmatism, return on investment, lifecycle…) is becoming more sophisticated. Design thinking is now a big part of business thinking, and design principles can help give us a basis for the business plan. Design thinking now finds application outside the usual product development process and extends into many other business functions and industries. For example, hospitals now design the patient experience from check-in to release; auto dealers design the customer auto buying experience, and so on.
Product design itself is more attentive to the overall customer experience, starting from the unpacking of the product right after purchase. You may have read about the attention put into the unpacking experience of Apple products, which everybody is now copying.
In effect, with design, we are defining the new experience economy. Design grasps the total systemic experience—a convergence of science, research, design and art—to create personal connections and uncover new opportunities, particularly in identifying and developing new services that will be a big part of new business offerings in the future.
Experience thinking and the business model are the bookends of the new definition—the strategic aspect—of design. Connected products are opening the way for new personalized services that become “must have” customer experiences. New technologies, like the Internet of Things and the cloud, offer new opportunities to provide these services on demand. And using the data coming from consumers themselves, companies can create personalized services that tighten even further a continuous link for users, experiences and businesses.