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Different Models of Design Management

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Different Models of Design Management – three examples from the Swedish furniture industry





The role of design in business has shifted dramatically over the past few

years. The responsibilities of designers are increasing, as they become

interpreters of the market changes and very often the driving force behind

innovation. The management of design has never played such an important

role as it does today, yet it still provides serious challenges for many

organizations. This article is based on the results from the exploratory

research that has been conducted among design-oriented companies from

the furniture industry in Sweden and Poland. This project was qualitative

study aimed to compare managers’ attitudes towards design; to look into

existing processes in companies connected with design and to explore the

different roles that designers play in organizations. 24 in-depth interviews

were conducted among two groups of respondents: managers and designers.

The purpose of this article is to present three different case studies from the

Swedish furniture industry. Cases selected for this article are companies that

use design strategically, yet, in very different ways. Company names are

omitted for confidentiality reasons, but the in-depth description of attitudes

towards design, strategies and practices in the design management area are

provided. In the description of cases, interesting quotes from interviews are

also included. Cases are built around one main strategic objective that was

the most important in each company: Case 1 – design for finding new

opportunities; Case 2 – design for building strong brand and Case 3 – design

for challenging status quo.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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