9. Advice – Management consultancies and advisory boards don’t influence CEO’s positively about the value of design.

This insight resulted from a discussion with some design executives on the reasons why in so many cases design is ill positioned to change the fate of the company by design, and the fact that many executives, members of the BoD and management consultancies don’t understand and advise on design adequately.

The term widely used to describe how a large organization is organized is a Blueprint, a schematic high-level definition of how the organization is supposed to function, depicted in many cases as a number of organizational charts and supportive explanations of the benefits of such layout. This exercise is majority of times top down, in particular moments of the company (mergers & acquisitions, spin-offs, relocations, etc.), done by a small group of high-level executives, in the case of large public companies consulting the BoD and in many cases management consultancies specialized in this type of efforts.

In the last 10 years, consultancies have gone on a shopping spree for design companies, it would be a fair expectation that all this M&A activity by consultancies, many times responsible for advising CEO and BoD of large companies on their future Blueprints, would render their advice more insightful and constructive as to the role and value of design in large companies, but that does not seem to be the case.

The global consulting market was in 2019 $188 billion, digital (design) companies have been the primary drive of growth among the top 10, and that there are clear signs of rising demand in technology consulting. The reason why we have not called this insight consultancy is because there are many other components to the consultancy services, we are particularly interested in the advice component of consulting, the service that supports top down, CEO driven projects traditionally given to outside recognized consultancies that, in many cases, help the CEO and BoD do what they intended to do any way. We believe that, despite the large swath of acquisitions of design companies in the last ten years, these top consultancies do not understand the value and impact of design. If there are not enough executives in the C-suite that have experienced the impact of design in large corporations, with designers at the helm sitting in C-Suite positions, these executives who tend to later become members of several BoD will not adequately advice CEO’s on the topic. If there are not enough CEO’s in large companies experiencing the power of design and designers, it is hard for that advice to flow to interested and curious CEO’s.

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