Measuring the ROI of Design

It is easy to crowdsource tools and thought leadership from communities like D&I Global and garner some quick, project-level wins through the power of design. It is also a relatively affordable investment to send a few leaders to a conference, meet folks with experience in applying design in an organization, and walk away with top takeaways to apply immediately upon returning to the office. But it is a much more difficult proposition to commit to the investment required to build organization-wide design capabilities that will last.

Back in 2016, I had the opportunity to partner with design leader Jeneanne Rae on the development of our first Design Thinking event. Besides being the first to introduce me to the gospel that is Service Design, she shared with me a powerful ROI measurement tool that she and her current consultancy, Motiv Strategies, developed in partnership with the Design Management Institute (DMI). The original tool was a theoretical market index, called the Design Value Index (DVI), which measures the strategic value that design can bring to enterprise organizations against the S&P 500. In the beginning, 15 companies considered to be design-led were included on the index to prove how investments in design lead to true financial ROI. After the development of the index back in 2013, DMI has shared updates to the index with companies entering and exiting the theoretical index. Perhaps the most interesting and critical takeaways from the tool is around the DMI’s commentary and lessons learned behind the indexed companies or other companies to watch that have committed investments to design.

Beyond the index itself, DMI has developed their Design Value System to include the index, a maturity matrix and a value map. These tools, in addition to the key selection criteria identified for indexed companies, will help your organization tell a powerful story about what design has proven to return to organizations that have invested in design capabilities.

Visit the Design Management Institute to learn more about the Design Value System.