Design Leadership

If you follow the press on topics like design, innovation and business there are new buzzwords each and every month. However some stay apart from the buzz and “Design Leadership” certainly is such a term. Not because it’s not buzz, but rather because there are many approaches how to actually “achieve” this leadership.

David provided his stake to the discussion by giving two definitions he thinks are worthwhile to note. The first one is by Raymond Turner (today Principal of Raymond Turner Associates-Design Leadership Consultants):

“Design is the principal means by which business manifests its strategic intent … Design connects strategic intent with day-to-day business activities”

While I find this definition still quite generic David also provided his view on the topic as well:

“Design Leadership is about increasing the knowledge content and hence value added within a product or service”

Reflecting on these two definitions there are serious doubts these days if we in the western industrialized countries are still able to exercise this leadership in the light of globalization. David’s approach on how to stay ahead of the emerging economic (design) stars like China or India is to align Design Leadership to the “Triple Bottom Line” which aims to consider economic behaviour from three equally important perspectives:

  • Economic Success (Profit)
  • Environmental Success (Eco-Friendly)
  • Empowerment Success (People Friendly)

Consequently if post-graduate design education (like the Zollverein School MBA programme) aims for educating Design Leaders than it must address issues of the Triple Bottom Line as well. And it will do so for sure …

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