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The Chief Executive's Influence on Corporate Design Management Activities

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AUTHOR(S):

Min Jeong Song, Professor, KAIST, Department of Industrial Design; Ki-Young Rieple, Assistant Professor, KAIST, Department of Industrial Design; Kyung-won Chung, Chief Design Officer/Deputy Mayor, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Design Seoul Headquarters

 

An increasing number of chief executives (CEs) understand the importance of design and show strong interest in design management. From manufacturing companies to service companies, design-conscious CEs have devoted themselves to creating a design-supportive corporate culture and to initiating design management. What specific traits or behavior factors are common to the CE who values design management? How do these core factors interact with one another to produce successful designs and design management? These are the questions that this research seeks to answer. In the following, these traits or factors will be referred to as ""influential factors.""The first step was to review literature and public press materials in order to identify the influential factors that would help the CE toward successful designs and design management. The review found four core influential factors: design awareness, good sense of design, support for design, and involvement in design. Note that the first two factors are essentially personal traits of the CE, and the last two are related to their managerial behaviors. In this research, ""design awareness"" (DA) is defined as the understanding that design is a part of a company's business and a successful way to lead in the competitive market. For example, Mike Volkema, former CEO and President of Herman Miller, states that in his company, ""Design is treated as a problem-solving and discovery process. We overtly acknowledge design. It is valued and does not exist in isolation"" (Beckwith, 2000). A.G. Lafley, chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, regularly talks to the business and financial press about the role of design in P&G's turnaround (Barngrover, 2005), and James R. Houghton, chairman emeritus of Corning, Inc., has said, ""Our corporate philosophy is that good design should guide our every activity, sound design should be evident in or every public contact"" (Powell, 1992).

 

PUBLISHED: 2010

 

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