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Making the Case: Numbers in Context

You have the tools to measure design’s performance. With them, you’ve generated loads of data. How do you frame those results, building your case for design’s significant impact on business?

We know that the current economic climate sometimes overemphasizes financial metrics. And we know that only focusing on the numbers does not provide a comprehensive view of an organization or individual project—that value is generated in multiple interconnected ways. To paint a broader picture of the creative currency you exchange, you need a framework to put those numbers in context. The following examples are interrelated and a well-vetted starting point for your own investigations.

Balanced Scorecard + The Four Powers of Design

Balanced Scorecard1(BSC) is a widely adopted management and strategic planning tool created by Drs. David Norton and Robert Kaplan (of the Harvard Business School). Used as a framework for evaluating performance, BSC combines financial metrics, like those discussed previously in this chapter, with other types of measures to provide a comprehensive understanding of a company or organization’s overall effectiveness.

Whether applied to individual projects or to a company or organization as a whole, BSC analyzes performance through four essential lenses, encouraging custom metrics for goals in each category. The framework is based on examining the subject through these perspectives:


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Brigitte Borja de Mozota’s Four Powers of Design value model aligns design activities with the popular Balanced Score Card method used to evaluate business success. Her model provides designers with a framework for assessing their own work, and creates a common ground between creative teams and business managers. The Four Powers of Design model is shown here in relationship to the Balanced Scorecard categories.




According to the Four Powers of Design and Balanced Score Card, when value is created in one area it also generates value in others.

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