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How to present the Importance of Design Strategy to your CEO?

By using a simple model it’s possible to visualize strategic design thinking in order to establish effective communication to a leadership of a mayor company. But return on investment of a design strategy in that simple model is usually when the product and/or service are already in decline. To gain a higher return on investment, companies design a continuous innovation pipeline. Although that kind of strategic investment has a negative return in the beginning, there is a possibility to gain higher added value of a investment/s.

The short answer to the question in the title is: by visualizing its return on investment (ROI).

The manifestation of a design strategy, namely the creative process itself, is often or even in general not linear, regimented, easily measured, or even described successfully. There is also one other fact, namely that design strategy is rarely seen by others in organizations as strategic or even as possible leadership model of an organization. One of the possibilities design strategists or even designers have, is to visualize strategic design thinking in order to establish effective communication to a leadership of a mayor company. Simple model how to present return on investment of a design strategy is visualised in the Figure below. The first Figure presents when usually a company invites design into a mayor strategic project, looking for a return. Usually that is in the point X of the first Figure when the product and/or service are already in decline. The best that could be done by design and/or design strategy is presented by the line Y.

Figure: Presenting mayor design effort in an ordinary company

Source of the figure: Dziersk, 2008, p. 124

And what would be the possibility to gain a higher return on investment, be that development or redevelopment of corporate identity, new products and/or new services. And in that process create also an innovation pipeline. Possibility exists by creating a continuous pipeline of innovation, without even reinventing the wheel each time out (Dziersk, 2008, p. 125). The Figure below presents such a possibility by an example of a truly visionary company. We know that every investment, especially strategic investment has a negative return in the beginning of the investment. By creating a continuous wheel a possibility exits to even lower this first phases of negative cash flows. And not least, then there is a possibility to gain higher added value of a investment/s.

Figure: Presenting mayor design effort in a visionary company

Source of the figure: Dziersk, 2008, p. 125

Source:
Dziersk, Mark. 2008. Visual Thinking: A Leadership Strategy. in Lockwood T. and Walton t. (ed). Building Design Strategy. Using Design to Achieve Key Business Objectives. Allworth Press. New York. 257 p.

Marko Savić
I’m raising awareness of the connection of business model innovation with design thinking. Have just published a book on business models design. You may wish to meet me in person at my next event or interact with me on Twitter.

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One thought on “How to present the Importance of Design Strategy to your CEO?

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « Design ManagementStrategyThinking

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