How will Design become a Way of Life in your Organization?

“Champions may push from above, policies may sit off to one side, programs tend to be temporary and functions isolated, whether leading or lagging. In contrast, design as infusion works alongside, and especially within other functions. Managers whose responsibilities touch design do not merely accept it, but become part of it. Design thus becomes a way of life in the organization.” —Dumas and Minztberg, 1989

Design Champion is according to one of the design consultancy approaches one of the most suitable ways for an organization to promote design. The champion could be the chief executive officer or other executives too or even an outside consultant. This person acts as a patron and even if he/she leaves the organizations there is the possibility to leave something important behind. The problems could occur when there are promoted beliefs about design rather than good design per se. In that case, usually, nothing tangible is left behind. This is why Dumas and Mintzberg claim that design champion – be that patron, crusader, team, or consultant – is only a necessary first step in order for an organization to be infused with design (Dumas and Minztberg, 1989). Out of that first step, there are three other options of managing design and designing management.

Design policies very often occur because “everybody” has them. They are supposed to be a suitable approach if they clarify beliefs that already exist in an organization. Otherwise, they are of little consequence. Design program has the main disadvantage as being “temporary design”. If this program is really a part of corporate strategy then as such could have a lasting effect on other initiatives. When the design is only lagging in the function it could be considered as only “cosmetic design”. The products may look a little better but this is the only effect. It is difficult for designers in such an organization to make a difference without firm belief and commitment. Managing design as a leading function design could end up with “encapsulated design”. This could cause problems in the internal efficiency of the organization (Dumas and Minztberg, 1989).

The least formal in the most developed is supposed to be approached where design is infused in the organization. It was pointed out that design cannot be managed as just another cog in a bureaucratic wheel. The infusion of design into an organisation is described also as “silent design” (Dumas and Minztberg, 1989). And this is how design becomes a way of life in your organisation.

Surce: Dumas, Angela and Mintzberg, Henry. 1989. Managing Design Designing Management. Design Managemet Journal: 1/1, p. 37-43.

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