Mads Nipper on the value of design

Mads Nipper has given his inaugural lecture as affiliate professor at Design School Kolding. As long-time director of LEGO and outgoing chairman for the Design School Kolding’s Board of Directors, he knows the value of design better than anyone.

Under the headline “The Value of Design – from a LEGO Perspective” Mads Nipper gave the audience a fascinating view into what design means to LEGO products and LEGO’s bottom line.

-That you have a great product and a great brand doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and relax. You always have to be thinking about the “next generation” and that is a design challenge! Market analyses and having an awesome brand doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have employees who dare and are qualified to ask critical questions and challenge conformity, he said.

Design is good business and good sense
An effective strategy for a company will often be a design process. Because there are no linear answers to complex problems, Mads Nipper believes. It is not about ideas and products but about all that in between – about process. About challenging the trivial in favour of new meaning. About knowing and really understanding users and a given situation, like Design School Kolding does in the project ”Designing Relations”. About developing prototypes that enable you to learn and evaluate. And about being systematic. Indeed radical innovation requires you to be extremely systematic.

-Let me put it like this: Be ambitious and open-minded, understand the situation and the user, and feel your way forward – systematically, he said.

Mads Nipper believes that with design thinking we have a unique opportunity to change the world and create new value and meaning.

– Most companies focus on how to make the least negative impact on the Planet. I like to turn this around and ask: How do we create maximum positive impact? Design thinking provides the answer because design can inspire people to come up with the right solutions, he said.

Through 23 years at LEGO, Mads Nipper has helped design the inspiration that makes play irresistable to children and enable them to build our common future. Now he is ready for new challenges: to inspire a greener and better world as CEO and Group President for Grundfos from 1 August. And of course to inspire Design School Kolding as affiliate professor.

Motivation for the appointment
In the motivation for appointing Mads Nipper as affiliate professor it says that as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mads Nipper has transformed Design School Kolding from an arts and crafts school into a contemporary, university level design school. Mads Nipper contributes knowledge both in terms of strategic management and design, and Design School Kolding wishes to continue a close collaboration with Mads Nipper.