In 2007 the UK’s Design Council asked Plan to design and deliver a programme for senior designers with the potential to become design leaders. The project was funded by the Cultural Leadership Programme and its focus was on leadership and high-level management, rather than design skills.
As Executive Producer, Plan’s Kevin McCullagh developed a programme that combined mentoring, networking, and coaching seminars. A key innovation was a mentoring network which paired future leaders with leaders from other design disciplines (to avoid conflicts of interest). We then helped recruit participants from companies including Virgin Atlantic, Xerox, IDEO and Seymour Powell.
To help introduce the principles and practices of mentoring, we worked with a management coach from the London Business School, to develop a mentoring guide for both the mentors and ‘mentees’.
The coaching seminars featured established leaders, including Dick Powell and Simon Waterfall, addressing topics such as ‘Making an Impact’, ‘Presenting like Steve Jobs’, and ‘Seeing the Big Picture’.
The success of the programme led to a further request to develop the mentoring guide into a Design Council publication – ’Mentoring Tomorrow’s Design Leaders’.
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