Thursday, December 15, 2005

Purpose - The Heart of Design


I have had the great privilege of participating in the rediscovery of key design principles through the recent renaissance led by the likes of Alan Cooper (The Inmates Are Running the Asylum) and the folks at IDEO. Using a fresh emphasis on observation and the capture of customer behavior and goals, they have successfully realigned our methodologies of how to sustain success in this overengineered culture.

The questions, "Why are we building this?" and, "How can we make this more compelling?" have gone far towards improving our existing offerings. More importantly, they have helped us connect with the core purpose of our products and services, a critical conduit to the value opportunities in an increasingly complex world. In addition to rejuvenating our production value, the same principles can also be applied to the organization as a whole. When business leaders help their teams effectively connect with their shared core purpose, it creates a significant synergy resulting in optimal performance.

In his book, "Leading with Purpose", Richard Ellis highlights this trend:

"The leaders of these companies have long known that providing value to customers--not the maximization of shareholder wealth--is fundamentally why their organizations exist and that this purpose is key to their companies' outstanding performance. This linkage between customer-focused purposes and performance will be even truer in the intensely competitive, knowledge-based global markets of the future."

Like companies, this holds true for individuals as well. If our lives operates like overengineered, feature heavy software, we end up spending many CPU cycles producing little or uncertain value. By stopping to observe and connect with our purpose, confidence and entire new possibilities emerge!

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