by | Nov 8, 2018

The design community has always worked towards building the case that its work has significant business value. “A groundbreaking new study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company can put a number on the impact design has on business,” says Katharine Schwab, writer at Fast Company. “The study finds that design-led companies had 32% more revenue and 56% higher total returns to shareholders compared with other companies.”

Does that mean that good design provides business value in internal communications as well? Those results certainly suggest that strong design is also important for the employer brand and internal communications. Employees, after all, are people, and people respond to strong design whether they are shareholders investing in the brand, or those who provide the services and products that fulfill the brand promise.

“The authors uncovered four different areas that increased revenue and total returns most, then ranked all 300 companies on these four areas using a metric they’re calling the McKinsey Design Index (MDI).” These themes are:

  1. “Track design’s impact as a metric just as you would track cost and revenue.” It’s important to track design work with the same rigor that you would any other variable. You’ll never find the true success of something until you properly measure it.
  2. Putting users first by actually talking to them. This helps to think outside of a standard user experience,” Schwab says.
  3. “Embedding designers in cross-functional teams and incentivizing top design talent.” “McKinsey pointed to Spotify as an example because the company gives its designers autonomy within a diverse environment.”
  4. “Encouraging research, early-stage prototyping, and iterating. Just because a product or service is launched doesn’t mean the design work ends.”

So how do you begin with your company? The study’s authors recommend choosing a single project as a pilot and then committing to each of the four key areas.” According to the study, you tend to have better financial results when you start with a pilot, rather than trying to create a total design overhaul across the entire company.

“This study is an important step toward quantifying something designers have long known to be true, but corporate leaders have been slower to embrace, Schwab says.” ‘“What this report acknowledges is a coming of age,” says Benedict Sheppard, a partner at McKinsey. “Design is now a C-suite topic.”’

Need help with design? Tribe can help.

Subscribe to our internal communications blog