Volvo Group - Design Management

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How to involve design managemnet in company activity

Text of Volvo Group - Design Management

  • 1. Research proposal:Volvo Group The design challenge vs.hierarchies in largeorganizations Artur LipinM.Sc. Industrial Management Saint-Petersburg, 30 April, 2012

2. Structure of research proposalIntroduction overview of my interests and possibilities1.Research design (strategy) .......................................................................................................12.Preliminary literature analysis ..................................................................................................33.Framework and central concepts .............................................................................................. 54.Research questions ...................................................................................................................75.Limitations ............................................................................................................................... 76.Research methods .....................................................................................................................87.Possible answers.......................................................................................................................9 7.1. How can be creatively used design processes and methods in new ways in Volvo Group? .........................................................................................................................................9 7.2.Cases from companies ....................................................................................................10Conclusion .....................................................................................................................................12References .....................................................................................................................................13Appendices ....................................................................................................................................15 3. Introduction overview of my interests and possibilitiesOver the last years design management was under the focus of many researches, therefore thereis a large number of articles that brings different points of view of how design can be used, butgenerally the process of implementing design functions is not so manageable.My background in Innovation management and previous work experience are directly connectedwith design management in different areas. I started to review the challenges of creation andimplementation of design driven innovation and design management during writing my masterthesis in 2011. I found the gaps caused by poor cooperation between design group and groupcomposed of management, marketing, and engineering representatives. As a result a formal toolto simplify decision making process and make design process more efficient was proposed. Thetool contains deployment matrix with values for customers, design elements and manufacturingcosts. In master thesis the score was calculated and the success of concept was measureddepending on market segment. In future PhD work I want to enlarge research framework andtake into account all aspects of design management and prepare a range of tools and methods tomodernize current situation. Diverse working experience in huge companies like CarlsbergGroup, Unilever, Kone Oy provides me with vast knowledge basis to look at these issues fromdifferent perspectives.Innovation killers article of Christensen et al. issued by Harvard Business Review (2010)showed the typical challenge for innovators (more specific for designers) to protect new idea andto provide its potential value in terms of ROI (return on investments). During personal discussionwith Vice-President of Marketing of Unilever about organization of work with externalcompanies like design studio Pininfarina it was highlighted the necessity of creation online toolto visualize online NPD project in order to make the process more transparent for topmanagers(see Appendix A for more details).During research I also want to focus on implementation process of different tools and methodsfor designers because all the changes in large companies should be matched with strategicdirections and targets that additionally require internal long-run submission procedures. Forthese purposes I would like to take the Bower-Burgelman (B-B) process model which containsmethodology of integration of strategic initiatives into the corporate programs.(Noda,1996)These programs are in concordance with the companys development vision including designmanagement changes.In order to gather best practice and experience about what are other ways of using design processand how it can be fit to the total companys hierarchy small reference case studies with IKEA,H&M can be applied. The case-companies should have the same scale as Volvo Group and putinto use eco-rational design principles. Synergy created by this knowledge transfer will cause thedesign management improvements. An alternative source of design management knowledgecould be design-oriented Swedish firms like Nudie or Dr Demin.As for Volvo nowadays Digital Product Development (DPD) is used which allows to presentmock-up that replaces physical items. In addition to this computer tools are steadily replacingsketching design. For these reasons together with CAD specialists and engineers the designersshould be more effective integrated in this project process. The target is to reduce total time forproduct development, minimize the costs and improve the quality. This increasing number of 4. researches shows a growing interest in the Industrial Design Organizational Function consideringthat this topic becomes more and more important since severe competition in the market ismaking tougher. Industrial Design is important since the organization has a strong impact on theboundaries of engineering design. (Fuxin, 2005)In some situations in the companies marketers and brand managers often find themselvesresponsible for giving design feedback and making decisions on design concepts but they donthave adequate skills. The possible solution to this problem is to receive from these specialists thebrief which includes only one lead insight correlated with the company strategy about directionsof design creation. At the same time from financial point of view for design innovations it isdifficult to calculate ROI. To increase the level of effectiveness in terms of design commontemplates with transparent evaluation tools should be provided. Moreover, it is important todivide the design meetings into three distinct sections: concept presentation, the critics anddiscussion, and decision making/ evaluation. Short design research based on interviewing ofcustomers (for example 5 persons) about their future design vision and feedback can be veryeffective and useful. (Alexis, 2011) 5. 1. Research design (strategy)The strategy of research contains few steps. Firstly, all communication between designdepartment and others as well as current situation with design management will be observed (seeFig.1 Research strategy, Current situation). In order to achieve final targets several differentapproaches how to measure communication and integration between design group and otherdepartments will be utilized. In Chapter "Framework and central concepts communicationmeasurement described in more details. For these purposes business processes modeling will bedrawn (Appendix B as simplified example). Internal guideline, document workflow,responsibility matrix, KPIs (key performance indicators), non-formal interactions of designdepartment with other structural divisions with be observed. Decision making is one of theimportant parts of organization theory. If the company is going to be more design directed itshould involve new methods for decision making and argumentation. AHP (analytical hierarchyprocess method for evaluating an idea or concept based on comparing criteria) helps todistinguish influence and preference of design during decision making. The list of currently usedtools and methods will be described and their effectiveness will be measured. Type of workingmode with external design and graphic studious will be presented. Artifacts can be found indigital product life-cycle systems transactions (SAP as example) which support the activity ofdesign division. If this system is not in use, in this case the supporting software will be proposedfor launching to increase transparency of design projects. Special attention will be paid to therole of design leadership in Volvo and improving motivation program.In parallel with this activity information about design applications in other businesses will begathered. In order to make it the extra case studies with transferring knowledge and checkingapplicability are proposed. Analyzing scientific articles as well as theories and methods from theliterature the basis for design initiatives will be formed. Examples of such research result can befound in Chapter Cases from companies.Discovered knowledge will create united data pool ("Accumulator" as presented in Fig. 1.Research strategy) with new design tools and methods which have influence to the corporatehierarchy. In order to prove my standpoint I suggest variants of possible usage of design in non-standard ways and will try to argue that design knowledge and tools can be applied across manyfunctions in the organization, but these functions should be not separate but united under oneidea.It is important not only to develop new design tools and methods which can be used in new wayinside Volvo Group but also to implement them successfully. Concepts like B-B model andintegrated design management are responsible for promote design initiatives in largeorganization and advocate their value as competitive advantage. (Noda, 1996)1 6. Fig. 1.Research strategyThe final target is to create the influence to the hierarchies to use design in a more