In-house Issues: Are U Ready?

A personal goal of mine is to find a voice and a venue that will powerfully communicate to the business community (your managers and your managers’ managers) the untapped value you and your in-house design group possess. “Here in your very midst, Mr. CEO, COO, CMO, is a small nuclear reactor of creativity, innovation and design thinking that can push your company and it’s culture to the next level of performance and success. All you have to do is walk into your creative department and start a dialogue that will take you to new and wonderful places.”


Should this occur one day and your CEO, COO and CMO come marching in anticipatory lockstep to your office door, just what would you do? Do you have the expertise, moxy, presentation skills, knowledge and gravitas to wow them with design-focused insights and strategies? Would you be able to grab the doorknob of that quickly opened, soon to be closed, door, tear it off its hinges, bound through and start running with the big dogs?

Hopefully you are. I sure hear enough from you all that you’re frustrated that no hand has yet been extended offering that invitation to sit at the big table. But I have a sneaking suspicion that most of you are not prepared and I have pretty reliable evidence to back this assumption up. If you were ready, the door would have been opened without external prodding by me, HOW, AIGA or anyone else. You see, if you were ready, you would have already taken the steps to grab your upper management’s attention and capitalize on it.

There are a number of steps you’ll have to take which couldn’t possibly be covered in one post, but surely the first is to acknowledge that only by accepting personal responsibility for positive change will you be able to effect it. I’d recommend, once you’ve taken on that commitment to create change, that you buy “Switch”, “Click”, “Good Boss/Bad Boss”, “Making Ideas Happen”, join AIGA, register for the InHOWse conference and shift into high gear – rush jobs be damned.

2 thoughts on “In-house Issues: Are U Ready?

  1. Veronica

    I agree Andy. My mantra for a good while now has been – ‘Don’t tell them what a difference the design dept could be making……show them the difference the design dept is making.’

    We made a little manifesto document with some simple infographics showing the added value design has brought to specific parts of our business.

    In our case, it has made a difference. We’ve been invited in to an increasing number of management team meetings of other departments where they are beginning to have ideas for a project and want our input from the very start.

    Feels kinda good.

  2. Tommy Lynn

    Great post.

    I’d add that team must be proactive. Get noticed! Force the decision makers to think more about design. Put a big piece of art in the lobby. Do a post-launch redo of an agency ad. Get out of PowerPoint and get something printed BIG.

    Reactive = order takers. Proactive = strategy makers.