Designing the Manager or Managing the designer?


Often we hear the term Manager. Often we hear the profile “Designer”. Then there are the Designer Managers, a breed fast growing with the need of the industry to self structure. Senior management and HR try to fill this gap generally from the marketing or retail side, which they feel are better equipped at handling the management activities. But is it always effective?

Creative people are generally assumed to be Right brained. which means that their creative appreciation, sense of intuition is much stronger than that of the Left brained, who are supposed to be stronger in their sense of logic, analytical reasoning and deduction.

At design school, we were emphasized to use “both” the sides of the brain. through a technique called Lateral thinking propagated by Edward Bono. At the end of 3-4 years, designers were deemed capable to think both the creative as well as the logical. However, that is not the case with management graduates. They are givenĀ  negligible training for creative thinking. While Design students are able to learn the principles of management by the click of a button through online and various other sources, its much tougher for a person with a management background to have the same experience online for learning creative skills.

Some may argue that management needs creativity and it is indeed so. Only a fertile mind is capable of applying theory to action and taking decisive action and making decisions from larger sets of problems. But for design students, making decisions and good decision is the only reality. Therefore it gets much easier for them to rely on their intuitive sense with applying logical principles.

While lots of design schools have started providing some amount of management thinking in design curriculum, the choice of subjects is debatable.

At the end, to be a design manager one needs both the gift of creativity( Right brain thinking) as well as a logical deduction (Left brain thinking) to reach solutions to problems. And that species is the rarest of the rare!