Design Leadership, Securing the Strategic Value of Design


pmwj18-jan2014-subramanian-IMAGE1 - BOOKBook Title: Design Leadership, Securing the Strategic Value of Design
Author:  Raymond Turner
Publisher:  Gower Publishing Limited
List Price:   US$ 94.95
Format:  Hard cover; 255 pages
Publication Date:   2013     ISBN: 978-1-4094-6323-8
Reviewer: Lakshmi Subramanian
Review Date:              Nov 2013

Introduction to the Book

Design Leadership” presents arguments about the value of design and how it can be leveraged for the benefit of the organization. Design directly impacts oft-used measures such as Gross margin, Net margin, Return on Investments, Operating costs and can be used as a Brand Asset as well. Organizations see design as a cost rather than an investment, as a thing instead of a process, or as a tactical rather than a strategic resource. However, design is a business tool that makes strategy visible, and design leadership is a commercial and social imperative. Design spend is the single biggest expenditure that the Board knows the least about.

Good design is good business. However, most organizations don’t pay heed to design and its role in the big picture. This book presents arguments for putting design in the DNA of business and demonstrates how design leadership can positively impact the strategic objectives.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is divided into 4 parts with 18 chapters in total – 1. Preparing the ground, 2. The how and what of delivery, 3. Looking back to look forward, and 4. Case examples.

In Preparing the ground, the author touches upon the challenges that design faces currently – sceptics who think design is a thing and not a process and as a cost and not an investment and how to convert them by the authority of argument, rather than by the argument of authority. The author presents arguments on why design is relevant and can increase brand value, reduce costs and time to market. Demonstrations on how design can drive these key indicators that measure business is quite resourceful, should you need to make an argument on the relevance of design.

In The how and what of delivery, the author explains the differences between design management and design leadership, where the former addresses “the how” to get design implemented and the latter provides direction to manage. A diagram showing basic links between strategic intent and design response is a must-see and is oft repeated in different contexts. Using an opportunity to leverage design is discussed in detail under ‘Milestones of Design Management’ and ‘Process of Design Leadership’. The behavioral styles of Line managers, Functional Managers and Design clients are also discussed. 


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Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Dallas Chapter – www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI members can receive PDUs for PMP recertification by reviewing the books.  PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.  If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected]. 

About the Reviewer

flag-usa-indialakshmi-subramanianLakshmi Subramanian

Lakshmi Subramanian, PMP, has 10 years of varied and valuable experience serving the IT and IT Enabled Services industry. She has a Bachelors in Commerce, Masters in Computer Applications and Diploma in Business Management and is a proud member of the Dallas PMI Chapter. Lakshmi is currently working for a Telecom Major in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, USA. Lakshmi can be contacted at [email protected].