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How design drives value

Above: Senior Industrial Designer Bryce Booth shares his perspective on what design thinking means, why design matters, and how it drives true business value.
McKinsey Design helps clients drive growth by delivering breakthrough products, services, customer experiences, and design-led innovation. We take a unique, multidisciplinary approach bringing more than 350 designers from award-winning design studios—like LUNAR, Veryday, and McKinsey Digital Labs—together with McKinsey's deep industry insights and expertise. This combination of analytical rigor and breakthrough creativity helps clients across private, public, and social sectors innovate at scale and speed.

In a world where competition can come from any geography or sector, and where customer loyalty can dissolve in a click, the most reliable path to growth is offering new solutions to customers’ unmet needs. Design thinking is a disciplined way to interrogate data, behavior, and preferences to find the gaps between what exists today and what customers would value even more highly. This kind of analysis is a necessary foundation to make a creative leap that results in something entirely new.

Working with McKinsey Design is different from working with a stand-alone design firm. Our clients work with integrated teams of designers, researchers, and experts in areas such as marketing, pricing, operations, and change management. In many cases, our teams bring deep sector-specific insights from years of consumer and market research, as well as an awareness of how market dynamics and ecosystems can help drive growth and create value.

Working shoulder to shoulder alongside our clients, our design experts ensure that client teams, divisions, or the entire organization can be mobilized to identify, act on, and deliver new opportunities.

What we do

Our work ranges across product, service, and experience design, and across physical, digital, and spatial platforms. In all these areas, we use design to create differentiation and drive growth for our clients by identifying and creating value for their customers.

We support clients in a variety of ways, including generating breakthrough insights about customer needs, helping create new concepts, developing and launching prototypes, and upgrading operations to support market entry at scale. In addition to creating entirely new products, services, and experiences, we help clients assess their current offerings and redesign them to deliver and capture more value.

We also help clients reorient their product and innovation portfolios toward growth and differentiation, and we work with them on developing their own in-house innovation capabilities to improve success rates and speed to market.

Our approach

All of our work combines analytical rigor and breakthrough creativity to identify opportunities and to help clients achieve them. For each client, we assemble a project team that brings together expertise from across McKinsey.

In a typical project, our first priority is to identify the biggest opportunity to capture value. From there, our designers enter a phase of discovery, creation, testing, and research. Once a successful prototype has been defined, it is further developed into the full-fledged product, service, or experience, along with the commercial and operational foundations for its success. Finally, the organization is empowered to take the successful product to market.

Some recent examples of our work include:


Developing a new direct-to-consumer lending platform for a major global bank

Designing and building a new financial management app for a major global bank


Creating new-to-world snacking concepts for a multibillion-dollar food company

Developing a range of powered cleaning products for a tools and hardware company


Designing a precise, energy-efficient laser system for cataract surgery

Transforming a high-cost injectable medical device into a safe and affordable commercial product


Helping a medtech company conduct ethnographic research on the design of its existing capital equipment, and uncovering unmet customer needs leading to a revised hardware design with 30 percent lower costs, 5 percent market-share increase, and international design awards