Everyone loves interacting with meaningful products. Enabling your customer to find delight in what your company creates reinforces your brand identity. It also tells them that you care about them. For many of us, the chance to help craft that delight is a strong motivator when we make new things.
It’s commonly said that real design innovation arises at the intersection of viability, feasibility, and usability. Balancing the needs of your business with user needs creates a platform to design good products. But how do you move beyond innovation into meaningfulness? How do you increase the likelihood that your products will offer up that elusive notion of delight?
Giving your products a sense of purpose will always be a tough nut to crack, but here are few ways to make your process transformative rather than iterative.
1. Expand the Definitions of Your Mission
Since consumer climate is constantly changing, there’s no guarantee that previous success forecasts future success. Is the future of your segment an improved version of what you make now, or is it something completely different? Asking the bigger questions invite broader opportunities for engagement and is the beginning of innovative thinking.
Step back and consider the power of a broader label for your company’s product or service. Look carefully and you might find unexplored flexibility in your mission. If a company like Uber solely billed itself a crowdsourced taxi service, they may have never entertained the idea of incorporating self-driving vehicles into their business. By viewing themselves as a transportation company, they become more agile and open to change.
2. Don’t Just Ask What’s Next, Ask Why Your Product Exists at All
Engage your creative team early and involve them in roadmapping. Early qualitative research, gap analysis, and consumer insight should never be icing on the cake, but rather a driving force that creates the momentum towards disruption.
All too often, the design challenges faced by your creative team are too narrow. Instead of examining the answers, you might want to question the questions. Broaden your field. Get your development team involved. You’ll be much more likely to travel down the right path.
3. Trust Those Who Wear Their Heart on Their Sleeve
Seek out and rely on designers who have a true calling for their work. They’ll not only tap into their own sense of meaningfulness, but also help others uncover their strengths. Passion can be contagious and is a necessary ingredient in great, meaningful design.
A good designer draws from three separate motivators to breathe a “sense of purpose” into their work. These are: passion for the work itself, passion for addressing a person’s need, and passion for the world around them.
Pay attention to the agencies or individuals who celebrate that drive. As you explore how to move your next big product from your customers’ heads to their hearts, be sure to ask the right questions. Ones that get at their core needs and desires. And delights.