It’s not SciFi

Want to earn $4.2 Billion in less than 10 years from a $25 investment?

I do.

Let’s find out how a Design Mindset helped make this happen.

Joe Gebbia, Designer and Co-Founder of AirBnb is the person that actually accomplished this feat.

Joe proudly embodies the principles of a Designer and sites his creative education at Rhode Island School of Design as the foundation of his success. “Design has always been a driving force in my life: it’s the lens through which I experience the world.” Raised in Georgia, Educated in New England, he now works and lives in America’s Tech Hub, San Francisco.

Like anybody, Joe’s education, background and lived experience shaped and formed the way he found a solution.

This is the Design Matrix — an environment in which something develops; a surrounding structure.

Want to know the secret catalyst of Joe’s Success?

The journey from Lawrenceville, Georgia to billionaire creative entrepreneur started in second grade when Joe began selling his drawings of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The spark was lit and so was his love of art. It’s a great story but as Joe says, “… spotting an opportunity and doing something about it.”

His love of Art led to studying Industrial Design at RISD: “Design has always been a driving force in my life: it’s the lens through which I experience the world.” It’s this lens that revealed the answer to his budget worries.

The old saying “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” was reframed by Joe the Designer to “Limitations Improve Design”

Limitations indeed. Here’s how this reframe evolved. It all started while Joe was unemployed and working on a new business venture with his roommate. Then Bam, Crash their landlord raised the rent.

Here’s how a Design Mindset to reframed “event” into a solution.

Joe knew the Industrial Design Society of America conference was coming to San Francisco and many hotels were booked. Joe and his roommate rented out airbeds in their apartment to conference goers. They marketed this idea by creating a website called “AirBed & Breakfast.”

Design Mindset meets Commerce and the rebirth of a “new” way of Lodging was born.

Sustainable success takes more than just a great, creative idea — here’s how a Design Mindset positioned AirBnB for Success. The real benefit of a Design Mindset is. Conflation — the merging of two or more sets of information, texts, ideas, opinions into one — in this case one brilliant idea merged with the Design process.

This is the Design Matrix at it’s best.

“The Internet startup world’s convention of thinking is that you need to solve problems in a scalable way. You need to solve problems with lines of code, and the Internet allows you to do that. The same line of code can touch one user or 10,000 users. But, as soon as we started to do things that didn’t scale, everything started to click… We traveled to New York City; we talked to hosts; we did unofficial ethnographic research. We observed people using Airbnb. We experienced all of the pain points firsthand for ourselves… We came back to our roots and applied the industrial design process to the Internet — merging customer feedback with our obsession for good design. Once we did that, everything clicked, and we began making money rapidly.” Joe Gebbia, cofounder of Airbnb

Maybe, it really did begin with the Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Check this out — The four traits of Mutant Ninja Turtles are the same four traits of Human Centered Design: Trust, Honesty, Equitability and Substantively. It’s simple. Design solves problems for people.

In Business, Design approaches a business problem like a relationship. All good, authentic relationships are built on trust, honesty, work on resolving problems fairly and move towards a positive, future focused outlook.

Let’s have a closer look at these four pillars so we can understand clearly how Design can be used in Business.

1. Trust
Design was Designed by people for people. It seems obvious but sometimes obvious gets lost in layers of information and needs to be highlighted, clarified. All Human relationships are successfully built with Trust.

2. Honesty
Design is Solution Focused not Problem Focused. A Designer approached all projects honestly wanting and working for a positive Solution.

3. Equitability
Design is available and used by everyone — Think City Planning and Architectural Systems. It’s no wonder that Designers see and think in terms of Systems.

Systems evolve and grow to meet the needs of people. Design like creativity is abundant. Abundant thinking guarantees success.

4. Substantively
A Design isn’t complete until it has been evaluated and test. Care and concern for the user is the gatekeeper of the Design process.

Weather it’s a product, experience or service the feedback from evaluation helps Designers to understand where improvements are needed. Trust, Honesty and Equitability are key to good evaluation.

Designs real benefit comes from facing a problem with a solution focus. It’s this focus that enforces the benefit of working with, not against, the fear of failure. In today’s fast paced, solution driven working world — being curious, mindful, focused and brave are the cornerstones of success.

In today’s ever-changing business environment, applying Design Methodology and principles are the key to success. In this competitive world where anything can be created quickly knowing how to curate thought, ideas and problems is a real talent. Building authentic and trusting relationships is the key to any lasting success. It’s only natural that a Design Mindset is being sought after by industry leaders.

Design is trustworthy, honest, equitable and substantive.

Designer, Author and Traveller lives and works in New York City applying his human-centered Design approach to life and work.