Collaborative Design Studio mainly focuses on creativity and how organizations can develop competitive advantage from creativity. Design Management, on the other hand, focuses on participative management and how organizations can get the best from its employees.
With all the changes in consumer landscape, the power of applied creativity remains crucial in developing competitive advantage. Collaborative Design Studio looks at how organizations can avoid suppressing creativity and channel creativity in the right directions. On the other hand, Design Management looks at how organizations can develop teamwork and create trust among the employees.
Collaborative Design Studio reveals that, through the generation of bankable creative ideas, inadvertent errors -- such as suppression of creativity or channeling creativity in wrong directions -- can be avoided. It’s important to identify the main business problem and then unearth insights that can lead to spectacular solution. The core lessons of profit driving creativity, as revealed by various companies, are also revealed. They include selecting the best media for the message, executing big ideas without big budgets, outpacing the commoditization of offerings, and associating proprietary emotion with the brand. Specifically, the course covers such areas as how creativity is redefined in today’s marketing environment, how to outpace the commoditization of an organization’s brand, and how to fight for the brand’s voice. The course further looks at the branding problems and how to overcome them. How to revive a mature consumer brand, reenergizing a mature business brand, and choosing the best media for the message (advert); marketing a network of business under one brand, rethinking customer engagement, and establish and leverage a category advantage, are also covered by the course. The main idea from the course is that, it is the size of the creative idea that matters, and not the budget.
On the other hand, Design Management course reveals how employees can work as a team and develop competitive advantage. This can be achieved through various practices, often referred to as best practices. These practices help the internal creative teams and the external teams work as one, with more productive, respectful, and collaborative relationships. The best practices, as highlighted in the Design Management course include living creative briefs (creative brief is a thorough documentation of objectives, goals, deliverables, and design criteria). The living brief should evolve based on the insights of both the teams (internal team and external team). Other best practices include integrating teams and cohabitation; creating collaborative project space; sharing work experience; objective critiques and audits; mentoring, training, and education; and socializations and celebrations.
Both the courses emphasize on the importance of corporate culture. When a corporate environment necessary to encourage creativity in the current employees is constructed, then the business is able to enjoy the benefits of creativity and collaboration. Both courses focus on how to develop the key ideas (creativity and participative management) through the use of various organizations as examples. All the courses touch on brand and how to build a stronger brand using their respective key ideas (creativity and participative management).
The design management issues and ideas
Business success or failure directly depends on the business decisions and practices. Business failure results from a culmination of bad decisions and mismanaged practices over time. This however, doesn’t mean that every successful company has managed every practice perfectly and made every decision correctly. Wrong decisions are made as organization move along the way, which costs them valuable money and time. However, successful companies make the right decisions at the end, which leads to their success. The decisions are based on the design management issues and ideas which include Leadership, Strategy, Marketing, Operations, Finances, and Legal.
Leadership is the process through which an individual directly or indirectly influences other individuals or a group to achieve a common objective. Whoever that carries out this process is the leader. To be effective, leaders must have the ideas, skills, and knowledge, and communicate the ideas to others. In other word, the leader inspires, directs, and motivates others in realizing a common objective. Leadership is learned; however, the knowledge and skills required of a leader are influenced by his/her traits or attributes such as values, ethics, character, and beliefs. An effective leader must be trustworthy and must be able to effectively communicate a vision of what the organization needs to do and where it needs to go.
Strategy is an action taken by the leader to attain the objective(s) of the organization. It is a set of directions for the organization and its components, which are aimed at achieving the desired state. Strategy involves integrating the organizational activities and allocating the resources of the organization in order to meet preset objectives. In any organization, strategy is the blueprint of any decision. It defines the organization’s mission, vision, and the directions, and is aimed at maximizing the strengths of the organization and minimizing the competitors’ strengths. In any organization, the difference between where the organization is and where it wants to be is its strategy.
Marketing is a management process aimed at identifying and satisfying the needs of the customers profitably. It includes all the activities associated with the buying and selling of the organization’s products and services, such as advertising.
Operations are the activities involved in the daily running of the business in order to produce value to the stakeholders. Operations transform the resources and data inputs into the desired results, products, and services. In addition, operations create value to the customers. A group of connected operations is referred to as a process.
Finance issues refer to the activities involved in the management of money. They involve raising and managing the funds of the organization. By the use of financial forecasting, organizations are able to develop long-term plans. Short-term budgets are all aimed at realizing the plan’s objectives. Sources of finance include cash reserves, profits, loans, and trade credits, among others.
Legal issues refer to the laws and regulations governing the activities and the day to day operations of the organization. These laws govern contracts, employment, property, sales, and insurance, among others.
People, Planet, and Profits
People, Planet, and Profits are the three pillars in the conceptualization of sustainability. It involves the company’s initiatives and outcomes regarding the societal, environmental, and economic impacts.
“People” refers to the beneficial and fair business practices in relation to labor, community, and the region where the business operates. The main aim of thinking “People” is to avoid endangering any group of the constituencies and to benefit the constituencies. It calls for fair trade. For instance, a company that thinks “people” pays fair salary to the workers; maintains safe working environment and good working conditions; do not exploit its labor force or the community; and can neither use child labor, nor allow its contracted companies to use child labor. Such a business seeks to give back to its people and to the community by contributing towards the growth and strengthening of the people and the community within its area of operation. Generally, thinking “people” is all about the societal considerations.
Planet refers to the sustainable practices in relation to the environment. A business that thinks “planet” is one that seeks to benefit the environment by avoiding the activities that can harm the environment or eliminating the activities with negative impacts on the environmental. Such a business carefully manages its energy consumption, encourages the use of renewable energy, reduces its manufacturing waste, and renders the wastes less toxic prior to disposing the waste in a safe, legal, and moral manner. It also involves conducting life cycle assessments of products to ensure that the environmental cost from the growth to the harvesting of raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal, is justified by the benefits. Such a company cannot produce destructive or harmful products like toxic chemicals, weapons, or products that contain dangerous materials. In real sense, the cost of producing dangerous (toxic) products or non-biodegradable products is borne environmentally by the community near the site of disposal or financially by the governments.
A company that produces such products should not have a free ride, but should bear the cost (wholly or at least partly). A business that thinks “planet” also avoids the practices that are ecologically destructive, such as depletion of resources. Thinking planet is thinking environmental sustainability, which is a very profitable course in long term.
“Profit” refers to the economic value obtained after deducting all the costs. It includes the organization’s internal profit, and the actual economic benefits that the surrounding (host) society enjoys.
Design Management Reading 1 & 3, (Article)
Fallon, P., and Senn, F. (2006). Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage. 1st edition. Harvard Business Review Press.
Fisher, L., M. (n.d). “Ricardo Semler Won’t Take Control.” The creative mind. Strategy+business issue 41.
Lyman, A. (2008). Creating Trust: It’s Worth the Effort.
Stayer, R. (1990). How I Learned to Let My Workers Lead. Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec, 1990.