Design Disruptors - A Review

18th July, 2016

DD Fi Blog

One of our superstar designers, Fiona, was lucky enough to get a ticket to the European premiere of the documentary Design Disruptors; a full-length documentary produced by InVision chronicling the power of design. She joined over 1,000 other design enthusiasts who excitedly packed out the London Palladium last Thursday to see what all the hype has been about. 

I had been following the build-up to the world premiere of Design Disruptors via InVision’s social feeds. I’d watched the preview videos and read Kayleigh Karutis’s blog detailing the world premiere in San Francisco, so I was really excited to have secured a ticket to the European premiere at the London Palladium on the 7 th July 2016.

I arrived early and took my seat in the royal circle. On the way to my seat I was presented with my very own metal ticket, yes, metal ticket, as well as free sweets and popcorn. Once everyone had filed into their seats the eagerly awaited screening began.

Clair Byrd, one of the film’s producers, introduced the film by explaining how over the last two years they had interviewed over 90 different design leaders working for some of the world’s the fastest-growing digital companies such as Google, MailChimp and Facebook to discover the true nature of the design-driven business revolution happening around the world.

There were some really insightful sound bites from John Maeda of KPCB and Jason Mayden of Accel Partners. To quote Maeda:

“Art is about making questions, design is about making solutions.”

He explained how art doesn’t have to make sense because it makes us think, whereas design's purpose is to make sense of the world.

The film detailed how various companies had used different design solutions answer business objectives and generate economic advancements. Such as how GV had used their much coveted ‘sprint’ technique to help Blue Bottle Coffee design a new website that boosted sales and time on site. As well as how the company Lyft, a taxi app alternative, has grown just by developing it’s branding. The company went from having massive pink furry moustaches on the front of their cars to the much slicker ‘glowstache’, as well as making improvements to their app.

The film highlighted how well thought out design decisions can simplify complex tasks. Alex Castellarnau, Head of Design at Dropbox describes design as the “thin layer that connects complexity to many.” Castellarnau explains how Dropbox was developed. They made the complex system of cloud storage simple by enabling users to organise their files in folders as they would locally.

Finding a simple solution isn’t the end of the story though, as Julie Zhuo, a design director at Facebook explained, “every great company needs to have some level of paranoia because I think at a point when any company becomes complacent that’s the recipe for failure. Technology is advancing so quickly, we’re all using mobile devices now. Three years ago a lot of people were predicting that that wasn’t going to be the case. So I think that any company that doesn’t have an eye towards the future, who isn’t thinking that we need to keep looking ahead, we need not to assume how things are today is how they are going to be in the future. That’s how you have to live in order to the stay at the top and be innovative.”

Mayden described how to be innovate “when you do something different, when you follow your gut, when you try and zig when everyone else zags, you by sheer nature of momentum move in a direction where other people aren’t looking and create what we call a wave, a wave of opportunities and a wave of impact and interest and new and different ways people never thought could exist.”

That’s how to be a design disruptor. Design disruptors push the boundaries. They don’t follow design trends but create them.

The film was very inspiring and highlighted the importance of design. It showed that successful organisations understand how design can be used to solve issues, improve customer experience and in turn boost profits. Therefore, designers need to think for themselves, they can’t rely on just getting a brief. Designers need to be ‘design disruptors’, they need to be looking for gaps in the market or an issue that can be can be solved by an intuitive design solution, such as an improved UX and UI design or updating a company’s branding etc.

My interest in the film was echoed by Maeda, “I’m so excited about this product… I’m sure you’ve discovered it’s actually a movement.” The film inspired me to be more aware of my surroundings, get out of my comfort zone and push myself to become a ‘design disruptor’.

Design Disruptors is being shown around the world, check the listings here to see if there’s one near you. If not, you can request a local showing and according to some sources InVision are planning to release the film on a range of streaming sites later this year, so look out for it and, most importantly, get inspired!

Words by Fiona Prosser

Images by Fiona Prosser and this source.

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