Mobile experience comes from mobile design
Last Monday Apple announced a series of upgrades to its iPhone, iPad, and Mac operating systems towards a more seamless integration, and also Apple HomeKit, a new OS for your home. And Google has taken steps into the home digital environment with the purchase of Nest, a sensor-driven thermostat for homes that connects to the internet. Today Mobile accounts for 25% of all web usage; apps, smart phones and mobile computing are moving to the heart of everything, with smart wearables on the close horizon. There are more than 10 billion things connected to the internet today, by 2020, that number will grow to 50 billion. The world of digital is changing the face of business, and it is mobile.
We recently helped a leading global electronics company evaluate their UX R&D Design Center. What I found most interesting is the integration of UX Design and R&D. Their products and connectivity is interesting indeed, but far more interesting is the fact that designers are leading R&D; not scientists, not engineers, not developers, but product and UX designers. The people who are trained to understand users, context, design process and methods, creative problem solving, design and user experiences. In the omni-channel world of today, in digital platforms, those who understand the customer journey and how the experience affects consumer behavior are helping to shape companies. What’s more, in business today services trump products, and experiences trump brands. And those who create the experiences, design leaders, are very active, literally.
Mobile design comes from mobile talent
Suffice it to say, these new design leaders are on the move. We recently filled a UX Design Director position in San Jose, and during the search I talked with a potential candidate who had only been at his current employer for six months, none the less, he was very interested to explore the opportunity we were working on. I had a similar experience filling a VP of Experience Design position in Seattle recently; it’s stunning how many UX design leaders are changing companies. And some are asking, why not? While a job change decision previously may have been about career potential and culture fit, today it seems to be more about how cool the current project is, and how disruptive the product or service solution can be. Creative design leaders today are very interested in the opportunities that can bring big changes to a market, like mobile, and promise disruptive impact. And they are interested in the opportunities where their opinion counts, based on their understanding of design, design process, context and user.
Mobile talent comes from mobile society
In fact, mobile is changing everything – how and where we work, communicate, conduct transactions, and even how we even feel. Mobile is the nature of work today, coupled with the nature of change today. Nothing is holding still, actually it never has, but we are more aware of the escalating rate of change – companies change, climates change, governments change, economics change, expectations change, education is changing and societies are changing; change is the new normal. Change is the result of new design. And there is nothing like creating change than a talented design leader.
Design leaders as a channel
The effect of the connected ecosystem of devices, homes, cars, retail and environments on consumer decision-making is powerful to say the least. But at the core, the empowered consumer is the new driver. Work style will change to meet employee needs, and jobs will change to meet customers needs. The customer journey and experience is what counts, and design leaders create these customer experiences.
Perhaps, the design leader / design thinker is a channel to user experience. I’d like to suggest that the empowered design leader / design thinker is the new channel. Who ever imagined that we would consider design leaders as a channel? Fascinating concept. Is this a glimpse of insight into creating cultures, or at least pockets, of innovation?
Who are the design leaders and design thinkers in your organization? How are they being empowered?