How to connect design management with your corporate culture?

Design Ladder is a model where companies are classified into four categories, depending on their use of design: + from no use of design; + to design as style; + to design as process, and the most advanced ladder + design as a strategy. That last kind of organisations design innovators and market leaders.

This post was part of my presentation competing at the WBPC10

If you are a listener rather than a reader here is the audio post: Corporate Design Strategies and Branding presentation at the WBPC10: Post series 8 (.mp3; 2,4 MB)

How to connect design management with your corporate culture?

In the model Design Management Staircase at the picture below there is a range presented from an immature level of design management to a level where design management is of a strategic nature and part of the company’s culture. At highly driven design corporations they have a differentiation strategy where design is at their core. Those kinds of corporations are market leaders through design innovation. If a company wants to be a market leader it needs to have design as part of its strategic plans and design planning should be a dynamic process that drives the business. However, not every company needs to focus its strategy on the role of design as a driving force of innovation. It depends on the nature of the organization, its market position, or its strategy. In some cases it may be sufficient for a company to be on the level of design management as a function or even as a project
Slide presenting stairs/levels of design management as part of the corporate culture
Nevertheless the usage of design is valuable information. In Denmark they researched their companies according to a model called Design Ladder where companies were classified into four categories:

  1. no use of design,
  2. design as style,
  3. design as process, and
  4. design as a strategy.

And in general they found out that the higher the use of design in an organization the higher its gross performance.

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Audio post:  Corporate Design Strategies and Branding presentation at the WBPC10: Post series 8 (.mp3; 2,4 MB)

Sources: Literature (updated)

Marko Savić
I’m exploring & researching the inter-dependence of the business model innovation with design thinking. You may wish to hire me as a Business Design Coach or Senior Lecturer in Design Management or as a Key-Note Speaker at your next event.


    1. Marko Savić

      @matka2000: The image in this blog post presents the model Design Management Staircase from the: Kootstra, Gert L. 2009. The incorporation of design management in today’s business practises: An analysis of design management practises in Europe. Design Management Europe: ADMIRE programme, 63 p.