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Tom Dixon has reiterated the Design Council’s call to get design on the boardroom agenda within non-design companies (DW 2 December). How might the design industry encourage companies to take the initiative?

‘Many enterprises – particularly small and medium-sized – fail to take full advantage of available design capability, due to a lack of awareness of, or lack of belief in, commercial benefits. The design industry can’t overcome this on its own. It needs enlightened allies. Business people take note of other business people, not special pleading. We must influence the influencers.’

George Cox, Chairman, Design Council

‘It’s difficult for design groups to persuade the boardroom that design is a strategic tool – consultancies have everything to gain from being successful. The best advocates of design into business are other businesses – champions like Martin Denny at Aqualisa and Mark Palmer at Green & Black’s are far more compelling to a business audience, which is why the Design Business Association is running its new Masterclass – a series of business-to-business seminars.’

Deborah Dawton, Chief executive, Design Business


‘The UK design industry is full of bored senior creatives working away at the same old tired projects. Let’s encourage them to go out and get non-executive positions in industry; the only way to get design on the boardroom agenda is to have physical representation at the table.’

Colum Lowe, Design manager, NHS National Patient

Safety Agency

‘Design groups need to talk in the language of non-design companies and provide clear, substantiated evidence that they understand that a contemporary agenda is unlikely to require nebulous creative promises, but needs hard, guaranteed results (inevitably involving cost savings while working with reduced budgets). Many businesses have bad experiences of consultancies and are understandably sceptical, but independent data showing growth and profit solely attributable to the use of design will get the ear of most boards.’

Jon Turner, Creative director, Boots the Chemists

‘I constantly remind my clients that “Return on Investment” is intrinsically linked to “Return on Innovation”. Linking creativity to profit is a sure way to get design discussed at all levels of an organisation.’

Michael Peters, Chairman, Identica

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