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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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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 ...

Connect with Design

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 ...

Why Milan Design Week continues to inspire us

Milan Design Week has evolved from a well-known furniture fair into a reflection of the current design world— encompassing the physical, experiential and philosophical elements. This year, we witnessed many brands curate unforgettable emotional experiences as traditional products took a back seat and in their place visitors immersed themselves on a journey that traveled through the senses, and at times was otherworldly. We also hosted our very own design event at the Fondazione ...

Top takeaways from the Design Management Conference

The past few years has seen a shift in how business leaders think about design as a strategic tool for growth and innovation. This shift has profound implications for the design community itself, with designers seeking to understand how their expertise and skills can be used to solve new and more complex problems. This emerging paradigm was reflected at the recent DMI (Design Management Institute) conference in London, where design and business leaders from around the globe came together to ...

The luxury of time—Digitally enhanced experiences in an analog industry

The times they are a changin' Life is short, buy the dress. We all have those treat yourself moments and in luxury, customer experience is paramount. Successful brands invest heavily in sumptuous billboard ads, glamorous shops in the most fashionable areas, attentive salespeople and increasingly, a stylish online presence. Luxury shoppers want to feel special from the moment they hear about a product to every time they encounter it again. Many luxury brands are getting the sales experience ...

Making it all worth it — our Red Dot Award wins

What do baby bibs and a welding helmet have in common? They’re award winning products. We’ve been presented with two Red Dot awards, confirming our position as a groundbreaking global design firm. This year, the 3M Speedglas G5-01 heavy-duty welding helmet and the BabyBjörn small baby bib were awarded in the Red Dot Product Design category. “This was the first time McKinsey Design won two great awards in the product design category of the Red Dot award,” says ...

D&AD New Blood Awards

It is known that more than 800 million of the world’s population menstruate each day. However, across the globe many areas lack support from education systems, water supply, sanitation, pain relief methods, product design and simply affordability and accessibility. This is often due to menstruation being recognized as a cultural taboo. Although, menstruation is a normal, healthy part of life, many are still ostracized, shamed or even excluded, ultimately harming their health and overall ...

Meet the new McKinsey look

This week, we’re starting to roll out a new visual identity to better express who we are and what we do today. For instance, more than half of our work for clients now, in areas like design, digital, and analytics, didn’t exist at our firm just five years ago. “We’re excited about the new visual identity, which we think is beautiful,” says global managing partner Kevin Sneader. “But this is about more than how we look. It’s about updating how we ...

Being a third wheel can be a good thing

We’ve come far in contributing to a healthier planet by recycling and composting in our daily lives. But with 76 percent of Americans still driving to work solo each day, this staggering statistic challenges aspirations to lower our carbon footprint. The cars we drive contribute to pollution, congestion, and parking issues—especially in urban areas. The current reality is that many of us require a vehicle to get to work and to get things done around town. Two-wheel and four-wheel ...

McKinsey Design visits CES 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a massive trade show held in Las Vegas every January to showcase the latest and greatest in consumer technology products. It’s an opportunity for businesses to unveil new inventions as they set their tone and focus for the upcoming year. Amazing product releases from top electronics companies at this year’s event showcased the future of televisions, AR/VR, and health and wellness wearables. Car companies continued to tackle the future of ...

How do you quantify the magic of design? Our experts explain

Looking for 32 percent more revenue than your peer organizations? How about 56 percent greater total shareholder return? Over a 5-year period, companies that excelled in design reported these kinds of financial results. “Many designers have believed in the business importance of design for years,” says partner Ben Sheppard, who led this first-time research initiative, “However, this is the first time we can quantify the impact of design on growth and shareholder return. This ...

Mirror, mirror: A wellness system gets smart and beautiful

Although many parts of our lives are fully enhanced by smart technology and ubiquitous connectivity, the most intimate of all spaces – the bath – has yet to completely embrace innovation. Lately our designers have become rather curious about engaging tech to move the bath from a place of, well, vanity, to a place of overall wellbeing. Each morning as we prepare to step out in the world – before a blissful night’s sleep is interrupted by the demands of our busy lives ...

And the Robert Howard Next Step Award goes to…

In 2012, LUNAR Design, now part of McKinsey Design, in conjunction with Stanford Biodesign, created the Robert Howard Next Step award in memory of our friend and colleague, Robert Howard. Robert had an affinity for the program and donated his time to help teams get their ideas to market. The award is a gift of roughly 200 consulting hours to a Biodesign team that has an exceptional idea for addressing an important clinical need—and who can benefit from our capabilities in design, whether ...

Milan design week retrospective: 5 trends that inspired us

Milan Design Week, or as the locals call it, Salone del Mobile, is something of a religious pilgrimage for designers, artists, engineers, techies, and anyone with a curious mind, from all over the world. The annual trade fair, which takes place in April each year, draws some of the world’s biggest brands to the northern Italy for an illuminating voyage into the themes, trends and ideas that are at the cutting edge of design. Earlier this year, delegates from the McKinsey Design team jetted ...