transformation design

According to last week’s Time magazine, “a new breed of consultant is using the tools of design to solve business problems creatively.” Using the process of visually trained designers who think less in a verbal or linear manner and who instead zig-zag their way to problem solving, describes the emerging field of transformation design–a hybrid of business consulting and design.

By using the same creative process used in designing things like MP3 players or a corporate logo, transformation design is used to tackle “unwieldy intangibles like cell-phone promotions and hospital organization, transforming their effectiveness. Along the way, the field is creating some unusual teamwork between designers and business people.”

The benefit of using a design approach as opposed to pure management consulting, according to Time, is that it enables–or even requires–the team to invent new ways to solve problems. Such new ways demand creative solutions, the opposite of our natural inclination, which is to go with the group. It requires looking for what industrial designer Raymond Loewy called MAYA–the Most Advanced Yet Acceptable solution. Designers excel at MAYA. While market researchers describe how the world is, creative people describe how it could be.