Design performance measures in the context of Finnish design consultancies and their client companies
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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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AbstractDesign and design management is an area which has been gaining attention – not least because design has proved to be a crucial element for competitiveness of companies and economies alike. Design intensive companies tend to outperform industry averages on a variety of measures, including stock price. Being able to justify, account for and measure business investments is elementary input for managerial decision-making. The phenomenon of measuring design outcomes is an important but young research area worth many studies. This is one of them. The objective of this thesis is to explore how performance outcomes of design consultancy work in particular could be evaluated. To do this, first, a literature review was conducted to look at the value and benefits from design and design consultancy work, how these values and benefits connect to the company performance and how they could be measured. Then, the empirical part of this thesis was conducted as a qualitative research. I collected material by interviewing five representatives of design consultancies and three representatives of companies utilizing design consultancy services. Based on the semi-structured interview material, common themes were identified and analyzed. The findings were summarized in a preliminary model suggesting operational measures for evaluating external design performance. It can act as a guideline framework when design measurement is developed into a more systematic direction in a company. The design measurement practices in Finnish companies proved to vary somewhat and be on quite a basic level. The obstacles for developing these practices were identified. These are the difficulty of separating design outcomes from the other functions that intertwine in the same processes and variation of the uses and value potential according to different characteristics of companies and industries. The research also identified directions for future research in the area.
design management, design management, design consultancies, muotoilutoimistot, design performance measurement, tuottavuuden mittaus, metrics, liiketoiminnan mittarit