The "Peking Duck Pizza" Affair

Imagine we are at a party, the host looks at his 20 guests and asks PIZZA anyone? Big smiles start popping on faces.

Everybody loves pizza; and the most beautiful thing about pizza is that is heavily customizable.  Just like design.

Part of being a good host (or manager) is definitely trying to please your guests. Now there are 2 approaches to do so:

 

1. Our HOST, decides to collect all the topping requests from each and every single guest.

The next thing you know is that the mega-pizza that it has been delivered is a messy collection of toppings. Will it be tasty?

This approach is what we would define arbitrary. The impression might be that our host pleased everyone; the reality is actually pretty much the opposite.

While the process of asking each guest to choose its topping is a very pleasant and polite gesture, the end result is probably not the one expected.

2. Our HOST has a clear vision of what experience he wants to provide to his guest. He gathers all guests desires and ideas, then he defines a cluster. Based on this reasoning he orders the 3 most popular choices of pizza, which in general are simpler and more  straightforward ones.
While this process requires a little more effort, the overall end result will be much more efficient and publicly appreciated.

As we started working with some mid to large size companies in Asia we noticed that many of them tend to favor the first approach rather than the second one. Probably this attitude is a result of a very rooted tradition of democratization of the decision making process.

To us, design is never cynical nor arbitrary. It’s our way to tackle change and possessively impact people’s lives. We suggest to try to apply the second approach as we face a complex decision making process. We will find out a new way of pleasing our “guests” or public.