Design Management Metamorphosis Network

This network project was founded on the principle that in a discipline such as Design Management, cutting-edge knowledge evolves very rapidly in new models of practice.

Principal Investigator: Tony Kent
College: London College of Communication

Context and background

The purpose of Design Management has been described as

to improve organisations worldwide through the effective integration and management of design and design principles for economic, social and environmental benefit

(Design Management Institute, 2008).

It is an activity that is broad in scope, rooted in an understanding of the importance of design to business and sensitive to global economic development. The inter-disciplinary concept of Design Management has gained considerable ground since the 1980s by addressing the totality of issues that improve competence in the management of design. As knowledge of the management of design has developed, the concept has come to be understood as a formal organisational activity.

The Metamorphosis of Design Management Network (MDMN) is concerned with expanding capacity for research on Design Management and moving the research agenda forward by examining the changing nature of Design Management in the new global environment that profoundly affects current economic and social activity.

Aims and objectives

The network aim to develop a sustainable model for interaction and knowledge transfer between researchers, practitioners and educators. MDMN’s first objective was to explore the changing contexts within which Design Management operates; in order to explain the impact of current economic change, globalisation, sustainability, and organisational ethics on this field. Secondly, to examine the emergent roles of Design Management practitioners; to examine the barriers to successful Design Management and the processes of design decision-making in different industries and sizes of organisation. The third objective was to reflect on the relationships between Design Management research and practice.

The overall objectives of the network are to create opportunities to identify new interdisciplinary research priorities and new models of knowledge transfer to maximise their impact for beneficiaries.


Outputs realised from the research project

Outputs from the network include:

  • models of emergent contexts for Design Management practice;
  • the development of profiles and examples of new Design Management practitioner roles;
  • the expansion of inter-disciplinary thinking on research methodologies and the development of case studies.

MDMN initiated new knowledge partnerships between network members from different disciplinary perspectives.

The project created a dynamic and balanced network to expand capacity for new ideas, with a focus on Design Management contexts and concepts from cross-industry and inter-disciplinary perspectives. It facilitated focused dialogue around a series of carefully framed colloquia and a symposium. The events focused on the following themes: 21st century contexts for Design Management; Design Management roles in current and emerging practice; creating an environment for knowledge exchange; and the emerging value of Design Management to society and the economy.

The network generated a series of new, high quality research partnerships and proposals addressing emergent positions for Design Management. Findings and insights generated through network activities were disseminated to relevant educational, research and practitioner communities through academic journal and conference papers, as well as an interactive website available for the engagement of users.

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