What is Design Management?

Term 1 has finished! Yeay! Here is some results of my activities in term 1. There are some others, but this is one of them which is quiet fundamental. I always ask this to my tutor and my classmates in MADM 2012-2013 group what is “DESIGN MANAGEMENT”?

There are a lot of definition of Design Management. When I was in Business School, all people will come with one definition when I asked “what is Marketing?” or “What is Business?” But when I look at the source of books, dude, there are a plenty of Design Management definition. But this is my favourite definition of Design Management. I got it from Design Management Institute.

Design Management is about “the business side of design”.

My Lecturer, EK Baek added that when you see management from design side, that is design management, while when you see design from management side, that is management design. This might be confusing, but repeat again with logic. Answering this question is a journey for me.

First,  what is design? There are also a lot of definition about what design is. According to what I got from reading, experiences, and discussions, this what I got (as I wrote in my Class forum in Strategic Design module)

Design is “a creative process” for making “something”. Design is that creative process which includes (Mozota, 2003) 1) investigating, 2)research, 3)exploration, 4)development, 5)realization, and 6)evaluation. While “something” here is anything as result of problem solving, THAT come from THE PROCESS, and contains innovation/ added value/ user friendly, and/ or also have the aesthetic part. So basically as a blend of my perception and what I read from Design Management by Mozota (2003) and Design Agenda by Cooper (1995), Design should contain: 1) process, 2) creativity, 3)innovation, 4)problem solving, 5)aesthetic

So, again, there are 5 underlined keys as the definition of design,which is process, creativity, innovation, problem solving, and aesthetics. Then, what is the important things of Design which is.. what is the Role of Design?? I answer it again in the forum.

Back to the understanding of design, value addition is the objective of design itself which contain of innovation and creativity, As we can see in page 13 chapter 2 page 3 Cox review (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/coxreview-chap2theimportance.pdf) , the impact of innovation in SME with design is higher than without design, THAT MEANS design has a big role in adding value of the impact of innovation. If design itself has role as the product, then every product has the value itself. However, involving design in business process, give value addtion on the business is more visible. For example, in graphic house, when design itself was sold as product, every single product gives different value as the product itself, it can be an added value if it’s great or even also added value if it gives aesthetics. But when the company putting design as part of business process, for example R&D, or marketing communication design, the value addition on business from the design itself is could be stands out. But again, it should be involving the management.

Then my lecturer asked me again,

The challenge is however how we justify quantify the manner is which design adds value.  we would all agree i hope that it does but articulating that in a persuasive way is a challenge.  how do we do so?

I answered

First, the value addition will happen when the problem of the company has been solved by design, and moreover the design itself bring addtional value that drives business into a better strategy to beat the competition. Collaborative team between designer and clients may drive the result into value addition in the design itself.

I really thanks to my lecturer Richard Chipps for guiding me through this journey of knowledge. Then, the discussions are moving to how to measure good design. If design is very useful, then how we can know that the design has already been good or not for the stakeholders? These point we need to know the measurement of good design. Here I answered,..

design is the tools of business communication or problem solver of life for consumers.

good design is when the design brings value of people/social, financial/economics, and environtment

good design for company/ business is when it delivers effectively what the business want to communicate to consumers. in addition, if the design is made as marketing strategy (product, promotion, environtment/place) then good design will bring consumer engagements,loyalty, and preferences which ends with sales, market share, and profit.

so, simple. when the design meets its functions and even more, give the other benefit which probably never been expected by design users (exceed value), that means the design has already add value to the design users.

Talking about what good design is, there are some sources which I like to refer at. According to Design Council in The Good Design Plan, good design 1) solves the problems, 2)is a process, 3)joining creativity and innovation (links ideas with markets and consumers), 4) is sustainable, 5)is The work of good designers and good clients in a team. Dieter Rams (1970s) from the perspective of product design came up with his famous 10 principle of good design, that is 1)innovative, 2) functional, 3) aesthetics, 4) understandable, 5) unobstrusive, 6) honest, 7) long-lasting, 8) thorough and down to the last detail, 9) environtmental friendly, and 10) as little design as possible. While according to Mozota (2003) Design has the role of Differentiator, Integrator, Transformer, and Good Business. So, when the Design already meets the four role, then The Design is already good enough. My classmates, Jittisantianporn, Chen, and Huang (2012) came up with a nice definition about what Good Design is. From company perspective, good design will gain profit of business, enhance the brand, and bring benefit to sustainability (people/society, planet/environtment, and profit/economic). While from consumer perspective, good design means Aesthetics (beauty/ delight people), Functionality (easy to use and deliver the value), and Emotional (enjoyable experience and provoke emotion).

After we know about what Design is, how Design is useful as The Role of Design, and how Design is Measured as Good Design, then what is the relation of these all with What Design Management? Design management occurs the activity of using Design for incresing collaboration of design and business, which means using design by considering the correct usage to the organization with people oriented. According to Design Management Institute, it is about managing ongoing process, helping business decision, and involving in business strategic by enabling innovation and create effective design ( it could be product design, service design, communication design, environment design, and brand design) to enhance quality life and make organization success. Design management have the scope from tactical management of corporate design function (which includes design operation, design staff, design method, and design process) and design agencies until the advance strategies of design across organizations. It is from “management of design team” until “design process in strategic corporate scope. Design Management has link with managing design, innovation, technology, management, and customers for the competitive advantage of organization across triple bottom line of sustainability (profit/economic, people/ social and culture, and planet/environment).

The possibilities future careers of design management and being design manager are being design department manager, brand manager, creative director, design director, head of design, design strategist, design researcher, and manager or executive or decision maker of design in organization.Moreover, the design managers are able to be a design entrepreneur, creative marketers, and managerial roles in communication, multimedia, fashion, branding, advertising, service, product and environmental design.

In conclusion, Design Management is using Design effectively to enhance business strategy or managing the process of design which in lines with the need of business in the competition.

Got it?


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