From Drawing Board to Boardroom - Design Goes to B-School

From Drawing Board to Boardroom: Design Goes to B-School

Design Goes to Business School

Businesses have learned that to reap the market rewards of true innovation, their bottom-line-focused executives must embrace the value of design. To this end, top global business schools such as Harvard, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Northwestern, and Insead are now teaching design strategy.

Leading the charge in this new collaboration is RKS, a world-class industrial design firm whose Psycho-Aesthetics design strategy has so demonstrated its effectiveness in creating measurable business results as to have become the focus of a Harvard Business School Case Study. Professor Elie Ofek of the Harvard Business School invited Ravi Sawhney, CEO, and Ingvald Smith-Kielland, VP of Strategy, to teach Psycho-Aesthetics as part of Harvard's core marketing curriculum in Ofek's Marketing & Innovation class.

Designers and business leaders have long spoken different languages and circulated in different circles. What was missing was a way for both groups find common ground and leverage their combined talents to achieve new market successes. Psycho-Aesthetics speaks in a language that's easily understandable by both business executives and design teams. This RKS-developed strategic tool translates the consumer's emotional needs into quantifiable data for management analysis and evaluation, and ultimately transforms these insights into market-building designs and innovations.

"It's wonderfully rewarding to see the lights go on and MBA students sitting at the edges of their seats as they conquer what was once perceived as a black art," said Sawhney.

One of the things that makes Psycho-Aesthetics so powerful, is that it "empowers designers to see the design through the eyes of the consumer," said Smith-Kielland. By focusing on creating the ideal end-user experience, design teams are able to create designs that connect with consumers on deeply emotional levels. This emotional connection is essential to building brand loyalty, creating evangelistic consumers, and generating viral demand.

"Psycho-Aesthetics is the foundation of some of the most impressive business results in our clients' history," says Sawhney. "Its unique power can be harnessed to advance our clients to the next level of market performance."

Due to its ability to generate design that creates business results, Psycho-Aesthetics is moving design from the drawing board into the boardroom.


  • 20,268 impressions, 49,397 clicks