Claudia Kotchka, vice president of design innovation and strategy, says the effort, launched in 2001, remains a work in progress. But beyond infusing the importance of aesthetics throughout the company, the new culture of design at Procter & Gamble is pushing the following initiatives:
• Developing inspirational workspaces. These spaces promote collaboration and also recognize that designers work differently than other professionals within the company.
• Understanding the practice of design. “Most of our research is quantitative. We love data,” Kotchka says. “But designers start with empathy. They want to know how people use a product. We need to get the rest of Procter and Gamble to see the world through a designer’s eyes.”• Establishing a mentor-up program to enhance cross-functional learning. For example, a designer accompanies a senior manager on a trip to interact with shoppers to learn what shoppers are thinking and how that correlates to design. Conversely, all designers have a business mentor to teach them the jargon of the executive suite to more effectively discuss how design can enhance business strategies.