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The Era of Design – A fundamental change in business (Short)

The Era of Design – A fundamental change in business (Short)

– Notes try to summarize what I talked about –

This talk is a short summary of my normal keynote talk "The Era of Design". I was invited to kick off the panel "Make it inviting to use" at NEXT13 in Berlin. The talk introduces the people-centered design approach as the core of successful businesses in the 21st century (to a non-design audience).


Benedikt Lehnert

April 23, 2013


  1. The Era of Design A fundamental change in business When

    I went to art college, they asked me what kind of designer I want to become. I had to choose between Communications Design and Industrial Design. I found this question so stupid that I didn‘t want to stay there any longer and dropped out. In the next minutes I will tell you why and how this thinking can help you to build better products.
  2. hello Ben, who? Designer, CMO & Head of Product 6Wunderkinder,

    @blehnert hallo
  3. That‘s what my Mum thinks when I tell her I

    am a designer.
  4. That‘s what my design buddies think when we talk about

    being a designer
  5. What a wonderful job! But most of the time I

    just think: What a wonderful job!
  6. People I create things that people use. Things that hopefully

    change people‘s lives. Things that make people happy.
  7. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like.

    Design is how it works. Steve Jobs There‘s this quote which is ofter brought up when designers talk about design. And, without doubt, there‘s a lot of truth in it. Yet, it is often misunderstood, because people seem to ignore the perspective of the quote: It‘s a quote of a creator, expressing his philosophy. For a user, design is only how it feels.
  8. Experience We create experiences for people. And normal people don’t

    want to care about how it works.
  9. Design And that‘s it. Plain and simple: Design means being

    aware of the simple fact that everything we do, every single decision we make when creating a product results in an experience for the user.
  10. Design ... ... is based on people and their diverse

    needs. These needs range from physical and psychological needs, to needs of the human mind to the objective environment. Source: Wikipedia So, what is design about? Designing means shaping these experiences through conscious decisions. And a “very scientific source” (Wikipedia) reveals the core of design.
  11. Needs (Hint: needs are not always what people ask for)

    Needs. Such a small word, but such a big impact. Some needs are obvious: Like a physical need to move from A to B. Other needs are less obvious: Like the need of people to express themselves in order to receive a social reward. Like on Facebook. We leave a personal mark in the digital world and feel good as soon as someone likes our pictures or comments on status
  12. Great design solves a problem.

  13. The stories that are our lives There is scientific evidence

    –and I stole this insight from Louisa Heinrichs talk – that humans think of their lives as stories. That helps us to deal with the world around us and the fact that we all die one day. Our stories are the parts of us that live on.
  14. Hello, stranger. So, if people‘s lives are stories, then the

    script is already partially written... BUT: By introducing a new character, we have the chance to change the script; to influence their stories. It‘s like the moment you meet a stranger and it ends up to become one of the best relationships in your life.
  15. Great products have character, and provide value. What does it

    take to become a close friend to a person? We all know these folks we meet in a bar, that talk way to much, have a big ego and are not even listening to what we have to tell. Chances are high that we‘ll never see them again. We all know such products. Then there are the others, that listen, are nice, sometimes quiet, yet self-confident and provide advice/help when we need it. As designers, we strive to create an experience where the user can‘t imagine that it could be any other way. Where it feels natural.
  16. Don’ts & Dos

  17. Do not create a ‘fancy’ product. Build a meaningful product.

    You want to provide real value.
  18. Do not copy concepts of other products. The fact that

    it worked for someone else doesn‘t mean it works for you.
  19. Do not forget the details. Here lies the potential to

    make people smile.
  20. Do not trust your taste. Intuition is an important part

    of the the design process. But you‘re not an artist. Go check if people get it.
  21. Do not think the best design team is a team

    full of designers.
  22. Understand people’s needs. Go and observe! Check if other people

    feel the same itch.
  23. Start with interaction design.

  24. Create experiences, not screens. It all starts with the question

    how a user should feel when getting in touch with a service. Screens are just a logical consequence.
  25. Know conventions. Your product doesn‘t exist in a vacuum. Understand

    the conventions and paradigms that people already know. Stick to them or break them.
  26. Prototype and test. Show, don‘t tell. You will get much

    better results than by just asking theoretical questions.
  27. Let people explore. People are not stupid. Exploring is playing

    and playing is fun.
  28. Move away from the screen, and listen to real people.

  29. Dankeschön! @blehnert – @6wunderkinder –