The world is flat | Zollverein School at DMI Conference

During my recent visit of the European DMI Conference I’ve recognized that the design management community is monitoring the development of the Zollverein School MBA with particular interest. While there are some other academic programmes at the intersection of design, business, management & innovation on the European market as well currently the post-graduate MBA at Zollverein School is a one-of-a-kind programme at least in the European market.

Consequently people are highly interested in the things which are going on at Zollverein School and one of the aims of this blog clearly is to establish some transparency on this. In Amsterdam I was happy to see some people who are involved with Zollverein School at the conference as well:

Beside 1st class MBA student Peter Schreck who recently started a blog as well (maybe mentioning his blog here will give his so far empty project a little push; sorry Peter ;-) Christoph Böninger. President “designafairs, Munich” and a lecturer at Zollverein School as well held a talk about “Design as a Process”. As noted in my blog Vol. 2: I’ve unfortunately missed his lecture, but fortunately we have the blogosphere ;-)

In his blog “” Erik Roscam Abbing (one of my former Master of Design Management students -> see his master thesis here) posted some of his DMI conference impressions in his recent posting “design leadership: a subjective summary” (I always admire people who are able to listen and write/memorize simultaneously ;-) Anyway, here’s his snippet about Christoph Böninger’s talk:

“Christoph Böninger of Designaffairs talked about horizontal workflow design: If you picture the different factions in the organization as vertical arrows (marketing, finance, operations, sales etc.) design leaders meander horizontally through these factions, playing the role of enabler, connector, integrator, translator, and motivator. Traditional strategic consultants are quickly picking up on this type of thinking; it is by no means owned by the design community. So if designers want to play a role as design leaders, they will have to ‘compete’ with these strategy savvy consultants. Strategists are learning to think like designers, designers should learn to think like strategists.”

While I know that Christoph has held a workshop at Zollverein School recently I’d love to see some comments or postings about Böninger’s key insights from our 1st class students here on this blog as well! Any volunteers …

2 Responses to “The world is flat | Zollverein School at DMI Conference”

  1. frank Says:

    well, i don’t think there is a lot of substance behind christoph boeninger’s lectures. i visted a few of them and am quite suprised how he still get’s around with it.
    his company designafairs that he just left doesn’t seem to be doing that well either… so i am not so sure he knows exactly what he is talking about.

  2. Ralf Beuker Says:

    Hi Frank,

    thanks for your comment which is appreciated. I’m sorry to read that you seem to have a different impression from what Böninger has been talking about.

    On the other hand I would love to hear some more substantive criticism since your comment remains quite broad. Accordingly I/the community would clearly love to benefit from some closer insights.

    Feel free to contact me if you should not want to discuss this publicly ;-)

    Best wishes,
    Ralf Beuker.

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