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Innovation Updated: 22 Aug 2017

The importance of the designer in the corporate world

Last Wednesday March 16 the BBVA Innovation Center launched "Design Wednesdays", a series of events scheduled for the third Wednesday of every month that will examine the role played by design. "Service Design and Business Transformation" was the topic that started the ball rolling.

design innovation technology event corporate bbva

The guests at this first talk were Marianna Wickman, global head of Design and UX for BBVA; Alberto Knapp, founder and CEO of Cocktail; Humberto Matas, innovation consultant, investor, professor and global managing director of Designit; and Luis Villa, director of Business Design at Fjord. The audience were able to interact with them via, a website that loaded their questions live and showed the poll results.

Acting as moderator, Marianna Wickman was the first person to speak, introducing the topic of Service Design and Business Transformation and highlighting data from the "DesignTech Report 2016", such as the fact that 89% of companies now regard customer experience as crucial to their business development, compared with just 36% four years ago when the previous report was published.

Alberto Knapp was the next person to speak and talked about the role that designers play in the corporate world today and how this figure still needs to evolve in order to adapt to new customer needs in an increasingly digitized society. He proposed five key questions that need to be examined in this respect: the power of consumers, who know more and more about the products they buy; flexibility; the goods or product, in which the UX greatly influences the purchase; the challenge for companies to set themselves apart from the competition; and the design tools available.

The next speaker was Humberto Matas, who focused on the importance that designers have acquired within companies. He also mentioned the problems that designers face in their work, such as the short time available and how the need to work with many different people in order to perform their tasks slows them down and creates obstacles. In this respect, he explained that designers need their own framework  in order to address the issues they encounter in their work.

The last speaker was Luis Villa, who had the audience laughing on several occasions as he recounted stories about his own work environment. He talked about Fjord, a leading design company where he heads up the Business Design Unit, and its acquisition by and merger with Accenture in 2013. He also mentioned the importance of organization when there are clearly differentiated work areas, one with a social content to annex the others, one with the vision and content, and a last one responsible for execution.

The event ended with a vote on the topic for the next talk, elected as "design faults".