Why Design Management?
Design is the drive in people, to devise the course of action in order to change it for the better.
- Herbert Simon
Design is the act of conscious improvement: it solves problems. Design Management is the activity that supports design within organisations. This can mean leading a group of designers (such as in a design agency or design department) or integrating design methodology into other areas of an organisation as a problem-solving mindset.
Design Management combines creative design skills with rational business management, generating or increasing business value through design. Whether at a project-, department-, or strategic level, Design Managers are experts at coordinating different stakeholders to help organisations reach their goals effectively. They bring people from different backgrounds to work towards a common goal and create the conditions necessary for them to reach it. In essence: Design Managers enable teams to develop creative solutions.
Design Management's Role
Design Management connects the various parts of an organisation to creative problem solving. When specialists, different departments and end-users collaborate, there are many disparate interests involved. Design Managers make such collaboration constructive, effective and efficient. They are bridge builders, connecting not only design and management, but also other organisational functions such as research and development, marketing, and engineering. Design managers handle the communication, planning, briefing, and quality control to ensure the entire design process runs smoothly. Design Management can also operate at a strategic level, introducing design as a powerful tool to differentiate organisations from competitors through innovative products, services and brands.
Strong creative and entrepreneurial abilities qualify Design Managers to:
1. Manage design projects. Whether working in product development, communication strategy or something entirely different, Design Managers seek to understand the needs of all stakeholders involved and integrate them accordingly.
2. Integrate Design Thinking as a holistic approach within organisations. By supporting the adoption of recognized creative problem-solving approaches, Design Managers optimize an organisation’s core processes to deliver sustainable success.
Design Management Fields
In organisations where design is well established, one may find traditional Design Managers already in place. Their job is to coordinate the design team and interface between them, other departments in the organisation, and the leadership team. Beyond this, there are many other positions where Design Management skills are in demand.
● Project Manager
● Design Producer
● Account Manager
● Design Researcher
● Design Strategist
● Service Designer
● Product Manager
● Marketing Manager
● Brand Manager / Strategist
Design Management is increasingly becoming an integral part of organisations in both the public and private sectors. In addition to working in different sub-organisation departments such as marketing, Design Managers are also sought-after in the following industries:
● Governments, policy making
● Service industries (retail, banking, insurance…)
● Media and advertising