April 13, 2020
McKinsey analyzed 1,700 companies and conducted interviews with 200 senior design leaders and 100 CEOs. The key discovery? A few companies have empowered design leaders in the C-suite (and previous research shows that design-led companies have 32% more revenue than other companies). But at most companies, heads of design are ineffectively, and confusingly, integrated into executive teams.
“We found that, yes, people were put into place, but they’re not necessarily being put into a successful [role],” says Benedict Sheppard the partner at McKinsey Design who co-authored the study. “Design is like a strategy that seems to mean 100 things to 100 people. The all-encompassing term of design we see is understanding user needs and creating solutions for user needs… [but] many CEOs [we interviewed] are still using the 1980s definition of color, material, and finish.”