Beneath The Waterline - Nadira Abdul Cader Irfan

Beneath The Waterline - Nadira Abdul Cader Irfan

01, March 2021

Owning a car is no doubt a great feeling, but these days people widely use taxi-services from Ola and Uber. But is just use enough? An important factor that needs to be cultivated, not attached is trust. It’s difficult to rely on an absolute stranger.

This is where a mixed consumer sentiment creates brand scepticism. “There is a collaborative effort between the brand and the consumers,” says Nadira Abdul Cader Irfan, the Founder of Sri Lanka’s premier Design Thinking Company, Innovation Quotient (Pvt)Ltd. With 17 years of experience, she left the corporate world over 6 years ago to become an entrepreneur. She changed the traditional landscape and helps businesses transform and cross digital boundaries with her skills in technology, data, digital strategy, and design.

Functionality has moved beyond the obvious. We don’t want detergent to just clean clothes, we want it to make our clothes smell good and look fresh. There was a time when a product had just one primary purpose, but we’ve come a long way from there.

“One design principle that is always employed, is to iterate constantly,” says Nadira. “You don't just make a product or develop a service and sit back and relax. It’s a constant process. The whole process of design entails developing constantly.”

This development cannot happen without the consumers. You need to empathize with them and synthesize the research into insights. Empathy has grown to become not just a transactional practice, but a relational one as well. Studying trends and market requirements can further strengthen the idea to create the wow factor. The more deeply you understand your consumers’ pain points, the better chance you have at succeeding in the market.

“Consumer’s mind is like an iceberg. We mostly see only a fraction of it. We need to go beneath the waterline to discover their values, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations,” said Nadira.

Products that don’t generate value for humans will not generate revenue for businesses. Nokia and Apple?—?they might share credit for being the most-remembered ringtone but there's something where they proved to be polar opposites. And that is a disruption. While one tried to focus on the older version, the other went out there and became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Animated films have created a niche for themselves and this might not have happened if Pixar had not decided to disrupt the traditional way of looking at films. This makes aligning businesses with the times and pushing boundaries even more critical.

You need to tell the customers how are you creating value for them. Another impressive app she talked about was Kitestring. It checks on you after a specified time and alerts your selected contacts if you don’t respond within a couple of minutes. Now that is an app that caters well to the target audience, who might probably be women concerned about their safety. You need to tap into the psyche of the consumers and take judgment out of the equation. You’re here to understand the consumer journey and their pain points.

We all know how erratic consumer demands are. Whether offline or online interviews, if one way doesn’t work, there is always another. Technology is a commodity to be used at our disposal, it will keep changing constantly. What won’t change is jobs. The nature of jobs might change, but jobs will stay. Processes often tend to more cluster and complex whereas the underlying point is quite simplistic. A human-centered approach, lean design, and agile execution are the way forward to create a better experience for the customers.

Written by, Esha Mehta


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