"It’s natural for most managers to think of “design” as a noun. They focus on a product’s surface properties: the shape of the chair or the elements of a Web page. Traditionally, business schools have treated design as a static quality—the beautiful, functional, and sustainable aspects of a product that feel just right.
But think of “design” as a verb and instantly it takes on movement and purpose. To design is to envision, to plan, to clarify, to build, to enrich. As we shift our focus from noun to verb, design becomes dynamic—a vigorous approach to solving problems, identifying new opportunities, and creating great solutions.
Ask a designer to describe the steps it took to arrive at a winning solution and you’ll hear some core principles: conduct research to generate insight; envision solutions that embody unifying concepts, ideas, or stories; build prototypes, endless numbers of prototypes, while continually testing, refining, and improving them; clarify meaningful experiences people will have with the product; consider larger ecosystems and complete life cycles. Design is not a single activity; it is an organic collection of interconnected practices that create value.
Framing “design” as both a noun and a verb offers useful ways to apply design within the workplace. The noun provides teams with clear targets for success. And the verb propels individuals to coordinate their work in fresh ways. Good design-as an end as well as a means-can be taught. Individuals, teams, and organizations improve with shared vocabularies and activities.
Technology is transforming design in both senses of the word. As tools become cheaper, more accessible, and more sophisticated, they change how people work and what they can possibly create.”
By Tom Wujec