Design can give companies an edge over their competitors when applied to strategy and innovation.

The conditions of uncertainty and complexity that characterise emerging markets, as well as the threat of disruption to large established companies, require innovation through the application of design principles.

Design can give companies an edge over their competitors when applied to strategy and innovation, Terry Behan, a design strategist specialising in emerging markets across Africa, India and the Middle East told a recent GIBS Forum.

Behan, who has completed a portfolio of projects in education, the Internet of Things (IoT), global healthcare and financial access, explained that design-led companies like Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years by 219%.

He advised those operating in emerging markets to “embrace the madness. South Africa is one of the most complex emerging markets because of its diversity of language and race and its extreme inequality. You never quite know who you are designing for.”

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