Recently at an meeting with senior level managers at a large USA based multinational firm, the question was asked, which of these names do you recognize: Picasso, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Phillippe Starck, Charles Eames, Frank Gehry, Giorgio Armani, and about 10 others. The overwhelming score, less than 30%. Then the women in the room were asked. The score jumped to over 80%. When the names of contemporary international designers were added again, the scores where miniscule, yet again, the women scored significantly higher. Why? Does design not matter in the America's? No, but it is certainly not as important as in Europe and unless you are a branded international design super star, you name is not likely to ring very loudly in the America's.
In a recent interview Richard Branson details some of the reasons why design matter and who he's working with. Can the CEO and C-Level executives at your firm say the same? How embedded is the design process in how your firm conceptualizes, and launches new products? And clearly, are they any where near as integrated and sexy as Virgin? Just take a look at the typical interiors of their planes, trains and of course advertising.