Influential movers shake up industry relationships

And so in-house design continues to build, with Clive Grinyer’s move to Orange following on from Jon Turner’s high-profile shift from Enterprise IG to Boots the Chemists. While on paper the two jobs differ considerably, Turner becoming creative director, both are important strategic roles, bridging a client company with its customers, and both boost the standing of design in industry.

Grinyer should prove a huge asset to Orange. He has long been committed to in-house design as a force for innovation, having previously worked with Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung and with hi-fi manufacturer Tag MacLaren Audio. But as a product designer, he has also served his time with Ideo and founded Tangerine – a nice twist, given his move to Orange.

His current job as director of design and innovation at the Design Council has enabled him to draw on this experience to initiate projects such as Design Demonstrations, linking client companies with consultancies, and to promote the value of design in research. It has also given him an invaluable global overview of the role of design in business and beyond.

But Grinyer’s isn’t the only big job move this week. Debbie Dawton’s appointment as Design Business Association chief executive promises new life for an organisation desperate for change. The energy that she has brought to her own company, Design Events, bodes well for the DBA and, as a self-confessed risk-taker, she should lead it in directions it might not previously have considered.

More importantly, Dawton is sold on collaboration between industry bodies, something many have tried with varying success. Given her appointment and the impending move by British Design & Art Direction chief executive David Kester to head the Design Council there is tremendous scope – and a shared will – for it to work this time. Add to that the masterstroke by DBA chairman Paul Priestman of bringing in Anthony Simonds-Gooding as non-executive chairman – a role he will continue to play at D&AD – and the physical links are in place.

Just as Grinyer, Turner and their ilk are missionaries for design in the client world, spreading design’s influence and opening up opportunities for consultancies, so the realignment of design’s official bodies should enable the design community to respond more effectively. It is no bad thing at this stage that the industry moves look like a game of musical chairs, the collective experience of the players being a fantastic asset. It’s a question of leadership. It will be interesting to see who Simonds-Gooding picks to succeed Kester at D&AD, the biggest vacancy as the pieces come together.

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