Over the past several years, we have seen a rising emphasis on design, creativity and holistic thinking in business to help us deal with an increasingly volatile, unpredictable and complex world. Change is everywhere and design’s most fundamental tasks is to help people deal with change.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger (strategic advisor at Citigroup) explains the value of the soft topics of design and creativity for business.

“We need different principles and processes to address this class of highly complex problems, many based on disruptive innovations which we have not encountered before. This is where we need to turn to holistic thinking to pull together everything we know about the problem, and to creativity to try to make sense of what is going on and come up with a working, satisfying solution. This is where we enter the world of design.

While advances in technology are now enabling us to bring major innovations to services, most of the really hard issues are not technical at all. They are human. A well designed, well engineered, and well managed service system must be primarily centered and optimized around people, whether we are talking about a patient in a healthcare system, a customer of a business, or a citizen dealing with the government.

Advances in technology – faster, more powerful, less expensive – are concrete and visible. Design is subtle, more subjective, more open to human interpretation. But, as our increasingly advanced technologies enable us to build larger, more capable, more complex systems, the role of design becomes ever more important. It is the only way to ensure that our technologies will help us deal with our increasingly hectic lives.”

Source: “Design Principles for Complex, Unpredictable, People Oriented Systems” (Irving Wladawsky-Berger)