Krzysztof Podruczny

Jun 8, 2017 - 

4 min read  - 

13 takeaways from “Design Disruptors”

On May 25th, Tooploox and cinema Nowe Horyzonty hosted in Wrocław a screening of “Design Disruptors”, produced by InVision. The documentary takes a look at some companies which literally change people’s lives. The cast includes design professionals from organizations like AirBnB, Dropbox, Facebook, Google and many more. Watch the trailer below to so see what it looks like.

Again, what is the “disruption”?

The word “disruption” pops up many times in the movie and is ubiquitous in conferences, websites, books and studies. But what does it mean? Imagine a product or service that is expensive and complicated, that only a few people had access to (like computers were in the ’80s). As Clayton Christensen describes it, disruptive innovation makes this product much more affordable and accessible so that a much larger population can have access to it.

Take a look at how Clayton himself explains the disruptive innovation.

Key takeaways

Since “Design Disruptors” is not widely distributed yet, we’d like to share with you a few takeaways from it.

  1. People get used to stuff. We put up with crappy ways of doing things because we usually don’t see ways how we could improve them. It takes special set of skills to spot the opportunities and make use of them to shake things up.
  2. Design is not art. It’s more like a living organism – it evolves and thus, should be easy to adapt to the new environment.

    Design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.
    —Brenda Laurel

  3. Design became important over 100 years ago. Henry Ford made manufacturing process efficient by invention of assembly line, where people and machines work together. In aviation, design saved people’s lives by making controls more intuitive and user friendly. In furniture, Charles and Ray Eames were able to disrupt things by taking advantage of latest advancements in the plastics technology and making forms which were not possible before.
  4. It’s important to get as many ideas as you can, even the silly ones, because something great can come out of it or it may inspire someone else. Not all your ideas are going to be great so don’t get attached to them.
  5. Design is about every touchpoint a customer has with your service. Airbnb hired Pixar artist which helped them visualise the whole user journey. The storyboard helps them share understanding of the process among employees, spot untouched product areas and set priorities. They launched Neighborhood Guides based on these findings.
  6. Prototyping for the win! Test ideas with users to validate them early on with minimal cost. Design sprint can help with gathering ideas, transforming the best ones into tangible prototypes which you can test with users and talk about with stakeholders. Design Sprint is a popular method for achieving that. Google employees even wrote a book on this topic – make sure to give it a go!
  7. Nowadays, feedback loop between user and designer is very short and it’s a shame not to take advantage of it. Every designer gets many things wrong along the way, but it’s our duty to remedy all things that don’t work based on research and data.
  8. Time pressure is essential in the design process. Inviting people to the office to test design can create sense of urgency. It forces designers to focus on the crucial things and avoid sweating the details too early in the process.
  9. Most users of your product are nothing like you. Be humble, curious and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone to talk to them.
  10. Designers are now freed from reinventing the basic constructs every time they do something new. Pattern libraries allow us to move faster and focus on the context and big picture. One of most notable examples include Material Design and Polaris from Shopify.
  11. The rise of mobile devices forced businesses to have focused vision of the product and upped the game when it comes to interacting with them. Snapchat, Instagram,
  12. The days when enterprise software was dull and uninspiring are over. People want great productivity software when they are at work because they have less patience and time than at home. Current paradigm is to allow users to do work and put smile on their faces – make users feel as great as is in the consumer software. Need proof? Take a look how Slack made messaging simple and pleasant and it boomed in recent years.

    When technology is the thing you want, you don’t need design. When technology matures, you don’t buy it just for the technology. This is when design comes into foreground.
    —John Maeda

  13. There’s lots of untouched parts of economy, where designers can make a difference and be disruptive. Agriculture, medicine, government are only the few ones to mention.

If you have a chance, make sure to watch “Design Disruptors” by yourself. Designers can find there some inspiration and non-designers will learn about the role of design in the modern world.

The challenge for designers is how you make products effective, useful and additive as opposed to isolating, detrimental and maddening.
—Ben Blumenfeld

 People from “Design Disruptors

Here’re people and companies that are interviewed in “Design Disruptors”.

Companies which starred in Design Disruptors

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