When PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi stepped on to become CEO, many were sceptical of the fact that she would succeed, perhaps even more so when she hired Pepsi’s first ever Chief Design Officer after just a few years. However, today, Pepsi enjoys a steady revenue climb, and is celebrated for innovative products like the Pepsi Spire, an interactive touch screen soft drink or soda machine. When asked, Indra boldly shares that design thinking drives the innovation Pepsi is now been recognised for, adding that design has a say in almost every facet of the company.

Design and design thinking in business is not new by any means; however the impact on business, especially within the Nigerian context is little known and utilised. Though the benefits of design in business have been tough to quantify, companies around the world are reaping the benefits of introducing design practises within their organisations.

The results of a 10-year study done by Design Management Institute (DMI), highlighted 16 ‘design-driven’ companies who had surpassed the S&P 500 between the years 2004 to 2014.

Other results are AirBnb using design principles in growing to the behemoth company they are now, or how Nike has used design thinking to permeate their entire business, or Dutch fabric company Vlisco using it to fight competition. And on and on the list goes.

Whether through studies done or through results we can see for ourselves how design has proven to add significant value to businesses around the world.

Some benefits of the design thinking process are:
• Better, more satisfied and loyal customers
• Competitive advantage
• Brand equity
• Creation of compelling products and services and
• Impact on the bottom-line

Today’s customers are the most empowered there has ever been. The means and mediums by which the customer interacts with brands are increasing, and with it the intelligence of these customers. With this kind of power, consumers are demanding that every single interaction with a company meet their expectations, or they switch to the next company who is willing to meet their needs.
Coupled with this, and the fast rate at which the world is moving, design has never been more relevant to companies everywhere.

We at DODO Design Agency believe that as Nigeria rises to gain the world’s attention in fashion, tech, and entertainment, Other sectors can leverage on this powerful process to provide innovative offerings to keep their customers and to strengthen and grow their business long term.

Lessons from Pepsi
Like Pepsi, Nigerian corporations seeking to innovate using design, could:
• Hire and/or include designers (people who understand the process of design thinking) and give them a ‘seat’ at the table, this way innovative processes will begin to infiltrate how things are done.
• A great way to start is to hire design strategists (designers who understand design thinking), for a new product entering into the market, or a product not performing well, and allow them to use the process to provide solutions.