DESIGN FOR VALUES
Market Demand for Design for Values
Design for Values was conceived during conversations at the 3rd Global Islamic Marketing Conference in Tahrir Square Cairo in 2012. One of the worlds ancient cradles of innovation and civilization. At a time of social and political turmoil, in a world where people were demanding more say over all aspects of their lives. This struggle continues today, from the ballot box to the bread box, consumers are demanding input to the contents of the products they are offered and the manner in which those products are marketed and sold to them. From fast food to fake news and massive manipulation of peoples energies to negative ends; people have lost their appetite for deceit and want nourishment that is honest and good for the body and soul. This is relevant to anything we consume, from food to public services, from news and entertainment to political discourse. In this iteration, Design for Values is focused on Islamic Values. Values that include, ethics, honesty, respect for human dignity, human health, and environmental well being. Design for Values is a Universal Thought and the evolution of a powerful business philosophy. Design for Values is good for business, generating loyal customers and a waiting market. It is good for consumers and we are all consumers.
Why should Business care about Design for Values? Because Business benefits from listening to its customers and understanding and resolving their pain. Design for Values addresses the pain felt daily by Muslim consumers. Design for Values is a good business philosophy with a distinguished pedigree
Design for Values - Listen to the customer, delight the customer, catch the winds of change to stay ahead of the competition
Applying Design for Values in the development and delivery of new products will create a more Islamic consumer experience. It will provide healthful food, sustainable products, generate employment, and increase company profitability while protecting the environment. Food that is Halal but that leads to obesity, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes can be eliminated. Excess waste will be reduced. Products will not quickly become obsolete by design. Islam abhors waste and conspicuous consumption so products consumed by Muslims should reflect this. Such products will among other changes limit extraneous packaging with the benefits of reduced cost and increased sustainability. In electronics it will provide a long term path for upgrading functionality, minimising built in obsolescence and providing greater opportunity to generate service revenue, creating a win-win for the consumer and Business. It will design the ability to recycle in an economical and environmentally positive manner.
Design for Values aligns the Business imperative to make a profit with the Consumers demand that products reflect their values by implementing a Business ethos that is "Human 2 Human" This shifts the business focus to a deeper and longer term view. Companies adhering to this business model can generate high levels of customer loyalty and predictable profits. All business is transacted by humans to humans even when web enabled. Obscuring the human element and a short term perspective on profit helps explain why good people will produce and promote products and services that are detrimental to human and environmental health. This is no longer considered 'Good Business'. Fortune Magazine reports, The Business Roundtable of America on August 19, 2019 revised its 'Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation' to acknowledge the social responsibility that corporations have to the wider community, as opposed to a single focus on profit. The appropriate pressure and encouragement can help ensure that these words are followed by concrete actions.
See what some of the leading Innovation thought leaders have to say:
'Corporations such as Unilever, Allianz, or Lafarge are already moving from a traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy to a more comprehensive approach, integrating social impact in their business models. They have understood that social innovation is an attractive way to drive growth and get financial profits while also generating social returns. To include the social perspective in their general business strategy enables these companies to gain access to new customer segments, improve their brand reputation, and attract and retain top talent. They are not alone: the Social Innovation Summit 2017 in Chicago gathered more than 1,000 professionals from the corporate world looking for new ways of doing good while doing business.' (http://www.innovationmanagement.se/2018/02/06/impact-assessment-the-innovation-paradigm-shift-that-is-coming/)
Design for Values is as shown above a timely innovation ready to catch a new wave both in the Business and Muslim Consumer world. It is an innovation built on solid business foundations.
The business pedigree of Design for Values
Design for Manufacture – Design for Service - Design for Values
W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) - "Great Grandfather" of Design for Values
Deming is chosen as a starting point but it is most likely that he worked from the shoulders of others who have remained in the shadows. Ibn Khaldun who some regard as the Father of Economic Theory developed economic and business principles in the 14th Century that were influenced to some degree by ancient Greek philosophers. His ideas were in turn used by Adam Smith and Joseph A. Shumpeter.
Design for Values product development focus is, likewise, inspired by a long established manufacturing process known as Design for Manufacturability. At the core of this philosophy is the principle that a product’s ability to deliver a desired outcome, such as ease of error free manufacture, be integral to the product design. Though no one individual can be credited with inventing Design for Manufacture it has strong connection to the work of W. Edwards Deming. Deming is often discussed as the most influential non-Japanese contributor to that countries emergence as a post WWII manufacturing powerhouse. It is widely felt that his philosophy - the Deming Way - was only fully appreciated in his home country of the USA years after his success in Japan and shortly before his death in 1993.
