Yes, but what does it mean?

The AI trend is reaching new heights. There are optimists, worryers, those with an "I've seen this before" attitude, ignorants, and the confused. All making noise, like dust, on top of the rubbles of a market bulldozed by this (not so new) technology.

Let's use the above as context for this conversation. The true story here is the shift in the mindset of many organisations. Let's get specific—I want to write about the massive layoffs of designer minds.

What does this mean? Do businesses in every sector always have a surplus of designers? Are designers an expensive cost and the most justifiable expense to eliminate? Has Design become a seasonal job?

The answer may be yes to all of the above. But what does this mean? What does it mean for the future of organisations that overhire designers, ignore their advice, and then lay them off?

My thesis is that every organisation is a point of view addressing a market need or an entity that has a point of view and, to make it relevant/profitable, creates a market. How? Investing in context and framing the value/benefit they deliver. Okay, but what does this mean?

To exist, each business must answer a few essential questions: what, why, when, where, and how. Regardless of the business size, these questions will define its success. Each of the above needs specialists trained and willing to find that answer in a way that is relevant to the market.

The designers should be involved in finding the answer to most of them, but most importantly, they should own the answer to how. How at every level.

How do you build a product/service/value as a business? As a customer, how can you make sense of this value and create a healthy relationship with the product and the company itself? This question and the answer are fundamental to the business—the organisations that understand this can show longevity and growth in a healthy composition.

So, what's so special about a designer mindset? I'm glad you asked.

It is a unique combination of creativity, curiosity, skills and the will to solve problems. But this is not all—a designer's mindset is able and willing to fail before getting better—an attribute that makes this position highly vulnerable—but that's a topic for a different conversation.

What does this mean for the organisations that either overhire this mindset only to ignore it or make it disposable as soon as the market sneezes?

Can such organisations remain relevant? I predict that the answer is no. What does this mean for designers? We are told that we must adapt and learn to speak business, which I think is fair—but this only matters if the company is willing to accept that not everyone is a designer, and to be relevant in a market, you need to answer the how question, in a compelling way.

Right now, we are witnessing a weird transformation that is cracking the foundations of many organisations.

The C-level is having a party, getting high on growth sourced from destroying its foundations and shouting "AI First" from the top of its lungs while getting rid of the minds that build a company's actual value.

It's like selling one of your kidneys to buy an iPhone to look cool.

What do you think?

Copyright © Alin Buda. All rights reserved. Trademarks, brands and some of the images are the property of their respective owners.
Some images were sourced from Pexels™ and Unsplash™.