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Design leadership is a concept complementary to design management. In practice, design managers within companies often operate in the field of design leadership and design leaders in the field of design management. However, the two terms are not interchangeable; they are interdependent. In essence, design leadership aims to define future strategies, and design management is responsible for implementation. Both are critically important to business, government, and society, and both are necessary in order to maximize value from design activity and investment.
Design leadership can be described as leadership that generates innovative design solutions. Turner defines design leadership by adding three additional aspects for design leadership:
- the difference in leading through design,
- the sustaining design leadership over time
- the gaining of acknowledgment for achievements through design.
Turner separates the core responsibilities of design leadership into the following six activities:
- envisioning of the future
- manifesting strategic intent
- directing design investment
- managing corporate reputation
- creating and nurturing an environment of innovation
- training for design leadership