This research, the findings and insights, combined with experience has led to a framework of needs to be addressed, by designers and non-designers. This framework is focused on the underlying biases and assumptions each side has of each other, unspoken but yet prominent and present in such a way that it prevents companies from making the best of design, and designers from contributing all they can to the success of companies and society in general.
While in many cases design and the design function is seen as the support necessary to allow other areas to drive decisions and establish direction, design is used by marketing, engineering, finance, a tool to beautify their plans and boost their ideas. We aim for a future where marketing, engineering and finance support design in decision making and direction, work closely with design to empower their ideas and make them more impactful, more robust. Not necessarily because design’s ideas are better, but because they come from a different place, a different Ethos.
While there are structural differences between designers and executives, the future of society and corporations will impact and be impacted by the future of design. The answer to the question “Why can’t we be friends” defies common sense, one could say there is enough evidence of the value of design in business in the last 50 years (at least), but recent research seems to question how that evidence has been absorbed by business managers, there seems to be a slow adoption of design, and a scarcity of designers in executive positions. My opinion is that business leaders may not believe the role of design in the performance results as being determinant, they might agree that design is important, but they dispute the fact that all the performance results can be attributed to design. And in reality, if you still believe design is about aesthetics and beautification, it is understandable that one might not believe that the results of these corporations are tied to design, one might say that in their minds there is some correlation but not enough causation to justify a strong connection between design and performance results.
“Designers make executives nervous by combining what appears to be a lack of interest in rigorous, quantitative analysis with the inclination to propose—with apparently reckless abandon—radical departures from the past. Executives might love the promise of creativity, yet they find designers hard to take. Designers find executives inexplicably wedded to mediocre status quos and inclined to apply impossibly high standards of proof to design ideas … thus ensuring those ideas go nowhere. Designers long for access to the purse strings executives control, but they find executives almost too conservative to tolerate” Martin, R., 2007