Content thumbnail The Business Value of Design

"One of the strongest correlations More Than a we uncovered linked top financial performers and companies that said they could break down functional silos and integrate Department: It’s designers with other functions." Cross-functional This was particularly notable in consumer-packaged- goods (CPG) businesses, where respondents from Talent companies that were top-quartile integrators reported compound annual growth rates some seven percentage points above those that were weakest in this respect. Nurturing top design talent—the 2 percent of employees who make outsized contributions in op-quartile companies make user- One company we know, for example, unveiled every business—is another important dimension centric design everyone’s responsibility, a new flagship design studio to much jubilation of team dynamics. Getting the basic incentives not a siloed function. In the tired caricature from the design community. Before long, all the right is a part of this: in our survey, companies of traditional design departments, a group designers had moved their desks inside the studio, in the top quartile for design overall were almost of tattooed and aloof people operate under the and had deactivated door access for the marketing, three times more likely to have specific incentive radar, cut off from the rest of the organization. engineering, and quality teams. These moves programs for designers. These programs are tied Considered renegades or mavericks by their drastically reduced the level of cooperative work to design outcomes, such as user-satisfaction colleagues, these employees (in the caricature) and undermined the performance of the business metrics or major awards. guard access to their ideas, complaining that as a whole. they have too often been burned by narrow- Crucially, though, retaining great design talent minded engineering or marketing heads Our research suggests that overcoming requires more than promising a big bonus or a career Nurturing top design talent—the 2 percent of unwilling to (or incapable of) realizing the isolationist tendencies is extremely valuable. path as a top-flight manager. Carrots such as these employees who make outsized contributions designers’grand visions. One of the strongest correlations we uncovered are not enough to retain top design talent if not in every business—is another important linked top financial performers and companies accompanied by the freedom to work on projects dimension of team dynamics. We are not suggesting that this stereotype is still that said they could break down functional silos that stir their passion, time to speak at conferences common—or that other functions are necessarily and integrate designers with other functions. attended by their peers, and opportunities to stay to blame—but it can be surprisingly resilient. connected to the broader design community.> The Business Value of Design 11

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