Are we there yet?

Professor Sam Bucolo visited Design School Kolding to an inspiring talk about the potential of leading by design

Sam Buccolo is a leading academic and practitioner in the emerging field of design led innovation, and has led hundreds of projects, which have transformed businesses by embedding design capability, making them more focused in terms of market position, products/services and customers. As Professor of Design and Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney, he leads a team investigating the value of Design Led Innovation to the Australian Economy.

On Wednesday 4 May, he paid a visit to Design School Kolding and a packed auditorium to share his knowledge and experiences, also described in his book ”Are we there yet”. A title that underlines that the process of change never ends.

- Companies operate in an increasingly complex market, and they are not equipped to handle this complexity. They are trained to focus on ’managing performance’ and on solving (oftentimes the wrong) problems. Designers think differently. They apply design thinking to navigate complexity, that is to handle ambiguity and uncertainty, centre on users, and use disruptions productively. Their starting point is ’problem framing’, and with that inquiring approach they are able to challenge the mindsets of company leaders and their staff and help them create overview. A lot of people think of design as an add-on but really it is an excellent tool for companies to understand and develop the core identity of their business, Bucolo said.

Sam Bucolo mentioned a collaboration in which he challenged a company to reconsider who their actual customer was. After a long process, the company reduced its product portfolio from around 180 to 4! And became more successful for doing so.

Bucolo emphasised that the companies themselves must be ready and motivated to do the work:

- Designers can introduce the tools and facilitate the process but design is experiential and you cannot outsource it. Companies need to make the transformation themselves.

Feeling inspired? Contact D2i - Design to innovate
In connection with his visit at Design School Kolding, Sam Bucolo worked with the project group around D2i – Design to innovate, which is a similar venture that works to implement design thinking in small and medium sized companies. He expressed great admiration for their work.