‘Design’ at the Intersection of Systems, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Impact

The role of a designer is complex and crucial in any given situation be it designing a toothbrush for kids or rethinking a political campaign. Both scenarios require a curious, human-centered mindset. We live in disorienting and challenging times. As a society, we need entirely new forms of solutions to address systemic, social, economic and environmental problems that affect our daily life. Human-centered and service design thinking methodologies have paved a way for design-led innovation for various industries.

Design Thinking For All

When diverse teams collectively address ambiguous and difficult to define problems, it doesn’t guarantee successful solutions but leads to generation of fresh ideas. Design Thinking as a tool empowers to view challenges in a new way and focusses on delivering customer focused innovation. It breaks down complex issues, combines creative and critical thinking to create a culture focused on solving problems. This multidisciplinary tool can reshape the experience of innovator in any given industry.

According to DMI, these companies used design methods to understand customer needs better as well as to reframe complex problems which led to valuable insights and translated it into tangible solutions. This is why, Apple has managed to achieve innovation in its products by holistic thinking while placing their customers at the heart of the process.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” -Steve Jobs

What do we think about our future?

We hope for a future full of progress. But human activity including businesses place an enormous toll on the natural world we completely depend on. Even though nature is resilient we shouldn’t take it for granted. Circularity should be the guiding principle of every business. Wasted materials is also wasted money. What if the goods of today become the resources of tomorrow?

But how will we achieve ‘progress’ keeping in mind Circularity and Sustainability?

The progress can take two forms according to the book Zero to One by Peter Theil :

At the macro level, horizontal progress is Globalisation. For example, China in its 20 year plan wants to become like the US. The Chinese have been straightforwardly copying everything successful from railroads to entire cities from the developed world.

For vertical progress, to move from 0 to 1, Technology is the answer. Any new and better way of doing things is technology. Designers can imagine new technologies or reimagine existing ones that can make 21st century more peaceful and prosperous.

Radical Mindset for Systems Thinking

By applying think like a system, act like an entrepreneur mindset, the aim is to identify nimble opportunities for change within the system. Thinking systematically by appreciating the complexity of a social problem augments the design thinking approach.


The value of design is difficult to define. As designers, we have a responsibility to meet the human needs of future by innovating in new ways, framing problems, creating multiple solutions, prototyping and creating again.


  1. Book- Zero to One by Peter Theil
  2. Design-Driven Companies Outperform S&P by 228% Over Ten Years — The ‘DMI Design Value Index’ — Design Management Institute