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DMI (The Design Management Institute) annually measures the Design Value Index (DVI)* based on a portfolio of 16 listed shares of companies that are considered ‘design-centric’. A design-centric approach indicates that those companies apply best practices in design management. The most recent Design Value Index of 2015 shows an increase in the efficacy of design-centric companies of 211% r in relation to the S&P 500. This is the third year in a row that the difference lays more than 200% above that of the S&P 500.

Furthermore, the difference grew the past years. The most remarkable result was measured in 2009. In full crisis, the shares of the 500 biggest American companies decreased. In 2009, the DIV also dropped but the drop was a lot smaller and the companies were able to preserve their positions and their value even during the difficult economic situation.

This list contains the stock-market listed multinationals. The reason for this is not the size of the companies, but the fact that because of the obligations that a stock-market listed company has in the field of the publication of the results, the researchers of DMI can collect and analyze reliable data.

Some important findings stemming from this study:

  1. The companies incorporated in the DVI are not by definition product-minded companies. The products that these companies develop and produce are not always physical products. They also innovate through new services, experiences and business models. Therefore, design is a lot more than shaping and the esthetical part of innovation and can be applied upon in the case of a service company for instance.
  2. The companies which are incorporated in the DVI as design-centric have hired many designers in the past few years, but more important is that they have also trained non-designers intensive in design thinking. They have trained hundreds of their staff in design thinking and how design thinking works in practice. Through a mentality change in the complete organization they achieve this remarkable growth now.
  3. The companies have learned that co creation with their customers is particularly important and as a result apply this onto practice, for instance SAP's co-innovation labs; GE's Menlo and the 3M innovation centers.
  4. What the DVI-companies show us is that creativity alone is not sufficient. They use the results of scientific research and tools behind design and creativity as an essential factor in their commercial success.

The article mentions a few practical examples coming from companies. But even close to home we have companies that successfully apply the principles of design thinking, like Barco does. Therefore, there is no reason for you as a company not wanting to use these principles, unless growth and innovation are not your purpose.

* DVI (Design Value Index by DMI), started in 2013, follows the value of a portfolio of stock-market noted companies that comply with the specific design management criteria. It monitors the impact of their investments in design on their stock-market value over a period of ten years, with respect to the global S&P-index.

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