Friday, March 30, 2007

Designing for Business: Making the Impossible Possible

At the Design Management Institute's Conference in Copenhagen in mid-March, much discussion occurred that searched to find out how to measure design’s role in the business world. After much debate, one answer was rendered correct: the act of educating management.

For years, designers and managers have been seen as separate entities, and have largely existed on completely different pages. Designers have viewed themselves as strategic visionaries and problem solvers, while managers have trouble grasping that role, not seeing much value in things that they can’t really quantify.

Conference attendees proposed one particular way in which this discrepancy can be resolved: Designers need to educate themselves about business issues in order to become more effective and better designers while simultaneously doing a better job communicating their value to business. There has never been a better time to make these changes, as design is as popular and regarded as ever. But it requires action to truly be taken in order to being some acceptance and adjustments.

The proposal of creating clearly articulated design strategies struck a chord with many. Designers can use the growing body of data that shows that design can have a positive impact on business performance, essentially increasing revenue, profits, market share, and overall competitiveness. Presenting this information to managers can be a truly effective tool, as acceptance will increase greatly.
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