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Designisms.

Welcome to our blog, where we share trends, news, and insights at the intersection of business and design.

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The Business Value of Design gets a Red Dot

One thing’s clear, design’s impact on business can no longer be ignored. Earlier this year, we launched a cohesive visual identity for our Business Value of Design series, which links an organization’s design actions to increased financial performance. And people are starting to pay attention. The reports are among McKinsey’s most viewed articles this year, and today, we are thrilled to announce that the Business Value of Design series has been recognized with a 2020 Red ...

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Accelerating the journey from design concept to product launch

Successful entrepreneurs can attest: the spark of inspiration that produces a promising innovation is immensely thrilling. However, the many steps that follow in getting an invention to market can seem overwhelming: developing prototypes, securing funding, defining distinctive branding and messaging, lining up production—the list goes on and on. These were just some of the challenges facing Amanda Calabrese and Greta Meyer, the winners of our Robert Howard Next Step (RHNS) Award, and the ...

Optimizing the tenant experience

As competition in real estate continues to evolve another dimension has entered the fold— customer experience. Enter RXR Realty, a North American real estate investor and developer. Our team partnered with Leap by McKinsey to create a new business from the ground-up to fundamentally reimagine the tenant experience across their extensive residential, commercial, and mixed-use property portfolio. We partnered with RXR to establish a new Digital Lab – consisting of 25+ data ...

Winning with stellar product design

Hip, hip, hooray! The Red Dot design award is one of the most prestigious in the industry, appraising the best products and designs globally on things like innovation, functionality, ergonomics, and durability. This year’s stand out designs include Keurig’s K-café coffee machine, the AI-powered walkie-talkie Orion Sync, Cederroth’s compact wound care kit, and Distalmotion’s robotic surgical arm, Dexter. Each one of these products showcases what is possible when ...

Accessible design means better design

Unless you’re one of the approximately one billion people with a disability, you may not have given a thought to how easily you interact with products and technology. Yet, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve benefited from experiences designed with accessibility in mind. For example, text messages were originally developed for the deaf so that they could use cell phones to communicate. Now, with over 23 billion texts sent each day, texting is a vital communication channel that ...

Putting design leadership on the map

Is there a design flaw in the C-suite? We set out to find out in our newest set of research, part of our Business Value of Design series, which zeroes in on the role of design leadership. The new report suggests that even with the number of design leaders in executive positions doubling over the past five years (among the world’s top 100 companies), up to 90% of organizations are not maximizing the full potential of this valuable resource. So, what does design leadership lack? ...

Remembering McKinsey Design’s Mark Dziersk (1959-2020)

Mark Dziersk, an award-winning industrial designer, educator, and leader who helped lay the foundation of McKinsey Design, passed away suddenly earlier this year. He was 60 years old. A celebration of Mark’s life was held on March 7 at Northwestern University, where he was an adjunct lecturer in the Master of Product Design and Development Management Program. “This is a huge loss for our entire firm and the design community at large,” says McKinsey senior partner and McKinsey ...

Highlights from Interaction20

If not now, when? At this year’s Interaction Conference, one thing was clear— design problems are no longer just designer's problems. Design has erupted across industries and environments and serves the essential need of capturing human-centered stories. Each year, we send a cohort of designers to IXDA’s Interaction Conference. This weeklong event explores the current themes and cutting-edge trends in design. This year’s theme, “A New Dawn” identified the ...

A peek into the surgical robot of the future

Over 18 months, McKinsey Design and Distalmotion came together to develop Dexter, a surgical robot for minimally invasive surgery. After several years of working on the concept for Dexter, Distalmotion reached out to help bring the medical device to life in a way that would optimize the user experience. “We began by taking a close look at the surgeon’s main interaction point with Dexter: the hand grips,” says Marcus. “We approached the design challenge holistically, ...

Knowing when to stop: finding an appropriate sample in design research

When thinking about qualitative and quantitative methods of doing research, it is a bit like with tools: while both a hammer and pliers would (somehow) get a nail into a wall, one tool would do it better and more efficient than the other. And if we blend tools – one to get the nail into, and one to get the nail out of the wall, we can achieve true excellence. The same applies to research methods: quantitative research is important in its own right, but it is not the "answer to the ultimate ...

Saving the future by design? Our new industry community believes so.

Why did more than 100 of the world’s chief design officers and senior design leaders from a range of industries gather in Stockholm’s Nobel Prize Hall? To convene for the first-ever Global Design Leader Summit. We formed a new community to celebrate design’s heritage, its future and acknowledge purpose-driven design leadership. This event brought together top design talent, who shared how their craft might help tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing their ...

Why compassion is essential for design leaders

“Should I really be doing this when there are 3 million other things I should be doing?” It was hard to ignore the loud internal voice upon arriving at the Within retreat — which, the voice later admitted, turned out to be an outstanding four-day leadership experience curated for women in design and tech in Palm Springs. This year’s theme was leading authentically, but for me the retreat quickly became about compassion— in leadership, for ourselves, for those we ...

A conversation with the 2019 winners of the Robert Howard Next Step Award

Since 2012, LUNAR Design, now part of McKinsey Design, together with the Stanford Biodesign program, created the Robert Howard Next Step award in memory of our beloved colleague.  Robert had an affinity for this program and donated time to help teams get their ideas commercialized through teaching and mentorship. The award is a gift of roughly 200 consulting hours to a team exhibiting an exceptional idea for addressing an important clinical need—and who can benefit from our ...

Inside McKinsey Design’s Salone Symposium

Having just wrapped up its 58th year, the legendary Salone del Mobile or Milan Design Week is an extraordinary opportunity for the global design community to gather and glean inspiration from around the world. In fact, 370,000 design professionals plus a staggering 25,000 members of the public stopped by this April. A team of McKinsey designers also made the trip to Salone where we hosted a panel discussion around our pioneering research on “The Business Value of Design,” and ...

Believe the type

What happens when McKinsey designers come together to create a cohesive look and feel for letters and numbers? This year, we embraced Adobe’s design challenge, “36 Days of Type” which asks designers everywhere to come up with visual interpretations of the letters A through Z, and the numbers 0 through 9, and share them on social media between April 2 and May 8. Almost 50 designers and graphic artists from across the firm, including client and non-client facing colleagues ...