Designer as integrator: reality or rhetoric?

Erik Bohemia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research was developed from Bohemia’s doctoral study: Lean Manufacturing and its impact on the role of Industrial Designers in Australia (University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2002). The broader research aim was to investigate the impact of lean manufacturing on the role of the industrial designer in Australian manufacturing organisations. Thomas Walton, a former editor of the Design Management Review stated that: ‘Leadership is significant, especially as design becomes a more prominent component of management. It is perhaps for this reason that Borja de Mozota and her colleagues chose to include an analysis by Erik Bohemia that probes ‘the emergence of design as a source of new product ideas and as a potential partner for managing a product development group’, Professor Cooper, editorial chair for The Design Journal, summed up the significance of Bohemia’s research in this area, by stating ‘This study found that, contrary to existing thought, manufacturers reported that designers are not perceived as playing integrative roles. Lean manufacturers view designers as providing competitive advantage in areas such as perceived product value, increased market share and reduced product cost, more when they are employed rather than acting as consultants to an organisation. This is counter to current theory, especially in the US and UK, where most research indicates that designers add intangible value through their interactive and interpretive skills’. Additional research findings related to the research have been presented at several international conferences: Bohemia, E., ‘The difference between in-house and contracted industrial designers: an Australian perspective’, the Futureground, Melbourne, November 2004. Bohemia, E., ‘Designer as integrator’, and ‘Performance of Industrial Designers’, (two papers) at the 11th International Forum on Design Management Research & Education, Massachusetts, USA, June 2002.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002


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