There are three arguments that have come up since the first time we articulated this inquiry, one is that things are a lot better than they were in the past, the second that these things take time, the third that some of the design managers in N-2/3/4 are in fact important design leaders, managing often very large teams and exhorting as much power as a CDO in these huge companies.
Some have stated the number of design executive leaders has doubled in the last 5 years, data does not differentiate if these are designers. Taking into account the apparently overwhelming data on the impact of design in the bottom line and the fact that no one disputes the importance of design, the question remains why aren’t there more trained designers in these executive positions.
The second argument is on how coming of age and leadership with a seat at the table in large corporations takes time. Many mention Marketing as an example, nevertheless data suggests Marketing has grown to be indispensable in the C-Suite of the Fortune 500 in the last 25 years, while Design has been advocating its indispensability for the last 40 years and we are still not at the same level.
The third argument is related to the fact that these large corporations are huge behemoths and some of the design managers have a lot of responsibility, manage a large budget and a large set of people, and just because they are N-2/3/4 does not make them less important than if they were in a N-1 position responding directly to the CEO. Though this is true, the same could be said about finance, operations, marketing, technology, legal, but these areas do have a representative in the C-suite.