Month: July 2018

Newsletter – Do we still need designers?

Dear Reader,

Slowly but surely things at HQ are getting back to normal although the UK’s weather (we Brits love to talk about it) has resulted in a little less doing and a little more thinking! This will be the last newsletter for the summer as I skip August when most people take a holiday.

The series of short videos which I am gathering together under the title ‘Rough Cut Creativity’ are being added to but are not yet published. If you have not had a peek yet then you can find them via YouTube by clicking here.


What is the purpose of a door? Many see it as a negative object and talk about not banging on closed doors or referring to doors that are left open or ajar. In practice, a door is a lump of wood that fills a hole. We pass from one side to the other. It would seem that a physical door has a different meaning to a door that we think about. What other metaphors might we be incorrectly applying? Some might be harmless and some not.


I’ve been hearing an awful lot about customer service lately but not seen much of it in practice. I’m not sure that it is a lack of action, maybe more of a lack of understanding. Many authors, speakers and trainers sell you their version of how things should be. You buy it and it is different but it doesn’t really work. This is just best practice (probably taken out of context) and if everyone did the same nobody stands out which is surely the point of good customer service. So if you are going to embark on doing something different then please make sure that someone understands what you are doing and why. In fact, keep on asking ‘Why’ and you will soon get to the bottom of things.

‘Now, back to the point, designers …

Do we still need them? Of course we do, so why am I asking the question?

I have written from time to time about the usefulness of something that is known as ‘Design Thinking’ when related to Innovation. In a (very small) nutshell, this means to start with we think in a broad fashion, without judgment and possibly a little ‘off the wall’.

In order to make the results useful, I proposed that we use a set of questions that should be asked of ourselves, customers and other stakeholders so that we get the maximum amount of information to work with. The more questions we ask, and the more people involved, the richer the knowledge that we acquire.

Somebody either read my article and didn’t fully understand it, or more likely, saw the title and thought that I was suggesting we disband the brotherhood of designers. His comment was ‘surely we just leave it to designers?’ The answer has to be no since all designers are not the same. And even if we are talking about a new logo, we all want design input.

Even companies that we think of as designers are staffed by actual designers (graphic, product, industrial etc) and lots of other people who ask questions and gather information. No matter what we do in our day to day jobs, we are all designers in some way.

So ‘design’ and ‘design thinking’ are actually processes that we can use to help make our products and services better and more appealing to customers. In turn, this helps to improve the profitability of our businesses. Designers are really specialists in functionality, aesthetics, usability etc that help us to achieve our design aims.

What the gentleman who commented on my article might have meant to say is that it is often a false economy not to spend money on design and try to do it yourself. Whatever you do, ask lots of questions along the way. And if you want to know how Design Thinking could help your Innovation efforts then please get in touch.

Please do get in touch or provide feedback by replying to this newsletter, or using any of the contact methods listed on the website

Happy reading,

Derek Cheshire

Ways I Can Help You

  1. Keynote speaker - How to avoid the Innovation black hole,  how to add Creativity to your business toolbox
  2. Innovation measurement - find out where your strengths lie using tools created from my Innovation Equation
  3. Innovation programs - help to set up and run your innovation initiatives.
  4. Workshops - idea generation, managing creative people and much more

Derek is a Fellow of the RSA, a speaker, facilitator, award-winning radio presenter and Adjunct Professor at VIT University, Chennai. He has been working in the field of Business Creativity and Innovation since 2002.