Articles in #design management


Now, after many years of collaboration, I can say for sure that he’s truly favorably impressed: by design, and by designers. I would even assume that he secretly admires us, the designers.

His initially reserved and rejective stance against any member of the ‘design-species’ was resulting from, what I believe, the awareness that he could never do, what designers do, but designers might be able to do, what he’s doing – at least if they wanted to… and luckily enough, they didn’t!


It’s the time of the year so I was strolling along the local christmas market lately and passed by a craftsman who was weaving a basket. Somehow I was instantly impressed and stood still, starting to observe the activity of the basket-maker: his movements were swift and confident and he was even able to have a conversation with other observers, whilst craft-fully weaving this basket. All of a sudden he paused – he was about halfway finished with his piece – as if he felt something was not right: and indeed, the basketwork at the bottom had a different color as the one at the top, also the braid seemed thinner. So he pulled all apart and started over. Upon which an old lady couldn’t resist and mentioned how pity this was and that she’d never noticed – and that he was almost finished anyway. “Dear Madam, he replied, you have to this work with conviction!” Baskets, he added, one should only sell, if they’re tip-top. “If you can improve, you have to improve, even if it means to start all over. You cant sell inferior crap!” he finished off in a truly convincing manner and continued weaving. The older lady patiently waited till he was done and then bought the basket.


It starts to irritate me, the more and more I’m confronted with it: this title ‘design manager’.

And the longer I spin my head around it, the more this title ends up being an oxymoron – next to that it’s also not clear to me, which part in the title is the sharp one, which the dull!

meta conductor

Within some companies the design, be it for products, communication or service, seems to be conceived and executed by one single person: all just fits together perfectly. But we know that many design activities take place to create this perfect picture. Those brands are a leading example to all other companies who have understood that a well orchestrated and holistic experience across all touch points solidifies their identity, and with that creates the basis for customer loyalty. Like to an orchestra playing out of tune, customers will turn away from companies, who are not able to harmonize the ‘interplay’ of their organizational parts to create a collective showing. Remember the story of the kitchen nightmare?

conveyor belt design

The project team met and the representatives from the various departments gathered in the so-called war-room. This room showcased the state of affairs concerning the running project through posters on the wall. My contributions to the war-room, the design proposals, were marked with neon-colored post-its, which made me wonder if this meant any good…

design orchestra

Music is fascinating, specially if performed in a symphonic fashion by a large orchestra: the careful interplay of the various instruments is able to create a sound so unique and refined, it can touch the very soul and bring you to tears. Music is so moving and stirring, unlike any other experience created through man-made products.
Once I had the pleasure to attend a performance of the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra: they were citing a piece of Lutoslawski, which gave me goosebumps all over – it was just unbelievable!

They question that often pops up, seeing such a large amount of highly talented performers cramped on a tiny stage, is how they are able to play in tune and in how far the conductor is of any importance in this? Why do they need the conductor, if they can hardly see him? Why can’t the musicians coordinate amongst themselves? Why does this performance not work through bilateral communication between the musicians, and does it require a kind of ‘subordination’ under one person?
I think you might ask this yourself, or?

kitchen nightmare

Dedicated to Steve, the biggest chef of all!

There are plenty of these TV shows around, those, featuring a shrewd chefs who pimps-up hopelessly ran down restaurants. Their recipe: provide some expert advice and several well-placed helping hands, all with the goal to have each head in the restaurant face the same direction. With these measures there is hope that the ‘re-designed’ establishment will finally appeal to the taste of the customer. If this can be accomplished, and the customers are thrilled by the experience they have had, it might lead them to recommend the place to their friends, instead of discouraging them to even consider – not only for restaurants, this is the driver for sustainable growth.