Focus Scientific Research

Strategic design as value creation factor for enterprises

Hartmut Esslinger

Institute of Design

Increasing globalization which has led to outsourcing in many companies in the last three decades induced the distribution of product development-related, integrated processes of the PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) chain to a variety of companies all over the world, thus entailing strong fragmentation. In practice that means for example that complete documentation, including parameters for commercial and time-related agreements, has to be exchanged after each phase of the PLM process, because even the smallest amendment at a later date will generate costs and time delays. As a result, the companies involved in the process of product development and their employees are required to handle a huge organizational workload.
Moreover, condensed production periods for high-tech products - "time-to-market" periods of three to six months - lead to such a massive pressure of time that the smooth running of individual processes takes priority over originality - and is nevertheless often missed due to a lack of communication between the project partners. So, in order for a company to achieve originality of their brand, creativity, quality and global competitiveness a new integrated discipline is required: and design ("an industry-targeted, consumer and production-oriented devising process suitable for serial multiplication") qualifies best in this regard. Owing to the broad spectrum of strategic and integrative possibilities that design offers, trans-national, parallel PLM processes can be surveyed and accompanied within the scope of an all-encompassing co-design process. The ensuing controlling function of design could ensure sustained resource use and effective time management and at the same time drastically reduce later production adjustments.
It is the purpose of this research project to use these globalization-related problems as an opportunity to thoroughly research into the strategic potentials of design, examine their strong and week points and then newly define strategic design as a tool for meeting the challenges of global PLM processes. Therefore, on the basis of a well-founded theoretical approach, the future perspective of strategic design as a value creation factor for enterprises shall be outlined and then implementation strategies shall be developed in order to generally expand the scope of action for creative occupation in the future.