There is a lot we can learn from the Japanese government's approach to promoting the topic of Design amongst businesses. Three years ago, Japan released a report titled 'Declaration of Design Management', which has sparked conversation on how and why Design should be viewed as an asset in a company. The report outlines the role Design can play in enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese companies in global markets. Since then, the number of leaders in the position of Chief Design Officer, and the topic of Design as an essential investment, has increased.
Why is Design an asset to an organisation?
To find out, Cultibase and Designing invited two people who have contributed significantly to the promotion of design management in Japan for a dialogue. One was our Goodpatch Founder and CEO, Mr Naofumi Tsuchiya.
Here's a translated excerpt from this conversation where Mr Tsuchiya shares his thoughts on how investment in Design should be categorised as an asset, not a cost. To read the original, click here.
Mr. Naofumi Tsuchiya, CEO of Goodpatch
─ Tsuchiya-san, if you were a member of the meeting to formulate the "Design Management Declaration," what would you include in the declaration?
Tsuchiya-san: Well, I would like to add a note: "Design is an asset and should be incorporated into the Balance Sheet". For example, design assets that support the brand in the medium to long term and mission, vision, and values formulated with the help of designers. All of these investments in Design can be categorised as costs, but I keep saying that they are assets.
Creating a mission doesn't immediately bring about change within the company. It takes years after the formulation to start seeing the effects. However, the mission, vision, and values are assets, or "goodwill," that will benefit the company for years to come.
Design as an investment in emotion
I've always said that investing in Design is investing in people's emotional value. In recent years, quantification and visualisation of human capital have become a trend in companies in the U.S. and elsewhere. Human capital is an essential indicator in a company, and the value of this asset is increasing.
From the perspective of making the most of human capital, the mission, vision, and values created by the power of Design are indispensable pieces, aren't they? In this sense, allocating resources to design is an investment that will improve the value of human assets over the medium to long term.
If you liked reading about Mr Tsuchiya's perspective, you might enjoy his IPO Founder Letter here.
Text by Ryotaro Washio, Editing by Masayuki Koike, Photography by Shunsuke Imai. Translated with DeepL.