What Do You Get When You Cross Design with Business?

This isn't a trick question. In fact, the intersection of design and business is a very real phenomenon that is only gaining momentum.

It's no secret. Design thinking is a competitive advantage for companies that embrace it and apply it to their products, packaging, marketing, websites and user interfaces. Think Apple, Adobe, Starbucks. But business trends are also influencing design. Here are just three ways these two fields are colliding.

1. Chief design officers are gaining speed.

While chief design officers aren't a new breed, they have been multiplying as more companies recognize the role design plays in influencing consumers' buying decisions. For instance, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo recently added the chief design officer job to their payroll.

2. MBA students want to think like designers.

Design thinking is not only a philosophy, but it's also a skill that students want to and can acquire. Thinking like a designer would give them the ability to make more informed, design-centric decisions.

Design educators also recognize the value in the convergence and have partnered up with business schools to provide a more holistic approach toward a design-centric curriculum. Through these innovative programs, designers and non-designers alike are able to tackle complex business problems with unique design-oriented solutions.

Here are some schools that offer programs or courses that apply design thinking to business practices:

3. Big data is going visual.

Since big data is pervasive and accessible, IT departments are collaborating with graphic and UX designers to format and present data so that it's organized, visual and digestible. If designers can achieve this and give the end user a positive experience, data is much more approachable and likelier to be applied.  

What impact has design thinking had on your company? What are the greatest barriers to adopting a design thinking mind-set?

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