Contributed Articles

The Missing Tool in the Design Leadership Toolbox: Integrating Conflict Management into Collaborative Design

SUSANA LA LUZ-HAWKINS Lextant Businesses often face the challenge of reaching out to people in contexts that are wholly different from the world they operate in and they are regularly attempting to create experiences for consumers that exist within complicated dynamics of social, economic, political, and cultural flux. Arriving with training that encompasses everything from design research, iterative prototyping, tolerance of ambiguity, process-driven approaches, and an appreciation for wicked problems, Designers are uniquely positioned to be in roles of leadership within these businesses who are trying to create experiences for consumers. Design Leaders ARE the bridges between businesses and the people they’re trying to serve. Unfortunately, while Design Leaders can speak in the voice of the customer, drive the innovation process, advocate for deferral of judgment, and diverge and converge with the best of them, one critical skill set is lacking from their Design toolbox: conflict management. Design Leaders need to develop conflict...