Design Factsheets

A frequent problem for small businesses is finding time to be creative and, once you’ve had an idea, to keep its momentum going through to completion. Seek advice from your local Business Link adviser about implementing your ideas. Building design into your overall company strategy will help make creativity part of company culture. The more time you can devote to managing and shaping your company vision, the more you will inspire others to be creative.

Time and encouragement

Spending time thinking is key to being innovative, so make sure that you and your staff have time to do so. Encourage everyone in the business to contribute ideas, discuss them with others in the company and act on the best ones to emerge, making sure that contributors know how valuable and useful their ideas are. A culture of innovation will develop, which you will need to manage effectively in the future.

The key message that emerges from innovative companies is that the pursuit of innovation permeates every aspect of their activities – they have to live their commitment each and every day.

There is no single, simple, formula for success – no universal panacea. Businesses that innovate have developed a repertoire of attitudes, skills, and techniques which enable them to pursue their goals and they do this within distinct and supportive company cultures.

Inspire, create and improve

These organisations inspire their staff, create new and improved products and services and connect with their customers. The leadership, mission and values of the company, together with the way people are challenged to perform but supported while they do so, inspire staff to pursue innovation with passion, energy and commitment.

Industry reports have shown exhaustively that the greatest innovators are the most successful companies. Design makes a strong contribution to the profitability of a business; so unlocking your company’s creative potential is crucial.

Unlocking creative potential

Create new ideas by constantly challenging assumptions and encourage people to come up with new ways of doing things. An array of management approaches and techniques, some very formal and structured, but others informal and intuitive, are used to create innovative processes, products and services. The way you manage your business also has an effect on the ideas you create. You must, then, allow people to come up with new, innovative ideas and always challenge the old.

Storm warning

Start to unlock some of your creative potential through brainstorming or ‘blue sky’ sessions. The use of a facilitator may help you broaden your horizons and question the assumptions in your working practices or your marketplace.

In a design project, working effectively through design and the business process involves all departments within a company. This can help to break down barriers within organisations and can promote the flow of ideas.

You can use design to improve your business through the products and services you offer, and you can double its effectiveness by planning for and using design strategically. By thinking the big design picture, rather than focussing on one single product or service, you can link together all of the parts of your company that benefit from design and create a powerful business response that is irresistible to your customers.

For general design advice in your region contact your local Business Link and visit the Design Council web site.

‘The key message that emerges from innovative companies is that the pursuit of innovation permeates every aspect of their activities – they live their commitment each and every day.’

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