Proving the value of Product Design to executives: A comprehensive guide

It's increasingly clear that product design has a crucial role to play in the business world. However, for non-design-oriented executives, this fact may not always be self-evident. So, how can a product designer demonstrate their value to the organisation's bottom line? By focusing on both tangible and intangible aspects of product design, executives can gain a clear perspective of the significance of design in business success.

Illustration of product design

Valuing design and business acumen Product designers are not just about aesthetics and functionality. They blend business acumen and creative vision to create products that fulfil customer needs while driving business growth. This perspective allows them to understand and shape the business strategy, thereby proving their worth to executives.

Quantifying the economic impact One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the value of product design is to measure its financial impact. This involves juxtaposing the cost of the design process against the economic benefits derived from the product.

To illustrate this, consider the wage cost of the product. This includes the salaries of product personnel involved and the marketing cost required. Next, calculate the earnings from the product, which may come in the form of sales revenue, savings from efficiency improvements, or profits from increased market share.

Besides wage cost, there are other associated costs, such as marketing and customer acquisition. For instance, a well-designed product can reduce marketing expenditure by creating a strong first impression and fostering customer loyalty. Similarly, design can lower the cost of customer acquisition and retention by enhancing usability, customer experience, and overall product quality.

The betting paradigm Thinking in terms of "bets" can provide a valuable framework for evaluating the role of product design in a business context. In this sense, every decision made during the design process is a bet on the future success of the product.

The product designer's role is to make informed bets across the product lifecycle, using their skills to mitigate risks and increase the chances of success. Whether it's a bet on a specific feature, the overall user experience, or the product's market positioning, these decisions collectively impact the success of the product and, consequently, the financial health of the business.

A dual focus: Business and customer The value of a product designer lies not only in their ability to create aesthetically pleasing and functional products but also in their understanding of the business and customer needs. A designer's work impacts various parts of a business, from branding and marketing to sales and customer retention.

By focusing on these aspects, product designers can connect their work to key business metrics. Whether it's an increase in customer satisfaction scores, reduced churn rates, or improved net promoter scores, these metrics offer tangible evidence of the value product designers bring to a business.

In conclusion, proving the value of product design to executives involves demonstrating its financial impact, the strategic bets made during the design process, and the designer's focus on both business and customer needs. This multifaceted approach ensures that the true value of design is recognised, thereby securing the designer's position as an indispensable part of the business strategy.

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