Investing in the Future

CORPORATE EDUCATION PROGRAMS TO DEVELOP DESIGN MANAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP TALENT
Author:
Jay Peters
Company/School:
PARK & Grow USA

Jay Peters
Director, Managing Partner
PARK & Grow USA

Companies seeking to deliver exceptional holistic designs to boost business performance require not only great designers, but great design management and design leadership. There have been numerous articles and studies seeking to prove that that it is not the size of the design budget that necessarily leads to success, but in fact success is contingent on the way that design is led and managed. This is outlined in the case study published in the Journal of Product Innovation Management by Ricardo Chiva and Joaquín Alegre; Investment in Design and Firm Performance: The Mediating Role of Design Management1. Chiva and Alegre assert that “Design management plays a significant role in determining the effects of design investment on firm performance. Companies that manage design effectively and efficiently attain better performance than those that do not. Good design does not emerge by chance or by simply investing in design but rather as the result of a managed process.”

 There are numerous post-academic educational institutions and programs that further develop good designers to advance fundamental design skills, which may well deliver good to great design output. Yet, as outlined above, good design is not the main contributor to success. The majority of these programs focus on design tools and methodologies and do not typically connect people or management skills, which are key contributors to success. There are also a handful of noteworthy design management programs in place, yet these programs often fall short in preparing participants to effectively implement these learnings back into their organizations. This lack of specialized ongoing education creates a shortage of notable design management and design leadership training. This lack of training creates a lack of talent, which in turn makes it hard to find. One simple way to find such talent is to use recruiters to try and lure them away from existing roles. This can be risky, time consuming, and expensive. Another way, perhaps more practical and more beneficial, is to train talent from within. After all, those currently employed by the organization already know a good deal about the marketplace, existing ways of working, how things may be improved, essentially know their colleagues, and understand the culture quite well. If internal training may be a better way to go, the challenges then lie in how to further develop existing resources...read more