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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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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 ...

Connect with Design

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 ...

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 ...