Design Thinking Can Deliver An ROI of 85% Or Greater
The Benefits Of Design Thinking Are Quantifiable, And They’re Compelling
By Ryan Hart (principal analyst, CX) and Benjamin Brown (senior consultant, Total Economic Impact)
Design thinking has historically enjoyed “blind support” among executive leaders based on its perceived value. However, many of these same leaders now find themselves increasingly under pressure to show the return on their investments in the practice. For customer experience (CX) professionals and design thinking practitioners that have successfully introduced the methodology into their organizations, they may find that after the initial enthusiasm fades, the struggle to fund and scale begins. Forrester created a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model to empower design thinking practitioners with the tools and vernacular needed to quantify their efforts as well as form a compelling business case for the practice.
The model examines design thinking’s financial impact. While the ROI for each organization will differ depending upon the efficiency of the practice, the project, and the specific use case, the model found that mature design thinking practices can generate substantial measurable returns and a broad range of auxiliary benefits.
Using both primary and secondary research, Forrester modeled the financial impact of design thinking practices at four fictional “composite” organizations in banking, insurance, retail, and subscription services.
The synthesized results project a median per-project ROI of 229%, with three-quarters of projects doubling their investment or more. Examined at an organizational level, a mature design thinking practice can achieve an ROI between 71% and 107%, based on a consistent series of inputs and outputs.
The TEI model analyzes 25 benefit and cost drivers to analyze investments in design thinking that range from organizational costs such as leadership support, facilitators, designers, training, communications, and even professional services to project-specific costs or capital investments. The model also analyzed benefits that come from both changing the way that teams work and their ability to achieve better results.
The key to developing a successful and compelling business case for design thinking is rooted in finding and socializing metrics that stakeholders care about and that set the team up for success. Articulating the quantifiable benefits of design thinking in a language familiar to the finance team (such as labor cost savings) or the marketing team (such as conversion rates) aids in securing their support.
For a deeper analysis and guide to the benefits and calculation of the ROI of design thinking, take a look at the Forrester report here.