Everyone from VPs of Innovation to young design students says some rendition of this when they describe themselves: “I’m a designer, and I can solve any problem, from product to service to culture. I can solve any problem.”
What’s wrong with that, you might ask?
The problem is the design industry has blown up, and everyone begins to sound alike.
So how do employers decide who they should hire?
We find employers and clients so lost in this sometimes that they can’t make an effective decision. It’s the paradox of choice: thousand of designers to choose from, but which one is the right one when everyone says they can do everything?
One common misconception for design professionals is that simplifying your language always makes you sound eloquent, when in reality, doing this may give way to oversimplification of ideas.
Design, strategy, and innovation are such amorphous industries. In fact, these industries are still evolving and changing with new standards emerging and expectations rising. Most non-creative professionals are still in the beginning stages of understanding what design is. Do you recall when you first discovered design yourself? Do you remember grasping what this industry was about and learning the terminology?
Theoretically speaking, any trained and talented designer could solve a problem, regardless if they came from industrial design, design research, design strategy, service design, experiential design, human experience design, user experience, customer experience, or business strategy. While each individual has their own way of solving the problem, they will ultimately be able to construct a solution. But based on their skills and expertise what they produce as a solution will be different.
How confusing must that be for an employer who is just beginning to grasp the concept of design, what kind of design talent can execute the job right, and how long it takes to implement good design? They don’t know why or how they should choose you versus the millions of professionals that all say the same thing you’re saying.
“I’m creative, and I solve problems.”
I understand the concept of needing to simplify your language, but you also have to be specific about what is singular and unique about you & your style – how YOU solve problems.
If you are in the midst of an interview and all the client knows is that you are “a creative” and that you “solve problems,” you are leaving too much on the table – and you’re probably not winning the job or project.
Do you get into interviews and find that you can’t seem to represent yourself right? Do you know how to distinguish what it is you do best? The design industry is evolving a mile a minute; are you absolutely certain the superpowers you’ve relied on for years are still viable? Do you know where your talents stand in comparison to the marketplace, and where are your abilities most valuable?
Even if you have the gift of gab and love presenting & representing yourself, if you don’t know what it is that you bring to the table and what you truly want, then you’re just producing eloquent noise. People walk away from your conversation having enjoyed listening and conversing with you, but they don’t know what to do with you.
If you don’t know what you’re truly gifted at or how to position yourself, chances are you’re probably overusing the statement “I’m a creative and I solve problems.”
Most people that come to us are trying to figure out just that.
I created our Thrive By Design program because too many design professionals have gifts and talents that they aren’t aware of. If you can’t identify and articulate what actual value you bring to the table and what market you’re right for, then no customer will know how to work with you or invest in you.
We hear it from the client and employer side all the time. The main lament we hear from employers is “How do we tell who is truly skilled at solving our kinds of problems?”
It was always difficult for design professionals to identify their superpowers, assess which of these are still viable today, and then explore which new career track is best for them – till now. Our Thrive By Design career program helps you calibrate what your superpowers are, which of your skills are still viable for specific markets, what career paths are viable, and what it would take to get there. We make sure that you’re not starting from scratch but shortcutting to the top.
We help you develop a career track that’s not just viable, but one where you’re in a state of flow, growing while working, accommodating your personal life, AND making great money – thus Thriving By Design.
If you’ve been in the design industry for 10 to 20 years, and you’re finding that you’ve lost your way or that you’re stuck, give us a call. We would love to help you get there.