The approach to product strategy and design is changing. It is no longer just experience or work portfolio that determines whether to cooperate with a given project team. Today, the designer’s choice is influenced by his awareness of business conditions, the ability to conduct observations and research and use the conclusions drawn from them in the design process, the ability to verify assumptions and, above all, thinking through the user’s path and experience.

What is (or should be) design today?

Know-how, according to the Dictionary of the Polish Language, means technological knowledge enabling “quick performance of certain activities in order to produce a product”, based, among others, on: based on previous experience. Until recently, it was know-how that was necessary for the production and sale of a product and guaranteed business success. However, constantly growing competition and increasingly shorter product life cycles force companies to work in a mode of constant change and, consequently, to constantly monitor its causes and direction.
Every day, the world generates trillions of gigabytes of new data that influences almost every aspect of our lives. Everything that surrounded us yesterday may be just a memory today. Change is an everyday occurrence, and those who do not understand it and adapt risk failure. On the other hand, however, those who keep their finger on the pulse and are up to date with trends can stand out from the lagging competition… and turn new circumstances into success.

“We already know that know how is not enough. Moreover, know how is increasingly becoming a brake on innovation”

Therefore, instead of clinging to know-how and carefully protecting it from the competition, it is better to accept the fact that in today’s world, everything that is on the market can be copied without any major problems – due to the availability and low cost of technology. The shortened product life cycle requires companies to constantly change their offer and introduce innovations. How to do it right? We already know that know how is not enough. Moreover, know-how is increasingly becoming a brake on innovation because it discourages changes through habit, routine, and apparent security built on the basis of a proven technology/method of producing a product or offering a service that has been known for some time. Yes, change is a challenge, new costs, the need to learn new patterns, new technologies, new approaches to solving often the same problems, but in a new, innovative way. However, you must understand and accept that the cost of lagging behind and lack of development costs much more than implementing changes – sometimes this means the end of the company’s presence on the market.

Only change is constant

The most important thing is to be aware of the inevitability of change. Once we have it, we start to wonder what the change in the company is supposed to be. The knowledge we are looking for in this way can be defined as know-why, i.e. the answer to the question “why?” Why does the customer want to buy my products or use my services? What problem does our product solve, or rather what does it not solve? Of course, responding to a consumer’s need does not mean that his or her problem has been solved. There are many products that meet needs but do not solve problems, often because the consumer himself is not aware of them or does not express them. A good example is Nokia. At one time the undisputed leader of the telecommunications market, although it responded to the need for contact between people using the famous brand claim: Connecting people, it suffered a market failure from which it is only now recovering. Nokia had no ideas for itself, and its products did not keep up with the times. Despite the willingness and innovative Windows Phone system, Nokia did not fare well among flagship smartphones – its products were designed correctly, but did not stand out on the store shelf. Ultimately, the sale of, for example, the well-known Lumia models turned out to be a financial failure. Effect? Nokia was acquired by technology giant Microsoft to develop its products under a new brand.

“Time has shown that defining and solving the problem has completely changed the face of the modern telephone”
Companies that are able to identify, describe and solve these unconscious problems become market leaders, as was the case with the Apple brand. By creating the Macintosh with his own dedicated software, Steve Jobs not only responded to the need for access to computers by people outside the circle of scientists, but also solved the problem of lack of technical knowledge of future users. He delivered a product ready for use even by a layman. When designing the iPhone, he combined three devices in one – a music player, a phone and a web browser, apart from eliminating the physical keyboard and introducing touch navigation. No other manufacturer before, including but not limited to: the market leader at that time, Nokia, did not recognize this dimension of the phone. Time has shown that defining and solving the problem completely changed the face of the modern telephone and the situation on the market.

A good product – what is it?

Product design is no longer purely creative, conceptual work based on data obtained by the marketing or R&D department, but designing the experience of the customer who is to buy the product. Customer research and the collection and understanding of the so-called insights, i.e. his real, not hypothetical interactions and experiences with the product. And then transforming them into specific solutions, prototyping and concept testing. This is a more complicated procedure, but it allows you to reduce the risk of market failure of the designed product.

We notice that thanks to this approach, we can create unique and distinctive products that customers will not only like, but even love. Equally important, knowing the insights makes it much easier to design subsequent marketing communications for the designed product. To sum up: a good product is a consciously designed user experience. An experience that will result in a strong bond with the product.

The global rules governing design do not bypass the Polish market. Domestic companies should also look at design differently – as a real, verifiable and, above all, unique response to real customer needs that evokes positive emotions. And thus, it is possible to move away from building a competitive advantage based on the product price. There is a need to change the approach to the design process and turn it entirely towards humans and their natural behaviors. This is the only way to be competitive at work in an environment such as the global economy. learn how to achieve success.