Design Leadership Ignited
Elevating Design at Scale
Published by: Stanford University Press
240 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm
- ISBN: 9781503613966
- Published: February 2022
Design leadership at scale requires leaders who design the design function, establish a thriving environment for the creative team, and shape the design organization to drive progress, advance innovation, and enhance meaningful customer experiences.
To examine the foundations of successful design leadership, the authors performed extensive in-depth interviews with design leaders working for Fortune 500 organizations across industries. Based on these insights, Design Leadership Ignited delineates a pathway to design excellence, which includes establishing a forward-looking strategy and an adequate organizational structure for the design function, empowering the design team, and scaling the impact of design across the entire organization. This book takes the position that a core challenge in the journey towards design excellence is the need to recognize and balance the often-contradictory objectives and activities that design leaders encounter. Combining their practitioner experience and research, the authors provide a framework to embrace the complexity of design leadership that will elevate design at scale.
This chapter describes the aim of the book and explains the research approach. It also introduces the Leadership for Design Excellence Model with its three phases (Establishing the Design Foundation; Empowering the Design; Elevating to Design Excellence) and its constituent building blocks (design leadership; design direction; design organization; design taxonomy; design resources; design scaling; design excellence). The chapter furthermore discusses the evolution and value of design and summarizes the structure of the book—a structure in which each chapter addresses a different building block of the Leadership for Design Excellence Model.
This chapter describes what executive design leadership entails in terms of the experiences, responsibilities, and competencies needed to successfully elevate design at scale within large, complex organizations. The chapter also provides for an example job description for a chief design officer and illustrates what the job entails by means of describing a typical week of an executive design leader. The chapter ends with key takeaways on how to navigate core dualities, including maintaining a balance between design and business priorities and goals.
This chapter specifies how to set a direction for the design function by formulating a clear design vision, mission, and set of principles. The chapter also describes how to implement the design direction through a strategy, a roadmap, and an annual operational plan. Information is also provided on how executive design leaders can utilize the expertise of their teams to identify and refine the design direction components. Furthermore, the chapter introduces some guidelines on how to communicate the design direction and how to use performance metrics to monitor implementation progress. The chapter concludes with an overview of certain dualities that emerge as the contours of the design direction come into focus, and guidelines on how to deal with those.
This chapter first elaborates on the activities needed to define a solid organizational framework for design (scoping, evaluating, exploring, contextualizing, and futureproofing). Then the chapter gives an overview of the benefits and detriments of different design sponsoring approaches; considers various ways of configuring lines of authority; describes potential workspace constellations, including their pros and cons; and provides an overview of tactics to implement the organizational framework for design effectively. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the core dualities inherent in design organization and ways to manage these in large, complex companies.
This chapter covers the core elements of a design taxonomy, and how to create one. The chapter identifies the activities that are central to creating a design taxonomy and then provides some guidelines for how to identify the scope of design. The chapter also clarifies key design roles and competencies that the design taxonomy might include, and explains how those competencies can be combined into a hierarchy of job levels and a career framework. After that, some variations of the chief design officer job title are explored. The conclusion presents some dualities that an executive design leader must manage when developing and deploying the design taxonomy and provides some guidelines on how to excel at creating a design taxonomy.
This chapter elaborates on what design leaders can do to support design teams to grow and thrive in ways that contribute to organizational success. The activities are clustered into two core areas: effective talent management and the establishment of conditions that enable design to flourish. Talent management is discussed in terms of attracting and retaining design talent; effective performance evaluation; and recognition of design team achievements. Creating enabling conditions is described in terms of effective design outsourcing; cultivating a design culture; and management of design team resources. The chapter ends with an overview of core dualities that design leaders will encounter when engaged in attracting, developing, and maintaining design talent, and some key takeaways.
This chapter gives a description of the similarities, differences, and complementary elements of qualitative and quantitative scaling, followed by some core challenges that design leaders need to consider during their scaling efforts. The focus then shifts to how to generate internal demand for design, a fundamental requirement for scaling to take place. Then the chapter provides a three-step approach to fostering appreciation for the design function and its value-generating activities, with the end goal of establishing partnerships with stakeholders in the organization. The chapter ends by noting certain dualities that scaling presents and some concluding guidelines.
This chapter describes what design excellence actually entails for each of the building blocks discussed in the prior chapters. The chapter also summarizes the learnings with respect to the dualities encountered on the journey to design excellence. In addition, the chapter discusses a dynamic approach to design leadership according to the situation at hand and how to adjust during the journey towards design excellence at scale. The chapter ends with an overview of upcoming developments affecting design leadership and a reflection on how to maintain design excellence over time in the context of an ever-changing environment.
"The authors have created an exceptionally comprehensive guidebook to building and growing the design function. With engaging insights, useful models, and straightforward language, this book will spark plenty of 'aha' moments, generate lots of note-taking, and inspire even better design leadership for the future." ~Carole Bilson, President, The Design Management Institute, and former VP Global Design & Usability, Pitney Bowes
"This book couldn't have come at a better time. As many companies are facing profound transformations of their business model, strong design leaders are needed to help executive management navigate the high seas.Design Leadership Ignited is inspirational, pragmatic, filled with real-life experiences, and written for design excellence." ~Laurens van den Acker, EVP Corporate Design, Renault Group
"This book consolidates key insights and knowledge to ensure that design teams can thrive at scale. Elevating the practice of design leadership becomes even more critical as design leaders are now expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the success of not just products, but entire companies. Essential reading for design leaders." ~Alastair Simpson, Vice President of Design, Dropbox
"As scaled businesses increase their investment in design, it is more important than ever to understand and articulate the business value of enterprise design programs. Packed with practical real-world insights, Design Leadership Ignited is a clear and comprehensive resource for an emerging generation of design leaders." ~Doug Powell, Vice President of Design, IBM
"The most pragmatic, practical and insightful approach to understanding contemporary design leadership. Drawing on decades of knowledge in the field, this book is an essential read for aspiring design leaders and business leaders wishing to deliver excellence through design." ~Rachel Cooper OBE, Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy, Lancaster University
"A seminal and timely piece substantiating design leadership in the era of rethinking the future. Abound with enlightening thoughts and practice-oriented insights about design leadership as the differentiating force of change, this is a must read for all to build design as a core competency for the twenty-first century." ~Edmund Lee, Senior Consultant & Former Executive Director, Hong Kong Design Centre
"Complex organizations with increasingly overlapping boundaries between business and design require a different kind of design leadership, and this book provides the right insights to deliver it." ~Deborah Dawton, Chief Executive Officer, Design Business Association