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Org Design for Design Orgs by Peter Merholz, Kristin Skinner

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Chapter 10. Parting Thoughts

IN MID-2016, AS WE put the finishing touches on this book, the field of design finds itself at an inflection point. The spread of software has driven the spread of design, but as companies embrace design, they realize it contains so much more potential than just making software easier to use. The challenge for designers is to embrace this window of opportunity, and to establish themselves as core to business.

We know that the models and frameworks proposed in this book are not achievable overnight. They are meant to serve as milestones, north stars, and guidelines for those embarking on the journey of making their design teams as effective as they can be. Because every organization is different, so are the paths they’ll need to take.

Managing such change will be difficult, and will often not feel worth it. It is easier to maintain the status quo, even if that means design doesn’t realize its potential. But don’t give up! If old-guard companies like IBM (IBM! “Big Blue!”), SAP, and GE invest in design and invite it into the C-suite, then it’s hard to understand why this couldn’t happen anywhere. There is greater promise for design now than at any time in its history, and dedicated leaders are needed to turn that promise into reality.

The Untapped Opportunity for Design

Key to this promise is a curious and underappreciated by-product of the “designer/developer ratio” discussed in Chapter 6, a tool used to ensure an appropriate balance between these roles. ...

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