Design as a Competitive Advantage

New Thinking on How Designers, Innovators, and Other Colleagues Collaborate


When large organizations create new products, services, and digital offerings, often design work happens at the tail end of the process. Designers are asked to create packages, signage, and user interfaces after much of the development and problem-solving has already happened. But that approach sub-optimizes the organization’s ability to truly innovate, differentiate, and deliver remarkable customer experiences.

This series of interviews, surveys, and case studies will explore ways that some organizations are leveraging design as a competitive advantage. How can design enter into the process earlier? How can designers, innovators, and product management leaders better collaborate across organizational boundaries? How should customer insights inform design? How should non-designers be brought into the design process? We’ll explore these questions and others to help you think through opportunities to better integrate design into the work that you do.

This series was produced by InnoLead in partnership with PA Consulting, along with affiliated firms Astro Studios, Cooper Perkins, and Essential Design. 

How Great Design Will Inspire the Next Generation of Ingenious Solutions
November 18, 2021
Ingenious design is found everywhere in today’s competitive business landscape. John Edson and Brett Lovelady of PA Consulting discuss how to bake design into company culture, and the lessons designers can learn from top brands, such as Apple.
Video: New Research on How Design Can Build Competitive Advantage
September 3, 2021 | By Kaitlin Milliken
InnoLead’s Kaitlin Milliken and Scott Kirsner discuss findings from the publication’s “Design as a Competitive Advantage” series. John Edson, US Head of Design and Engineering at PA Consulting, also shares how members of the C-suite can support design.
Redesigning the Rowing Machine at Hydrow
August 17, 2021 | By Kaitlin Milliken
CEO Bruce Smith discusses how his team designed Hydrow, an at-home alternative to traditional rowing machines with live content and leaderboards…
New Data on Design in Large Companies
August 13, 2021 | By Scott Kirsner
What role should design play in product and service innovation, as well as influencing overall corporate culture and process? In July 2021, we conducted a short survey to gather data and qualitative insights from corporate innovation, new product, strategy, and R&D leaders. Here’s a look at the results.
​Three Experts on Redefining the Role of Design in Your Organization
July 22, 2021
Three experts from PA Consulting share advice and best practices on reinvigorating a company’s approach to design.
Podcast: P&G on How to Tie Design to Consumer Needs
Bringing designers in early can help companies execute on big ideas and create smoother customer experiences. But how do you get that right, especially if design isn’t baked into the culture, or if other functions tend to dominate the innovation process? This episode of Innovation Answered explores…
Designing for Global Markets at Kimberly-Clark
June 24, 2021 | By Collin Robisheaux
Diapers, baby wipes, and toilet paper are essential household products that millions of families can’t live without. But how can these products be reimagined after spending decades on store shelves? Justin Sparks, Global Design Director, Kimberly-Clark Design — both of packaging and the products themselves — plays a key role in…
DICK’S Sporting Goods SVP on Finding a Common Language with Designers
June 17, 2021 | By Lilly Milman
Nina Barjesteh breaks down the process behind building the new VRST menswear brand and shares tips on finding the right time to bring ideas to senior leadership.
Campbell’s Snacks Exec on Marrying Strategy with Creativity
June 10, 2021 | By Lilly Milman
Audrey Smith, Director of Visual Equity and Design for Campbell’s Snacks, shares details about her design process, the power of the designer’s mindset, and more.
Four Tips on How R&D Can Work Better with Design
May 28, 2021 | By Lilly Milman
David Dombrowski of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) considers being a translator between designers and innovators one of his main responsibilities. He shares four tips for innovators. 
PayPal on Getting Design Involved Early in Innovation Projects
April 26, 2021 | By Lilly Milman
Daniela Jorge, Chief Design Officer at PayPal, shares insights on testing the Venmo credit card, getting design involved in innovation early and often, and the power of design thinking in large organizations.
P&G’s Global Design Officer on How Design Inspires Experimentation
April 22, 2021 | By Lilly Milman
Why do we trust Mr. Clean, outfitted in a white t-shirt with one hoop earring, to clean our homes, or the family of blue Charmin bears to sell us toilet paper? We speak to Procter & Gamble’s Global Design Officer Phil Duncan to learn more. 
PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer on Embracing Failure
March 4, 2021
Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo’s first-ever Chief Design Officer, offers insight on the intersections of innovation and design, methods for getting to the root of customer needs.