What is design management?

A disruptive way to solve business problems. What is design? Planning. What do designers do? Plan function and meaning. What is innovation? A new way of thinking about a problem; solving a problem creatively; creating a problem the user didn’t know he had.

Design Management is a problem-solving process that enables innovation and creates well-designed products, services, communications, environments, and brands that enhance the quality of life and provide organizational success.

Wikipedia says: “Design thinking refers to the methods and processes for investigating ill-defined problems, acquiring information, analyzing knowledge, and positing solutions in the design and planning fields. As a style of thinking, it is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context.”

From the SASD DM brochure: “Design represents a valuable asset. It represents the tools to solve problems and innovate. The ability to understand, optimize, and steer that asset is vital to an organization’s success… Design management is profitable. Designers are becoming crucial members of the business landscape. The field of Design Management encompasses every discipline of design including graphic and communication, architecture and interior, industrial and engineering, and fashion and textile.”

These are the six core aspects of design and business:

Leadership Working with teams and championing an idea.
Strategy Developing concepts and design elements that align with a company’s core plan of action.
Marketing Understanding product and package design, promotion, and physical plant design.
Operations Identifying, understanding, and influencing efficient operational practices.
Finance Comprehending annual reports, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.
Legal Protecting an organization’s intellectual property like trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
DM links design, innovation, technology, management, and customers to provide a competitive advantage across the “triple bottom line”: social/cultural, environmental, and economic (People, Planet, Profits).

DM is the art and science of using design to enhance collaboration and synergy between design and business to improve design effectiveness.

Using design thinking and processes to solve business problems, DM advocates design across an organization as a key differentiator and driver of organizational success.

Design managers lead design firms and design teams in creative industries.

DM incorporates design thinking, service design, and sustainability in the production and management of information, services, and experiences.

Design management is Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and Profitability