The Job-To-Be-Done of Design

Getting the brief right

Designer evaluating an opportunity 

The Harvard Business Review considers Design core to business strategy. Most other people think Design is about making things pretty. What is the job-to-be-done of Design?

I've tried to come up with a definition that captures the full range of what Designers do:
Design is the practice of making value available.

the practice...

Design is a practice. It's iterative, with experiments and refinements. It's practical, a matter of bringing elements together in new combinations and configurations and carefully observing the results.

Design is more like particle physics — done in a collider — than theoretical physics — done on a whiteboard.

of making value...

Design turns an opportunity into value. Design realises the value of the opportunity. The measure of a design is the value it releases or creates.

Designers must bring value to users, business (or other commisioner), and technologists. Users must be pleased and satisfied. Business must realise returns on their investments. Technologists must see their inventions adopted.

Design is about making choices. The values of User, Business, and Technology often conflict. Design must weigh and balance these values. Design is about making value choices. Design is about making ethical choices.


Like a Diamond Cutter, a Designer works to get the most out of the available material. The value is in the material, the Designer's job is to bring it out, to make it available to users, business, and technologists.

Design makes value available to Users with products and services that are easy and delightful to use.

Design makes value available to Business with products and services that are cost-efficient and in demand by Users.

Design makes value available to Technologists by fitting and weaving their inventions into the fabric of culture.

I've written in detail about availability in a previous post here.


Design is the practice of making value available.

This definition won't help anyone explain their vocation to their aunt, or client. But I hope this definition will encourage Designers to be more ambitious.

Please share this post. If you comment, I'll reply. Thanks for reading!

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.


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