Forget process. A little Pollock may be what it takes to help companies boost their business.
According to Daniel Pink, author of "A Whole New Mind," companies are increasingly looking for creative, right-brain skills in their employees, even raiding art and design schools for job candidates. Automation and outsourcing have helped make left-brain skills a commodity, while more cerebral skills have become more highly valued.
In a world of plenty, offering products more cheaply or producing them more efficiently is no longer the answer, Pink says. Instead, companies must offer products that are more aesthetically pleasing or in some way meaningful to consumers. "This is arguably why Dell is in commodity hell, while Apple is doing reasonably well," he says in an interview with IT Business Edge.
Companies are applying a design approach not just to product development, but also to creating new business models, says this BusinessWeek article. Some, such as Eastman Kodak and Intel, are sponsoring classes and special projects at design schools to promote innovation and help uncover business opportunities. Intel, for instance, is bringing together business, engineering, industrial design and art students in a program at Arizona State.
Where there is a relatively new demand, consultants will soon follow. Thus, folks calling themselves business design consultants are helping companies like hotel chains Marriott and Starwood apply a design approach to creating services that will differentiate them from competitors.
Payoffs are hard to quantify, according to this Forbes article, but both chains have seen stock prices rise since tweaking their services -- Marriott by segmenting into multiple brands and Starwood by introducing improvements designed to cut lines at front desks and offering broadband to guests.
Rather than emphasizing right brain over the left, or vice versa, this MarketingProfs article says companies should strive to create a "whole-brain approach" that combines the best characteristics of both.