To solve the world’s problems: we need to think like designers, feel like designers, and act like designers. Whether you think of yourself as a designer or not, design is what leads change. Maria Giudice, spoke about her book, The Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design today at Webvisions in NYC.

DefiningTheDEODefining the Designer CEO

A creative leader that places the importance of design at the center of the company. It’s a combination of creative problem solver and strategic business leader.

Why Do We Need a DEO?

The world is moving faster. In 1937 large companies had a life expectancy of 75 years. Today, the expected longevity of those companies is 15 years. Plus only 1 in 4 employees believe in their company’s leadership to sustain their organization.

What Makes a DEO Different?

Design executive officers are:

  • Change Agents: They lead revolutionary changes.
  • Risk Takers: They take smart risks as opposed to avoiding risk.
  • Systems Thinkers: They see patterns and can solve problems by connecting unrelated issues.
  • Socially Intelligent: They are people focused.
  • Intuitive: They make decisions based on more than just numbers.
  • GSD: They get shit done.

 5 Steps to Improve Your Organization with Design ThinkingDesignEqualsChange

  • Change Your Mindset about Design and Designers: Design should not be thought of as an expense but as an investment. Design is not a noun, it’s an active verb. Design is about radical change.
  • Value “We” not “Me”: We are no longer in the culture of “me”. A lone rock star in the corner being worshipped by interns is outdated. The best solutions will come from multi-disciplinary teams. Once you respect everyone on the team has something to bring to the table, you’ll create better work. This also means celebrating diversity, whether job experience, life experience, race, culture, or gender.
  • Live in People’s Shoes: When you experience and witness the real lives of your customers, you go beyond what you can find out in an interview. Inform your intuition by trying out the lives of your employees and your customers. You will need empathy to figure out how to improve lives in ways that focus groups won’t reveal.
  • Champion Creative Work Cultures & Make Work Fun: You’ll work 90,000 hours in your lifetime so why not create a culture that everyone wants to be a part of. Nailing a creative and fun culture from the top to bottom increases your organization’s chance for success. This can also mean getting folks to put away their devices and talk to each other. Try sharing a meal together or meeting during a walk.
  • Iterate and Evolve: Be open to constant change. Stay humble by soliciting feedback from your organization continuously. Embrace failure as a way of learning.

*Bonus Tip* Treat People Equally

The success of all businesses lie in people and how we can make powerful connections to each other. When people feel like they’re being treated as equal, great things can happen. Instead of treating people based on their status, focus on being present with the people you encounter every day.