Published on : Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Design Leveraged begins a special report, a new collaborative tapped by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) and IIDA to deliver a series of studies on why design may be the single most underutilized business tool. Packaged as case studies, the first report was released this year during NeoCon in Chicago, where Interior Design spoke with former Wall Street Journal reporter Kevin Salwen, one third of Design Leveraged alongside fellow WSJ alum Paulette Thomas and Pencilbox founder Martin Flaherty.
The study begins by establishing why design is so critical, not just for the likes of Google and Facebook, but for all smart businesses with eyes on their bottom lines. “Real estate costs are rising roughly 10 percent a year, a scorching war for talent is underway (and expected to worsen) and the demand for innovation amid global competition is acute,” the report states. Salwen argues that the solution for these struggles lies in the workplace, where there too often exists a strong disconnect between between the aesthetics of designers and how smart businesses operate. And that’s extra problematic when you consider the report’s mandate that designers and clients be close partners.
To bridge the divide between design and business, Salwen says he aimed for “…immersion and a deep understanding of the culture of the company. You have to understand it in a way that is a little backdoor,” he says. The results include the success stories of Pirch, 3M, Zappos, ThoughtForm, Coca-Cola, Red Hat, and Quicken Loans—largely approached from the client’s perspective, which revealed three “universal truths”: