John Sebastian







MIT Technology

WEAVE /  Avantika University

Storytelling and Design to Drive Change.



Thought Leadership: John Sebastian

Design for a Dematerialized World

Today, people share stories worldwide in search of products, services, and experiences that are digitally accessible. This rapid change has caught businesses by surprise, since success is not feasible through gimmicky products, retrospective variations, or on-off interactions. The primary question at the moment should be, how do we design for a dematerialized world?


Companies executing with a short-term profit, and non portfolio offerings of digital components often haven’t considered the long-term impact on their eco-system. The dematerialization change breaks the conducting path to discover new business growth. Pursuing this as an opportunity for business lifecycle calls for rethinking the status quo. It requires rework of practices to drive a unified customer experience (CX) focused on organizational transformation.


Design decision making

For better enablement of business adaptation, and to define the next generation of CX in the connected product space, design is a powerful catalyst to build relevance and resilience. Regardless of industry or business model, it creates value benefiting both customers and businesses. Enabling a holistic perspective of problem solving by connecting an organization to real people, with real needs, and real problems. The wonderful thing about stories is that they are not only powerful cognitive tools, but offer a pivotal framework to connect with people emotionally.


"A well-grounded, customer-centric perspective makes it possible to focus investments on the offerings that present the highest potential impact."


Thoughtful customer experience drives from deep end-to-end CX and behavioral insights, technological advancements and data trends to stakeholder mapping. All when unified, form a complete customer journey with detailed requirement definitions and functional specifications to lead the design strategy. This helps create a shared understanding of multi-talented teams on specific calls-to-action, and aid decision making processes with stakeholders to identify the pivot in value creation opportunities.


Be open, flexible, and make sure to experiment at different stages of the process. Every small challenge works a little differently, and remember to discover synthesis in the in-betweens. Some of the most remarkable innovation initiatives arise from the space in between touch points, journeys, brands, experiences, and across multiple dimensions.


People with deep expertise have trained eyes and ears to enlighten unforeseen opportunities, relying on their judgment and intuition. Businesses working with global complex challenges use specific expertise to identify market leadership opportunities. Long before they can get market feedback and reliable market forecasts, these companies must make bets on which technologies and designs are likely to succeed as it will increase the odds that those bets will pay off. For those who have less timely clarity, starting with understanding your stakeholders in the broadest sense is essential.


Design inclusivity

Storytelling becomes a key driver to a valuable change in our beliefs and behaviors in both, crises and in better times.



"The wonderful thing about stories is that they are not only powerful cognitive tools, but offer a pivotal framework to connect with people emotionally."



Storytelling can enhance knowledge and educate as well as simplify messages or visions over time. It ensures experiments are prioritized to deliver short-run outcomes, drawing great learnings from the process that additionally help define a more detailed and visual story. Best practice would be the use of high-fidelity prototyping, topping with storytelling to conduct customer validation in closed in context interviews and observations. It can help pivot the concept and internal ‘three power bullets’ communication, to address new questions and consider both sides of the equation of core capabilities and operational strengths while going beyond customer needs, demands, and immediate expectations.


Design in your spine

Consider the reason why you are solving a problem, what it might mean for your team, start-up or company, and how key discoveries can show themselves right next to you. Wherever you are in your journey you must explore how better design leads to higher engagement, commitment, and ultimately greater impact. Design is for everybody, it is about how we think, dream, create, connect, and grow.

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 © John Sebastian 2022