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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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Drive innovation with accessible product design

Thirty years ago, the United States passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which set accessible design standards for buildings and other areas of public life. This landmark legislation brought accessible features to built environments, making it possible for people of all abilities to participate more fully and equally in society. For example, the ADA legislated curb ramps that not only allow people who use mobility devices equal access to public buildings, but help folks with ...

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How we helped Hyundai build an award-winning EV charger

Many electric vehicle (EV) consumers are faced with multiple barriers at charging stations, creating opportunities for user error. We helped Hyundai Motor Company develop a first to world charging solution that completely reimagines the EV charging experience. Our design team conducted research to fully understand the complications EV users face and learned the habits and behaviors of EV owners. By integrating research, design, and engineering we elevated the charging cable, to create an ...

Learning by doing: a design award jury experience

This year is the 40th anniversary of the International Design Excellence Awards (or IDEA). For many of us in the design field, there’s a sort of mysticism around IDEA— it influences and in many ways sets the tone for the current state of design. It was originally an industrial design–focused competition, but in recent years it has expanded to cover a multitude of design disciplines. This year, almost 2,000 teams submitted entries, in categories ranging from automotive and ...

This smart-alarm helps vulnerable populations live safely

The Eliza by Doro, is a smart alarm system that enables people to feel secure at home and enjoy their lives safely and independently. In the current environment many vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with disabilities, are at home and isolated from caregivers and kin. This device provides an opportunity for additional safety in a distanced world. Our team focused on making the buttons user-friendly and simple. Acclaimed for its cutting-edge aesthetic, which earned it a 2020 ...

The Emotion Archive: Finding global empathy in a challenging time

“We are all in this together.” It’s a phrase one commonly hears nowadays. And while it may be a bit of a COVID-19 cliché, there’s truth to it. When we listen to someone’s pandemic story, we can almost always relate. Regardless of where we live or how old we are, many of the emotions we experience are largely the same: we all miss our former lives, we are all trying to make do with what we have, and we’re all reevaluating this next normal. Empathy is ...

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 ...

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 ...