Session Moderated by Iain Aitchison:
At previous conferences, DMI’s FuturEd research programme has facilitated conversations about the future of design management education with practitioners, educators and researchers. These discussions have often surfaced the need to clarify what competencies will be important for design managers (as a distinct discipline) in future. But how are educators designing their programmes in practice to deal with this challenge?
Iain Aitchison is director at London-based product strategy consultancy, Plan, where he
consults for clients including Bacardi, British Gas, Lenovo, Mars, Samsung, Unilever, Wrigley’s
and Yamaha. After years spent directing design research projects in over 15 countries across
Europe, Asia, North America and South America; for the past 2 years he been focussed on
developing internal education programmes to enhance organisational innovation capability.
This experience has led Iain to further explore the the challenge of educating designers for
more strategic roles, both in the organisational context of mutli-nationals companies and in
the traditional university setting. As a result, he is working with the DMI to develop the
European leg of their FutureEd programme, advising the D&AD’s New Blood awards on their
future scope and structure, and researching new curriculum models for a part-time PhD at the
In his ‘spare time’ he lectures on design strategy at universities in Finland, Germany, The
Netherlands and UK; is external examiner for the MA Industrial Design at Central Saint
Martins London and a visiting lecturer on Glasgow School of Art's Master of Design
Currently Jan-Erik heads the BA in Design Management at the University of Applied Science (HSLU) in Lucerne, Switzerland. He also is a consultant, supporting organizations to improve effective use of design and associate partner to VanBerlo, the leading design firm in the Netherlands. Furthermore he is a DeTao Master of Design Management at the DeTao academy in Shanghai.
Before founding his consulting business in 2011, he was responsible for design management at Deutsche Telekom in Bonn, Germany.
He joined DT in August 2009 after 19 years with Philips, where his last position was Chief Design Officer for the business group Peripherals and Accessories.
He first joined Philips in 1991 after graduating as an Industrial Designer in Wuppertal, Germany, subsequently working as a designer and design manager.
His design work has won various prestigious design awards, like the Rotterdam Design Award and the IF-award in Gold. He actively writes and speaks about his experiences in the world of design and business and aims to improve the recognition of human centered design, as well as to increase the recognition of design as an essential part of all business doing.
Jan-Erik is an American born Dutchman, living in Germany and Switzerland.