Design is [Vision] is a monthly speaker series focusing on the future of design and creativity. Every public talk is based on a theme, and consequently, the series highlights a wider range of perspectives on everything from human-centered design to VR and ethics.

Designers have been helping define the future by envisioning and crafting product experiences. This is done in a number of ways, whether it is by helping to create a strategic product vision through storytelling or through insights-driven, human-centered design. Effective product strategy requires the ability to define a vision that actively works alongside business and technology to design experiences users want in the face of behavioural and computational change. Designers articulate abstract ideas and give them form by reconciling meaning usernames with business goals and advanced technologies. Data may persuade people till some extent, but it doesn’t inspire them to act in the way stories do. A product that serves as a tangible artifact that provides teams the 10000 foot view and aligns them around a shared Northstar to inspire innovation.

Design Is [Vision] 

Visioning is the process of evaluating and creating oneness around a product narrative, and it can be harnessed as a tool to align teams toward a north star. When grasped effectively, visioning encourages proactive innovation that displays across products, teams, and companies. In this talk, each speaker presents their own examples through experiences to illustrate how visioning strengthened products at their respective companies.

Youtube for Architects: Design Is [Vision] – The Power of Storytelling in Product Design and Business Strategy - Sheet1
Speakers of the show_©
The talk show had three speakers namely Ratna Desai (UX lead at Google’s Search and Assistant team), Steve Selzer (creative leader at Airbnb), Forest Young (Design head at Wolff Olins). They explained the power of storytelling in product design and business strategy through various examples and theories.

In tech, the concurrence of repetitive progress is a strong motivator. The mantra “release early, release often” promises the endless ability to build and mend, or add and reunite, as a product grows toward its potential. In contrast, speakers from Google, Airbnb, and Wolff Olins describe the benefits of shifting one’s perspective to see the full context and future potential of a product more clearly.

Highlights of the Show

Building Meaning Through Storytelling

Ratna Desai explained product visioning; utilizing storytelling to advance business strategies. Examples of filmmaking, Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather was given to signify the importance of storytelling. Lately, a comparison is drawn between storytelling and product visioning. This approach of building meaning true storytelling helps in designing products. Designers should always actively observe, listen and refine their solutions as the narrative plays out against the cultural backdrop. Rather than sticking to a single intention, we should constantly co-create and reset our expectations of products. We, being the designers, are blessed with tools to understand human behaviour and envision design solutions that make business outcomes tangible.

Using Visioning to Reach Goals (Steve Selzer)

Youtube for Architects: Design Is [Vision] – The Power of Storytelling in Product Design and Business Strategy - Sheet2
Multiple pathways towards vision_©
In some ways, the vision gives us a sense of how to work backward. We can easily move forward, we can continue to optimize but will be able to know where we are trying to go unless we actually try to envision something. On envisioning when we arrived at an aim, then we think about the next hence vision is connecting the dots. Vision is also a specific kind of storytelling. It tells stories about the future as it should be and what it should be. While envisioning, vision may have multiple parts; always sticking to one won’t be helpful. After all, vision starts with values and is a continuous process.


According to Forest Young, in visioning, goal posts can be set, but ultimately en route to that goal post, and during that journey, we may deviate and pivot away from it and it may no longer be relevant. He used examples like typography and photography. He also emphasized the failure stories through examples.

The show was concluded with a Q & A session, involving all the three speakers.


Envisioning shows us a way for working towards the future. It’s good to envision, but sticking to it blindly ignoring the consequences isn’t right. Hence whenever needed, it’s completely fine to change our routes towards that vision or even altering the existing vision. After achieving a certain vision, we shouldn’t stop and keep going. After all, it’s all about the process of connecting dots. 

Bibliography 2021.

Google Design. 2021. Video: Design Is [Vision] – Library – Google Design.


Manali is a fresher in the world of architecture. Holding a strong passion for writing and profession of architecture, she has a vision to combine them both along with her skills of research and analysis to make this world a better place for all.

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