Leadership and Design: 5 Considerations for the C-Suite

Corporate identity is a crucial element to the look and feel of a business — it contributes significantly to the development of high “soft equity” — and so, upper-level management pays close attention to such matters.

As companies continue to invest in corporate design, what should C-suite executives, specifically those who are the Heads of Design, never forget?

1. A commitment to design initiatives
For these managers, they must remember to stay true to their design roots. The reality is that it’s so easy for these top-level executives (who have so many other tasks) to get lost in the administrative weeds that they forget their fundamental role (and passion) is design based.

2. Remembering the design needs of internal stakeholders
Design leaders are typically concerned with meeting (and exceeding) the needs of their external end user, so much so, that they sometimes neglect their internal stakeholders.

Smart design leaders should be considerate and take the time to understand the business functions and requirements of the internal departments, and create solutions accordingly.

Your colleagues need love too.

3. Developing a variety of professional skills
Chief design managers need to make sure they’re investing in themselves and gaining other relevant proficiencies.

With the rapid change and increasing business needs, design leaders should ensure that they’re also adapting and becoming a convergence of expertise so that they can rise to the occasion and solve these complexities.

It’s dangerous to be a “one trick design pony” in this climate.

4. Promoting a culture of integration
Knowledgeable design executives are cognisant of the collaborative direction the business world is heading towards (be it in hospitality, transportation or entertainment).

For this very reason, it is vital that these managers propagate a corporate culture of inclusivism: one that is open to collaboration between different departments and people — it makes your design solutions more comprehensive and relevant.

5. Stay mindful of the future
Chief design officers should ensure that they’re creating design solutions for products, services and experiences that address both the current and future needs of their consumers.

Hopefully, these suggestions make sense and are of value.

I also welcome the feedback and thoughts of other chief designers officers regarding these considerations.

Written by David Fastuca @Locomote