Top Design Leadership Trends of 2016

As of late, businesses are shifting from engineering driven to design driven, product-centric to customer-centric, marketing focused to user experience focused. No matter what they are selling, companies have made design integral to their business.

Fast Company recently outlined five key trends at the intersection of design thinking and leadership—and how to make the most of them.


1.       Design Thinking is Core to Innovation - Boston Consulting Group recently released its 10th annual global survey on the state of innovation. Design figures prominently at almost all of the top 10 companies: Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft, Samsung, Toyota, BMW, Gilead Sciences, Amazon, and Daimler. And according to the Industrial Design Society of America, most respondents to the survey rank innovation as either the top priority or a top-three priority at their company.
2.       Design Thinking is Not Just a Fad - Design thinking is now corporate code. "At Intuit we’ve established a design thinking method, and we have 1,200 trained innovation catalysts," Klaus Kaasgaard, vice president of user experience design at Intuit, told Fast Company. "This three-day class does not make you a designer, but it does help spread that way of working and thinking into the business
3.       User Experience is Core to Design Thinking - The lines between design disciplines are blurring, because every customer touch point involves design. That’s why GE and IBM are in the process of hiring more than 1,000 UX designers each: Both companies want to invest in building design-driven customer experiences. Fast Company expects user experience designers to ply their trade in nearly all corners of the corporate world in the coming years.
4.       Design Leadership Talent is in High Demand - A LinkedIn study of SMB talent acquisition managers found that their biggest recruiting challenge in 2016 is finding candidates in "high-demand talent pools." Design leaders, UX leaders, design thinkers, and design strategists are all high-demand functions. There is no more critical role for any company to develop, large or small, than design leadership, and executives are catching on.

5.       Design Leaders Tend to Keep a Low Profile - The same study also found that companies want to do a better job of finding and attracting the people who are not actively looking to change jobs. The best design leaders tend to keep a low profile, and that those who are more boastful tend to be either newbies or posers trying to get into the game. 

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