Future of Design Leadership –

The design industry has been changing. Design has become one of the core competencies for companies (Mozota, Borja, and Kim, 2009). As the business value of design is increasingly proved by research and acknowledged by the industry as important for creating sustainable competitive advantages, more and more corporations start building internal design capacity. Companies have been increasing the headcount of design over the past few years (Field, 2017). Large corporations like IBM, 3M, SAP are training employees at enterprise scale about the value of design and design thinking (Rae, 2016; Quito, 2016). Besides, design disciplines have been evolving. Emerging design disciplines integrate other design disciplines and address issues with higher complexity (Buchanan, 1992; Liz and Stappers, 2008). The delivery of design has also extended from tangible to more intangible, from designing products to designing services and systems (Hudson, C., Fudge, C., & Rae, J., 2011).

Increasing need for design leadership. The increasing complexity and continually evolving role and responsibility of design lead to increasing need and importance of design leadership in business. As stated by Turner & Topalian (2002), design leadership is crucial for companies to apply design effectively and maximize the value of design. Turner & Topalian (2002) also suggested a role for design leaders to help a company define their future and turn desire future into reality. In this respect, how design leadership fulfills its responsibilities in companies become critical to companies’ future success.

The Why. In this dimension, it’s about the impact delivered ultimately by design leadership. There are four types of impact:
Business impact: The contribution to a company’s business performance.
Customer impact: The contribution to the wellbeing of its end-consumers.
Environmental impact: The effort minimize company’s negative impact on the environment.
Societal impact: The contribution to society.

A thesis project by: Hung-Chen Fu “MAID – Master of Arts of Integrated Design” Hochschule Anhalt, Summer 2019.
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