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Your articles are always thought provoking, Valeria! :-)

Okay, let's examine the assumption that the CEO, business leader, whomever needs to understand design.

The job of a manager is to set the direction and goals of the firm, and facilitate the completion of the various tasks. They can do this by employing the right people (skilled in the job, etc) ... and I see where the point comes from. And I think it more incorrect than I did before!

Béhar is, maybe, making the assumption - because he's a designer - that all managers should understand design. But he mistakes the role of the manager. I think, and I could be (and probably am) wrong, but I think what he's doing is imposing his understanding of his role into a more general situation; this sweep of the arm betrays his bias.

To continue Béhar's analogy, any CEO I worked for would have to understand network design and operation. They don't: they hire me for that! (With a bit of luck, that is!) The CEO (business leader) just has to understand enough that they can see if the business is served by the network, or not. Likewise, design.

Sorry, I've got to dash. A blog that everyone said "yeah, that's right" wouldn't be much fun would it? Provoking discussion and thought is essential. We can't assume that because someone like Béhar says "it is", that it actually "is".

I'm enjoying this discussion, Valeria! :-)

Carolyn Ann

I think CEOs should understand design strategies and stay abreast (through visits or correspondence with leaders) of activities within the department when they affect major company actions or movements. An effective CEO is always cognizant of the contributions of each department to company goals and cash flow.

Regarding Design - It's one big word that encompasses so much more. Just like Science, or the mother of all human knowledge and activity: Philosophy.
The more we apply hypotheses and conjectures to meta topics, the more footnotes, asides, and contextual background is needed to provide reason and rationality.

Our perceptual differences of opinion about design, stem from its connection to two schools of thought: Romanticism (mostly form) and Classicism (mostly function).
So we have semantic differences for one, which are somewhat compounded because there's only one word for it in English, and it's modified by an adjective. German, on the other hand, has at least 2-3 words for design. In all, I'd love to go on, but must eat breakfast now.

Karen -- I also love the way he talks about commerce and culture mingling in the physical world. We've gotten so far away from seeing and employing the art of people at work. Often it is about process and system and people serving it, vs. it serving people. I'll have to check out your post and ideas now ;-)

Carolyn Ann -- I'm honored that you would disagree, it means the post was thought-provoking and I am always inspired by your knowledge and ease of conversation. If we stand back from the term CEO for a moment, and substitute "business leader" maybe we can see a different idea. Design and creativity do not happen in a vacuum, and cannot be slapped on like lipstick or a coat of paint. They need to be part of the business plan. The ultimate test of great industrial design is user experience. Is it aesthetically pleasing only, or is it actually functional?

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