In almost every successful enterprise you can find three commonly unnoticed foundational elements: design, art, and vision. Though many endeavors are often judged by numeric factors, the things that cannot be counted can also have an exponential effect. As technology develops and processes become automated, these three factors will become more obvious game-changers.
Here’s how you can improve them in your own enterprise:
Design is the structure of things
Whether the structure of a product or the structure of revenue streams, any form of structure in your strategy is important to refine. The most commonly missed detail in product design is whether or not the design benefits the consumer. A CB Insights report on the 20 most common reasons a startup may fail shows the most common problem was “no market need.” If you’re not solving a problem in a way the market isn’t already being served, your design has failed. Often, it’s easy to get carried away by the technical details of a product, but to a consumer, none of that matters much. Cool technology is a good way to create buzz, but if it isn’t much more beneficial to the user than existing products, they won’t feel compelled to leave the brands they are loyal to and join yours.
Ensure that your product design is geared towards enhancing the user experience, take away the fluff, and focus on what matters. This holds true for the financials, as well. You want your company’s cool gadgets and tools to actually bring in more money. What’s truly inspiring in a company is the end result of all the bells and whistles, not the bells and whistles.
Art is the beauty and creativity of things
As mentioned above, the goal is to be practical in terms of the outcome. You want the art to be based around practicality, not the other way around.
There are plenty of beautiful art pieces in the world that have no value to a consumer. Yet a design that’s made to create value and also happens to be a work of art is by definition already valuable. Focus the art so that it represents the design and vision. When there’s a culture of art and inspiration backing a project, there’s also excitement. Well known brands such as Apple, Air Jordan, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Roc Nation, and more have accomplished this.
Start with a vision
The best designers, artists, leaders, entrepreneurs, and creators have all had a vision. It is difficult to create forward motion if there is no vision. As Hewlett-Packard Co-Founder David Packard said in a speech in 1960 that was published in the Harvard Business Review, “I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being. Whereas you might achieve a goal or complete a strategy, you cannot fulfill a purpose; it’s like a guiding star on the horizon—forever pursued but never reached. Yet although purpose itself does not change, it does inspire change.”
In the endeavor of building a company, every element has to map from the vision forward. It has to make sense. A logical progression from A to Z, preferably with the vision embedded in every detail along the way. To be on a mission and create steps that follow is much more effective than creating an arbitrary mission statement. Sometimes people have a big vision, but the details that follow have no connection to it. Other times, people have strong visions, but place their bets on the wrong first steps, or become tied to specific initial outcomes that aren’t necessary. If you have a vision worth fighting for, you’ll have an output that's desirable.
When making things, it is very common to become carried away with one of these elements, but when focused on making money, it's very easy to get carried away with everything but these three foundations. Careful attention to detail and connection on all fronts will help create a more positive outcome.