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Teaching Design Management in School

Updated on January 8, 2017
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Luciano Bove is a car design manager working at Renault Design, born in Italy he studied at Art Center College of Design in California.

Design Management Chart
Design Management Chart | Source

Design Management Notions

A few days ago I wrote a post on my website about what "Design Schools are Missing". In a few words, I know that some design schools are reviewing their design courses programs to make them better adapted to our times. However, I do not see a big effort about teaching some basic notions on Design Management.

Design Schools are missing a good series of lectures about Design Management! I have this conviction because, often during my schools' visits, students' questions show clearly that they do not know how a real Design Process works. They do not understand how Design activities are managed by design managers. At the same time, students do not have a real idea about a designer career, too.

The actual financial crisis showed that to find a job is a harder task today and that one solution to improve our chances to work is the type of training we get when still in school.

The Design in general and Car Design are fields heavily involved with practice and training. Today Design Process is much shorter in time than a few years ago, this means that all people have to perform in a shorter working period to produce the same quality, this means highly specialized people coming out of school ready to be integrated into a working organization.

To obtain this positive effect on students, we need to teach them some basic notions about Design Management.

Design Management
Design Management | Source

Design management Corses

I wrote a post on my personal website and later it was shared on Linkedin News and I was surprised by positive comments I received, those comments basically agreed with my position and gave several interesting suggestions to focus objectives and targets about an eventual Design Management course.

Internships are not available to all students, and not enough to give a clear idea about Design Management (even if they are extremely important). The ability to sketch and modeling like students do is great and fundamental to learn to prepare a convincing book or portfolio. However, a good understanding of Design Management and designer career's steps would complete very well any type of Design education course.

Graduate program in Trasportation Design
Graduate program in Trasportation Design | Source

ACCD new Graduate Design program

A few days ago I was chatting with two great friends of mine: Geoff Wardle (executive Director at ACCD for the new Graduate Program) and Lucian Roska ( Chair and teacher at ACCD Graduate Program for Transportation).

The interesting thing is that our subject was how to help young designers to be ready to manage projects and special projects in transportation companies and R&D design studios.

During our conversation, I was mentioning that today design studios practices are changing. We are looking also for good designers that are able quickly to work in autonomy and ready to manage projects on a larger scale. The way companies prepare their future is changing and the financial crisis is accelerating this process.

ACCD, with its new Graduate Program, seems to have taken this aspect very seriously, I believe that the school has all sort of talented teachers and staff to organize a very good course, the point is: do something to teach students how to use talent and creativity within a team!

This team will be made of engineers, marketing people, designers, product planning people this is the real challenge. Be capable to understand how it works out there in the real word.


FHS Design Management Course

The FHS design school in Salzburg Austria offers a Design course including a Design Management program.

It is probably one of the schools that have a specific course about Management, I visited the school and found it very good. Great environment and a very good program, school facilities of a very high level including all sort of labs from modeling to prototyping.

In the FHS school, there is also a small R&D Department to study new materials issue of wood and other natural materials. A team of chemical researchers making experiments on wood to create a new type of composite materials deposing also patent designs for that.

Design Management Lecture at IAAD Design University


Design Management notions are important to teach students the other part of a designer job role. It is a different way to use creativity and skills to manage projects, organize and get results.

Design Management is about how to put all knowledge together to get a good product, it is about strategy and politics. It is a normal career evolution step in Car Design, it offers several new perspectives of job role's development within the company. It is a certain type of activities that would be better explain to students before they discover it during their working life activities.

Professional Universities, Colleges & Schools should be concerned with these type of know-how practices to share.

© 2012 Luciano Bove


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      Emanuele 5 years ago

      Ciao Luciano,

      I completely agree with your opinion.

      The problem is that design schools (many of them anyway)take care of this matter only theoretically.

      Practically they do not focus on it properly: right hours and, above all, the right lecturers; I mean, professionals that have the right design management experience to very close to the reality.

      I'm trying to do that in my collaboration with DYPDC in India but, believe me, it is very hard.

      I am at your full disposal if you might need a "supporter".


      Emanuele Nicosia

    • luciano63 profile image

      Luciano Bove 5 years ago from Paris

      Ciao Emanuele che piace risentirti! We should organize a workshop in DYPDC about it! Happy to do it with you!

    • hamid79 profile image

      hamid79 5 years ago from Bloemfontein South Africa

      Ciao Professor

      Well all I can say I have no idea how much of design institution differ in their orientation in car design from source to the other myself I prefer more practicality than theoretical orientations so about the internships hows one qualify for that? thanks for the advice and an eye opener! i'm clueless to all of this

      Abdel Hamid

    • luciano63 profile image

      Luciano Bove 5 years ago from Paris

      Dear Abdel, to have an internship (most cases) you must be in design school. You have to be a regular design student, prepare a mini portfolio and contact the company or companies you would like to meet asking for internship position. Generaly design schools have contacts with industry, so they know how to help students to find an internship.

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