Track 5.b Introduction: Strengthening the Design Capabilities of Professional Organisations in a Complex World
In Hong Kong of the year 2017, a new academic community convened to attend to pressing issues regarding design as source of innovation. The inaugural Academy for Design Innovation Management Conference (nee Design Management Academy) attended to a sense of urgency regarding the adoption of design capabilities within organisations as source of innovation. The title of the conference, Research perspectives on creative intersections was therefore pertinent, with papers exploring how design and designers were intersecting with new business challenges. Two years later in London (2019), rhetoric has notably shifted from matters of adoption to strengthening design capabilities within organisations, thereby enabling those organisations to unlock the possibilities and subsequent benefits of design. These possibilities include but are not limited to strategic and cultural renewal, design of new processes and meaningful engagement with hard-to-reach stakeholders.
To address the complex nature of today’s societal and economic problems, professional organisations now recognize that traditional tools and approaches may not provide the required solutions. To address complex challenges, many managers and business leaders have consciously turned to design approaches over the past decade, including both public and private sectors. To increase design capabilities, these organisations have established innovation labs with designers, have recruited designers in strategic positions, and/or have started building the design competence of existing staff through educational programs, often provided by design consultancies. Yet to date, describing the resultant impact of teaching. Individual design competencies on organisational design capabilities has proven elusive.
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