Abstract

This paper seeks to discern and chart the recent flux in the territory of practice in the consultant industrial design profession. External market conditions, such as globalisation and the repercussions of immediate digital communications, are evolving to create new ways and approaches to business, manufacture and consumption. These changes are having great impact upon the design industry, and it is suggested that design is moving into a new era of ascendency. Using a qualitative case study methodology, the research uncovers a distinct shift towards ‘design leadership’ in the context of the new product development (NPD) process for mature product categories. This flux is manifest in three key areas – designer remit, an expansion in the designer’s skillset, and an increased weighting in the importance of design interfaces. The notion of design leadership is identified, defined and described. Finally, the research develops a model to assist practicing designers navigate these changes.

Keywords

design profession, design leadership, design relationships, designer-marketer interface, NPD, industrial design

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

A Profession in Flux: An era of leadership for consultant designers in NPD

This paper seeks to discern and chart the recent flux in the territory of practice in the consultant industrial design profession. External market conditions, such as globalisation and the repercussions of immediate digital communications, are evolving to create new ways and approaches to business, manufacture and consumption. These changes are having great impact upon the design industry, and it is suggested that design is moving into a new era of ascendency. Using a qualitative case study methodology, the research uncovers a distinct shift towards ‘design leadership’ in the context of the new product development (NPD) process for mature product categories. This flux is manifest in three key areas – designer remit, an expansion in the designer’s skillset, and an increased weighting in the importance of design interfaces. The notion of design leadership is identified, defined and described. Finally, the research develops a model to assist practicing designers navigate these changes.

 

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