Each of the 14 points in the Deming Way have a place in the implementation of Design for Values:
Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
Adopt the new philosophy.
Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
Institute training on the job.
Adopt and institute leadership.
Drive out fear.
Break down barriers between staff areas.
Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.
Technology based companies world-wide have prospered by learning from Deming and following Design for Manufacturability, and it's many offspring - Design for Engineering, Design for Assembly and Design for Service. Design for Service, for example, mandates that the ability to service, repair and upgrade a product is maximized at the design stage of the new product development process and maintained or enhanced at each iteration. Design for Delight (Customer Delight) is followed by global software provider Intuit and credited with bringing customer retention to new highs. Intuit describes Design for Delight as follows "“D4D IS OUR #1 SECRET WEAPON AT INTUIT. THERE IS NO #2.”- Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit Inc."
From the Intuit website: "Design for Delight, aka D4D, is a series of three principles which represent how we innovate at Intuit. D4D’s goal is to help teams to be bold by going beyond customer expectations, evoking positive emotion throughout the customer experience, and delivering dramatic improvements in our customers’ lives. Principle #1: Deep Customer Empathy
Why is this important- Empathy allows us to get inspired and embrace the unexpected. By gaining a deeper understanding of our customer, what their pain points are, why and how they are currently doing something, it gives us that inspiration to innovate and come up with solutions to change their lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way of doing things."
All of the above design approaches have led to reduced manufacturing cost, increased product reliability, and it is reasonable to infer, increased profit potential, customer satisfaction and corporate prestige. One example of the success of this business philosophy is the transition of the Japanese automotive brands from low cost low quality cars to prestige brands. A transition that forced the rest of the world's car manufacturers to endure a painful period of forced re-invention. As can be seen from the Intuit example, guiding a company to success through Design Thinking has a continuing track record of success. The two innovation methodologies credited by Intuit for their on going success are Customer Driven Innovation and Design for Delight, both of which exist comfortably within the world of Design for Values.
Many approaches exist for promoting innovation and design excellence, Design for Values can be a guiding principle in all of them. What is first required is a deep implementation of 'Voice of the Customer' analysis. Early implementations of Design for Values will show to what extent 'Lead User' analysis is effective and who can be considered an authentic and representative Lead User. It may well be that the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) is the ultimate Lead User with the Holy Quran digitized and analysed by AI offering a technological solution to any lack of consistency found among humans.
Applying Design for Values will increase business and employment opportunities for Muslim engineers, marketers', managers, etc. Applying Design for Values will increase opportunities at a time when high levels of youth unemployment in the Muslim world has far reaching social repercussions. You can read about the work of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to understand how widely this issue is being addressed. The Islamic World Academy of Science also recognises this critical issue and are working to promote positive change: "The Islamic world must invest in science, technology, and innovation. Politics rather than policy is clouding the biosphere of most countries in the Islamic world. Science policy in the Arab region is not stable due to instability of the region."
Implementing Design for Values
Design for Values builds on well-established and proven business approaches garnered from the fields of manufacturing, service and new product development. It draws on principles that guide how innovation can and should be informed by human needs and values, it is an application of two very effective customer-input tools for the new product development process - Voice of the Customer and Lead User analysis. Both of these methodologies have been instrumental in the multi-generational success of companies such as 3M corporation, Adobe Systems, Fidelity Investments and Jet Blue Airways. Beliefs, Values, Culture and Expectations combine with the tools of business moderated by Design for Values to create a new product pipeline that is pre-configured for market success.
In Design for Values the term product is applied to an interaction involving an exchange of value between people. This is a broad definition and reflects the scope for implementation of the principle involved; for example, the process of passport administration can be re-imagined to Design for Values precepts. Hours of service can accommodate prayer time, facilities for taking photographs can respect Islamic requirements, people can be treated with dignity and respect at all times, people can be placed before bureaucracy. Design for Values is a way of thinking and once you start to think this way then the opportunities for use will be endless.
Where do you start from a business perspective?
A decision to adopt is the first step. Assign resources. Educate your workforce. Liaising with outside experts. Gathering the Voice of the Customer. Consider Design for Values from a product perspective, create a 1st Generation iteration that may be rudimentary but delivers something the consumer is not getting from existing suppliers, deliver it to market and improve based on market feedback.