How to connect design management with your corporate culture?

Design Ladder is a model where companies are classified into four categories, depending on their use of design: + from no use of design; + to design as style; + to design as a process, and the most advanced ladder + design as a strategy. That last kind of organisations design innovators and market leaders.

This post was part of my presentation competing at the WBPC10

How to connect design management with your corporate culture?

In the model Design Management Staircase at the picture below there is a range presented from an immature level of design management to a level where design management is of a strategic nature and part of the company’s culture. At highly driven design corporations they have a differentiation strategy where design is at their core. Those kinds of corporations are market leaders through design innovation. If a company wants to be a market leader it needs to have the design as part of its strategic plans and design planning should be a dynamic process that drives the business. However, not every company needs to focus its strategy on the role of design as a driving force of innovation. It depends on the nature of the organization, its market position, or its strategy. In some cases, it may be sufficient for a company to be on the level of design management as a function or even as a project

design management staircase

Nevertheless, the usage of design is valuable information. In Denmark, they researched their companies according to a model called Design Ladder where companies were classified into four categories:

  1. no use of design,
  2. design as style,
  3. design as a process, and
  4. design as a strategy.

And in general, they found out that the higher the use of design in an organization the higher its gross performance.

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  • matka2000
    Posted at 12:54h, 16 November

    Hi! Glad to have found this blog!

    Is the design ladder model you have an image of your own extention of the Danish Design Center’s version? Or where can I find the original source?


    • Marko Savić
      Posted at 18:57h, 23 January

      @matka2000: The image in this blog post presents the model Design Management Staircase from the: Kootstra, Gert L. 2009. The incorporation of design management in today’s business practises: An analysis of design management practises in Europe. Design Management Europe: ADMIRE programme, 63 p.

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