Design is on the march in large organisations like never before: from the recent rapid growth of design departments in banking and energy sectors and the assimilation of agency pioneers into consulting behemoths, to the rapid ramp-up of service design teams at the heart of governments around the world. But this exciting time for the field comes with an inherent challenge: how might design managers build capabilities in their teams – the knowledge, skills and experiences – necessary for design to thrive in its new organisational role?
As design capabilities become central to the working of organisations, and business smarts become ever more important for designers to master, many design managers are taking roles as corporate educators. For those used to working with R&D and marketing departments to marshall resources and deliver design outputs, these new collaborations with internal learning departments and “change management” directors can be a bewildering culture shock.
How, then, can design managers ramp up their skills for these new roles?
It’s a question we’ve confronted more and more at Plan as we have developed training and coaching programmes for clients in a variety of sectors. We believe that a conscious approach to skill development can ensure the effectiveness of every learning opportunity and help foster a sustained culture of capability building. Looking
back at the experience we’ve gained developing and rolling out these programmes, some of the lessons we’ve learned can be distilled into a few main messages.
Here are five tips for success at building capability in design: