In today’s environment, a business can only be successful if it constantly innovates, and to innovate it must adopt design in its processes and strategic planning. Design’s role has moved beyond the creation of products and services. Design thinking and design management each now have their place in design minded organizations, the former being an essential addition to the repertoire of a person even from a non design background. One of the major challenges faced by design managers is having to constantly reinforce the positive contributions of design to others in the organization. The leadership, culture and environment that design needs to function around, largely influences the amount of value design is able to create in an organization.
The incorporation of design in small and medium enterprises with little or no prior history of adopting design thinking, can be challenging. The management’s personal vision or other seemingly more urgent issues tend to interrupt the effective adoption of design, while creating strategies for the future. In the book, “Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value”, Thomas Lockwood suggests a ten step method to create empowerment and transparency of ideas and methods; all steps towards becoming a design minded organization. The emphasis is on evaluating the outcome of design in the light of its contributions to the triple bottom line of companies. Authors of management books such as Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Kelly, Daniel Pink and Richard Florida have each in their works written about the adoption of design in creating truly successful organizations.
Brigitte Borja de Mozota devised a research based value model in Design Management that would help to ‘measure’ the substantial or financial value added by design. One of the reasons that design is ignored or not given its due recognition is the difficulty in rationalizing its contribution to the organization. Managers/business owners need a familiar way in which to justify design spends. To this end, Mozota suggests using the well known Balanced score card method devised to monitor the consequences of business actions.The four perspectives of the BSC model neatly coincide with the four powers of design, or the four design values system: customer perspective (design as differentiator); process perspective (design as coordinator); learning perspective (design as transformer) and finance perspective (design as good business). I think this is one of the most important contributions in the field of design management as it speaks a language that is easily understandable by managers and business owners thus leading to less apprehension while adopting design.