The Total Economic Impact Of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

A Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study Commissioned By IBM. February 2018


Quantified benefits.

The following risk-adjusted quantified benefits are representative of those experienced by the organizations interviewed:

Project teams doubled design and execution speed with IBM Design Thinking. Profits from faster releases combined with reduced design, development, and maintenance costs to deliver $678K per minor project and $3.2M per major project, for $20.6M in total value.

  • Organizations slashed the time required for initial design and alignment by 75%. The model demonstrates cost savings of $196K per minor project and $872K per major project.

  • Project teams leveraged better designs and user understanding to reduce development and testing time by at 33%. This equates to cost savings of $223K per minor project and $1.1M per major project.

  • IBM’s Design Thinking practice helped projects cut design defects in half. Projects were more successful in meeting user needs, thereby reducing design defects and subsequent rework to save $77K per minor project and $153K per major project.

  • Faster time-to-market enabled increased profits from net-new customers and the higher present value of expected profits. Faster time-to-market increased profits by $182K per minor project and $1.1M per major project.


› Human-centered design improved product outcomes, reduced the risk of costly failures, and increased portfolio profitability. Refined strategic prioritization enabled investments in solutions that were less likely to fail. Better design increased average product profits. IBM helped expand design thinking at the organization over three years to penetrate one quarter of the entire portfolio, enabling $18.6M in increased profits.


› Cross-functional teams collaborated to share problems and find solutions, reducing costs by $9.2M in streamlined processes.



Unquantified benefits.

The interviewed organizations experienced the following benefits, which are not quantified for this study:


Encouraged an empowered, engaged, and happy workforce.

Enhanced KPIs such as UI, UX, CX, NPS, and brand energy.


Perfected internal processes for HR, sales, and beyond.


Read the full report: https://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/static/media/Enterprise-Design-Thinking-Report.8ab1e9e1.pdf

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