Can You Measure Design's Value?

20 Mar 2007|Added Value

The DMI Conference in Copenhagen sought to explore how to measure design’s role in the business world. One answer: educate management.  A Business Week article by by Kerry Capell

It’s a question that continues to stump designers and big business alike: How do you measure innovation? (See, 9/25/06, Metrics Madness). The conclusion, according to attendees at the Design Management Institute’s Conference in Copenhagen Mar. 14-16, is that you can’t, or at least not in any standardized way. The focus of the conference was “Improving and Measuring Design’s Role in Business Performance,” but no one could agree on whether design metrics were meaningful and if so, which ones to use.

The one thing attendees did agree on is that designers need to do a better job communicating their value to business. Design and innovation are hot management buzz words now. But as Darrel K. Rhea, chief executive officer of Redwood Shores (Calif.)-based consultancy Cheskin noted, few CEOs really understand either. If the design industry is to capitalize on its newfound popularity it needs to explain what it does and what it is worth in terms management understands. “The central challenge of the design profession is to make ourselves relevant to business leaders,” said Rhea.

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