Focused on creative functions
Innovation makes for a better future, and design enables innovation; advancing the role of design and innovation in business is our focus and our passion. While we practice in any industry, we work exclusively in the following job functions:
Innovation Leadership Design Leadership New Product Development
UX / Interaction Design Industrial Design Engineering Design
Design Research & Strategy Creative Direction Brand Management
Communication Design Brand Design User Experience Design
Design thinking / design management / design leadership
There are many related terms, and we are often asked to help clarify the difference between design thinking, design management and design leadership. Our point of view is that design thinking is a problem solving methodology. It is a way to help discover actual problems and opportunities, which are often unmet needs, and develop ideas for new solutions. It is used as part of the “fuzzy front end”, an entry point to innovation, and is an incredibly powerful methodology to determine the right problems to be solved. It can also be used anywhere along a process, or product or service life-cycle, for continuous improvement by helping to re-frame problems, solve “wicked” problems, and support business innovation.
Design management, on the other hand, is generally more operational focused, and involved with the ongoing management and leadership of design organizations, processes, and projects. This is the managing part of developing new products, services, interactions, communications and environments, and guides design doing. The objective of design management is to improve design effectiveness and efficiency.
Design leadership may be viewed as leading a more strategic role in embracing the many values of design, often at a higher, or even the highest, level in the organization. Design leaders set the agenda and the course. Design strategy may be viewed as the outputs of effective design management and the overall corporate strategic intent supported by top design leaders. Collectively, these functions help make for more innovative organizations.
The term “Design Thinking” is somewhat controversial. Another idea, as Bruce Nussbaum is fond of saying, “why not just call it a banana?”