Three Questions For National Design Week

You may have missed it on the calendar, but we’re in the middle of National Design Week. In a National Design Week event called The Business Of Design, Jeanne Liedtka, from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, discussed a three year study that looked at managers who could grow revenue in a slow market. Her advice to executives:

They need to unlearn. The first thing a manager should do is leave the building and talk to a customer.

My Take: Some people may be asking: “Why should I care about National Design Week, I’m not a designer or an artist.” It turns out that “design” is a critical element in many aspects of business. To understand why it’s important, let’s think about what makes good design

Good design is something that evokes a positive emotional response from a particular audience (the assessment of design is in the eyes of the beholder). Isn’t that the goal for activities like product development, service design, customer experience, and marketing?

In honor of National Design Week, I urge everyone to constantly ask (and answer) the three questions of Scenario Design that we’ve been using at Forrester for more than a decade:

  1. Who are your users?
  2. What are their goals?
  3. How can you help them accomplish their goals?

The bottom line: Good design is good business.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 thoughts on “Three Questions For National Design Week”

  1. Bruce, I welcome your post on design. We tend to focus on product design, and certainly Apple and others show us each day the power of design in creating differentiation. But they also point to a linkage with the rest of what creates great experience – and holistic, integrated experience as you do a great job writing about. At a minimum, I think great product design helps to create an expectation that the service to deliver and surround that product will be equally as good, as engaging. Painfully, it can also be a bigger disappointment when it doesn’t match! I hope to write a few more entries on design and customer experience and hope we can keep the larger dialogue going on it’s importance to customer experience!

    1. Bryan: Thanks for your comments. It would be great if the entire experience (product/service/etc.) got the same attention that happens with good product design. I look forward to your posts.

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