fbpx 70 406 Design leadership | Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo


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70 406 Design leadership

Full course name in English: 
Design leadership
70 406
Syklus 2
2021 Vår
2021 Vår
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Monika Hestad

Passed foundation level courses (BA-level) at AHO or equivalent, 180 ECTS.

Om emnet

In this course we are unpacking what design leadership is and why it is important for organisations. Design, and in particularly design thinking, have gained attention on strategic management levels. Some of the promises are that a designerly approach in the innovation process can help companies in digital transformation, and to develop proposals that meet consumers’ needs, dreams and wants; to name a few applications.

Design becoming part of the management discourse raises several questions. What characterises design leadership? How does design thinking differ from traditional management thinking? How can a designerly way of thinking and working contribute to the top management of an organisation?  What are the present hinderances where designers come up short in a management role?

The course is explorative in its nature. We have so far only scratched the surface of what design might contribute with in a management context. Therefore, the aim of the course is twofold: first to unpack current knowledge within the field of design leadership, but also to contribute to the further development of it.



Understanding the current state of design leadership and role of designers in management positions

Basic understanding of traditional management thinking and how a design approach may differ



Improved qualitative research skills

Improved design research skills

Improved collaborative skills


General competence

Developed an understanding of opportunities and challenges of design leadership  

Apply the students’ design skills in strategy and business development.


Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

The course is a combination of lectures, discussion groups, workshops and group work. In the first part, the students will explore a wide range of topics within

management, design leadership, design thinking and strategy. The course is explorative and follows a design research structure that has some key stages:

Part one: Understand and define

Mapping design leadership in literature and in the industry. Developing research approach and conducting primary research. Share insights with class through mapping exercise.

Part two: In-depth research and conceptualising

Narrowing scope and exploring key concepts in teams. Developing new concepts and methods that could be brought into the management discourse. Conceptualise the insights.

Part three: Testing and sharing

Planning the conference and making sketch-models of ways of sharing insights.

The course will culminate in a design leadership conference where the students present designerly approaches to strategy and business development.


Obligatorisk pensum:

Maeda, John. 2011. Redesigning Leadership. Cambridge, Massachusetts. The MIT Press


Other (will be updated)

Hestad, Monika; Grønlig Anders and Rigoni Silvia. 2017. The Little Booklet on Design thinking: An introduction. London. Brand Valley Publications.


Lewrick, Michael, Link Patrick and Leifer, Larry. 2018. The Design thinking playbook: Mindful digital transformation of teams, products, services, businesses and ecosystems. New Jersey. Wiley.


McKeown, Max. 2011. The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results, 1st ed, London: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.


Turner, Raymond. 2016. Design Leadership: Securing the Strategic Value of Design. London & New York. A Gower book/ Routledge.


Diverse online:

Horn, Robert. 2018.

If You Don’t Embrace Design as a CEO, You Risk Becoming a Dinosaur. Fortune.

Found at: http://fortune.com/2018/03/07/design-leadership-ceo/

Fast Company, business magazine: https://www.fastcompany.com

Harvard Business Review, business journal: https://hbr.org

Design Management Institute: https://www.dmi.org


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