On Tuesday, 14 January, students of the Master’s programme Digital Management (M.Sc.) attended an informative guest lecture held by Jan Pilhar and Alvaro Wiedling from Aperto GmbH, an IBM iX company. The presentation took place as part of Frank Foelsch’s lecture on Digital Economy and dealt with business design in an agency context.
Aperto was founded in 1995 and with over 400 employees is one of the largest digital agencies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since 2016, the company has been part of IBM iX, which represents IBM’s global agency family. Clients who work with the company aim to design experiences, transform communication or reinvent their business. In the past, Aperto has worked with brands such as Coca Cola, Adidas, and Airbus.
Jan Pilhar, executive director at Aperto, and business designer Alvaro Wiedling presented the emerging field of Business Design and talked about current trends and challenges. The job description of a Business Designer was also discussed. The speakers gave the students many practical examples, which enabled a lively exchange of ideas. Moreover, the students participated in a case study.
The speakers highlighted how the the concept of design has been on the rise during the last ten years. It has become mandatory to approach digital projects with a design mindset:understand user problems first, then create a solution based on this understanding. The core concept is empathy, which is still emerging in the tech world, but incredibly important for a project to succeed, as Jan Pilhar and Alvaro Wiedling explained. They also discussed the economic value of design which can be an impetus for growth for companies. Interesting discussions were prompted by the question on how important it is to teach children how to code.
The guest lecturer also explained the tasks of a business designer: Drive a human centred approach to innovation. Within interdisciplinary teams, the business designer is tasked with ensuring the economic viability of new products and services. Therefore, the business designer has to not only focus on user needs but also project growth and earning potentials. Two current work examples the guest speakers highlighted were innovation projects for Volkswagen and Siemens.