I've been thinking a lot lately about the myriad ways the word "design" is defined across the tech industry. My favorite definition to date comes from a colleague based in London who defines it ever so simply as, "solving problems". I've found this to be an apt definition for teams who value Design Thinking or deep user-centricity in their approach as it positions design as the mechanism to make the lives of their customers better. That said, I can't help but want to say a bit more when describing design in the context of making things better for Millions or even Billions of people through a digital solution.
From my time at large companies, I can recall hearing the stated importance of any effective framework at scale sharing two distinct attributes:
They evolve and do so with broad contribution and a testing/iteration mechanism.
At Intuit, I lead a team that is responsible for Intuit's global Design System (IDS). I like to think of IDS as a framework and indeed see the two aforementioned attributes evident in how we work. Day to day, we operate as a relatively tiny team knowing that our effectiveness and efficacy is only as good as the people who contribute to IDS. In other words, open contribution is key to our success and we leverage our community input to improve on what we do in a continuous manner. We check the boxes for an effective framework.
So what does the definition of design sound like if we look to it as a successfully scaled framework? For me, Design is the collaborative art and science that allows us to exceed our promise to customers.