How to Leverage Design in Marketing

5 September 2017 16:53

How to Leverage Design in Marketing

On 28 August CSI partner Livework held a seminar on Linda Hollebeeks current work on Customer Engagement Innovation and Design

On 28 August, Dr Linda Hollebeek, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Center for Service Innovation (CSI) at NHH Norwegian School of Economics, presented her current work on Customer Engagement, Innovation and Design. The seminar was held at LiveWork Studios’ Oslo-based offices and comprised an audience of design experts, including from CSI’s partner companies LiveWorks, Telenor and EVRY, to name a few, and scholars/researchers.

Download the full presentation (PPT 2MB)

A stimulating discussion revealed a growing interest in design, which has developed into big business. To illustrate, Santos (2016) reports that in the UK, each £1 invested in design is expected to generate a £20 revenue increase, alongside a £4 growth in net operating profit. Moreover, design leads to export growth: For every £1 invested in design, a return exceeding £5 in export increases is reported. No wonder businesses across many industries and countries are embracing the power of design, and that relevant design bodies and associations are either being developed or thriving, such as the Danish Interaction Design Foundation, the Dutch Service Design Network, the UK-based Design Council, or the pan-European Design for Europe. Many Business Schools globally are also offering courses on design, and its integration with other important business disciplines and principles, including marketing, R&D, finance, etc. The following video provides a further illustration of the value of design to the business community (the video can also be found here).

While design traditionally referred to those narrow aspects of creating and developing products and services (e.g. product or graphic design), nowadays its meaning is shifting to the broader interpretation of a managerial philosophy used to create business environments and ecosystems that will facilitate business transactions, and the creation of value among stakeholders in value networks (Kurtmollaiev et al. 2017), thus fitting in with the conceptual foundations of service-dominant logic (Vargo and Lusch 2016).

This notion of interactions between multiple stakeholder groups in design is both a blessing that can take the development or improvement of products and services to new heights, whilst also generating business challenges. For example, when people from diverse backgrounds come together to work in multi-disciplinary teams, how will the team (and management) ensure efficiency in the way of working, consistency in the members’ theoretical foundations and logics, and the proper integration of diverse ideas?

These issues represent but a brief overview of the research on design currently being conducted at CSI. As a new area in business, the potential and opportunities for leveraging design to effect optimal business outcomes are unprecedented.



Kurtmollaiev, S., Fjuk, A., Pedersen, P.E., Clatworthy, S. and Kvale, K. (2017). “Organizational Transformation through Service Design.” Journal of Service Research, Forthcoming

Santos, D. (2016). “What’s the Value of Design for Businesses? Here Are the Hard Facts.” Accessed Aug 30, 2017 at:

Vargo, S.L. and R.F. Lusch (2016). “Institutions and Axioms: An Extension and Update of Service-Dominant Logic.” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(1): 5-23.