Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MBA Design Leadership elective - session 5

Design management + design leadership

This class looked at how design is managed within large organisations and the things that managers of design processes, strategies and the design function need to consider.

First, we used a video case I'm developing of Joe Ferry, head of design at Virgin Atlantic Airways, and his colleague Angus Struthers, lead service designer. Joe and his team are responsible for several innovations in their industry including the first fully flat bed in business class; Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouses; and the "terminal within a terminal" at London Heathrow's Terminal 3, including the proposition that passengers can get "from the limo to the lounge in 10 minutes". Prompted by material from my interviews with Joe and Angus, the class engaged with a number of issues, including:
- the strategy for design: styling or differentation
- interfacing between the design function and the rest of the organisation eg engineering, marketing and operations
- evaluating the contribution design makes to organisational effectiveness

Then, our guest speaker Les Wynn from Xerox, gave us an analytical lecture drawing on his 8+ years with the organisation, during a transition from a technology-led manufacturer of photocopies, to a market-led supplier of services. Hearing this detailed account of the change in the role of design and and how design is managed raised several questions similar to the Virgin case.

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