Prior to founding Distill, Alex worked on interaction design and experience design projects for IDEO, Wired, VISA, and others. In 2010, he led a series of workshops on innovation and design thinking at CEDIM in Monterey, Mexico.
Is there a better way to do this?
This is the question we help our clients answer. As we head into our sixth year, it’s also the question we’re asking ourselves. We’ve taken a break from consulting to talk with past clients, entrepreneurs, executives and creatives about design, and how it can help their business. What follows are the insights we’ve uncovered.
Things are changing fast. Really, really fast.
We all see how technology and globalization is changing how we communicate, interact, purchase and play. We experience the world through an increasing number of mediums, rapidly shifting between physical,and digital interactions. In this interconnected environment, subtle shifts propagate quickly, changing behavior and rewriting old habits.
Everybody wants it, few understand it and most are afraid of it.
We’re talking about creativity. Some see it as a mirage, a luscious paradise in the distance that disappears into sand as you grasp for it. This makes for a good story but is far from the truth. While the initial spark for an idea may seem to appear from nothing, there is actually a process for generating great ideas, bringing them to life, and creating impact. It’s called design. It can help you to turn existing situations into preferred ones.
It’s all about “the Why”.
More and more organizations want to leverage design, but few are able to connect it to their strategy and objectives. They prescribe solutions without fully diagnosing their problems. They begin design after deciding what to make, missing out on half the value of the process. Design does more than beautify. It can identify unmet customer needs, and provide new solutions to old problems. Design can help you decide what you should make, and why you should make it, not just how.
Attention is the scarcest resource.
It’s easier than ever to start a business but building a lasting brand is no small feat. People have more choice and less time. The question to ask is not “How do we reach our audience?”, but “How do we get them to care?”. To really connect with people you need to do three things: focus everything you do around a singular idea, be significantly different from your competition, and respond to a larger trend in the world.
Failure is a part of success.
Behind every invention are a hundred seemingly great ideas that went nowhere. The gap between an idea and reality is much greater than we imagine. Baked into all our ideas are a series of assumptions about technology, human behavior and market dynamics. This chain of unknowns makes it hard to know if our ideas will be desirable to the user, technologically feasible, or financially viable. By actively seeking out the riskiest assumptions in our solutions, and testing them through prototypes, we can efficiently move our ideas towards reality, through a series of well managed experiments.
We have designed furniture, environments, events, services, websites, apps, videos, brands, musical instruments, monuments and advertisements. Basically, we make stuff. It’s what we do. If you’ve got a clear goal, and you want to use design to achieve it, get in touch. Need some quick advice for your project? Book a talk with a creative expert on Talkshop.
Amadeo has worked for clients such as IDEO and MTV. In 2009 he left the freelance world to found Distill. His work has been featured in I.D. magazine, Print magazine, the Type Directors Annual, and The Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art.