on the definition of
OW DO WORKING professionals define design
management and how do their activities enhance an
organization’s day-to-day operations, identity, and
business strategies? The executives we asked offered a
variety of perspectives and insights. All see design as an essential corporate resource, but they make their cases in many different ways.
tells us that design managers
supervise the creators of
tangible “things.” These
things are often used to fulfill or meet an organization’s TIMOTHY BACHMAN,
strategic goals. Yet, the real
value offered by design manBACHMAN MILLER
agement to an organization
is its consistent orchestration
and nurturing of shared
values and realities. Thus, a proficiency in how the
organization’s resources and assets should be expressed to continuously meet changing consumer and business demands is acquired.
Design management effectively masters change.
It seizes opportunities to evolve, protect, and build
memorable products and corporate identities. It
works best when the entire organization adopts,
understands, and shares the character, values, and
promise of the organization’s “genetic code.” This
genetic makeup (real-life stories, visual expressions,
textual content, products, and service priorities)
evolves as intangible and tangible assets that define
the organization’s identity.
Design management articulates simple explicit
and implicit communications that mirror the
organization’s values. It nurtures individual
DESIGN MANAGEMENT JOURNAL
contributions that accurately express and interpret
the organization’s business objectives.
Design management is not a departmental or a
supervisory role. It is a strategic and purposeful organizing process. Organizations that integrate design management as a continuously reformative activity
within their culture easily survive competitive challenges and the subtle cultural and technological changes that cripple reactive organizations.
As a profession, design management strives to initiate and
handle design strategies in
boardroom decisions and to
follow up with implementation
Design management strives
to create understanding and
awareness among personnel at all
levels that conscious actions in
even the smallest decisions are
the core of design management.
Design management functions in all places and
situations in which the organization, through its
structure, products, and employees, makes decisions
about customer experiences and product quality.
A PROFILE OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT
18 VIEWS ON THE DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT
I could be profound or
practical, but I think I’ll be some
I like to think of design as
vision. Design communicates
where we’ve been, where we are,
or where we want to be. It’s the
signpost and guidepost for the
CORPORATE BRANDfuture. Design can create comING AND IDENTITY, fort or discomfort, depending on
the goal of its execution. Design
is the ultimate vehicle to communicate intent. Penultimate
design is the execution of leadership vision.
I manage design strategically and tactically as a
pure and essential element that supports our vision,
which is in turn built upon our strategic plan. If the
strategic plan changes, then our design work has to
change along with the vision. The vision drives our
design work. Design can crystallize senior management’s thoughts and can help them move from the conceptual to the real world of implementation.
In a very practical sense, vision needs to be communicated through actions, behaviors, the written word, and sounds, not just through design media.
I think that design management is visionary
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