Companies are continuously investing in new ventures, products and services and expecting positive returns on investments. Is focusing solely on design in your investments good decision?
Research shows that companies should focus on design management rather than simply on the use of design. The model Design management staircase may be used to see a range from an immature level of design management in a company to a level where design management is of a strategic nature and part of the company’s culture. Marty Neumeier in his book The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation expressed clear confidence that design management is never to be outsourced. But at the same time that many of the design skills should always be outsourced.
At highly driven design companies they have a differentiation strategy with design at their core. Those kinds of companies are market leaders through design innovation. This is reflected in the non-technological or design innovation that are first-to-market as opposed to the so-called me-too innovations where design innovations are copied by followers. These followers have a popular name and same have built the business models as copycats.
However not every company needs to focus its strategy on the role of design as a driving force of innovation. That depends on the nature of the organization, its market position, or its strategy. In some case it may be sufficient for a company to be on the level of design management as a function or even as a project.
Kootstra, G. L. 2009. The incorporation of design management in today’s business practises: An analysis of design management practises in Europe in DME Survey_Design Management Europe.