There’s more to university courses than ‘good old design management’

You are correct when you say what’s wrong with “good old design management” to describe the growing number of design-related university courses (Comment, DW 5 March).

The difficulty is that Brunel’s MA, which you mentioned, is not just design management.

Within enlightened sectors of industry, education and Government (the Enterprise White Papers, for example) there is an absolute belief that the harnessing of UK plc’s creative skills should be given priority status. The reasoning is to not let the next tranche of UK-inspired products slip away from us again. (The Japanese government estimates that 40 per cent of the world’s commercially important innovations came from Britain.)

Managing design, generating strategy and making innovation work requires a set of management skills and “tools” that go beyond the remit of “design management” as it is typically understood by many people out there in the commercial world.

Last week I sat in on two “audit” presentations by Brunel MA students. One project was classic design management, a review of a corporate identity for a transportation company. The other an audit encompassing product development strategies and knowledge management systems for a German engineering company. The language, and I agree with you that “marketing speak” can be counterproductive, was precise and to the point. The content would have put many professional “consultants” to shame as would have the presentation.

John Boult

Product First

London W4

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