Two designers on the BADGE Design Manager course explain their career path and the benefits of their training. Marc Moreau, design manager at Cuisines Design Industries and Nathanaël Delahaye, designer at Delta Dore, answer our questions.
Can you tell us about your professional experience?
MM: I graduated in 1994 and got my first job in October of that year... So I’ve been working as a designer for 18 years. I’ve been at Cuisines Design Industries since March 2007, nearly 6 years.
ND: I’ve been a designer for 17 years, and 12 of those have been at Delta Dore, manufacturer in energy management and comfort in homes and buildings.
What is your position in the company and what are your responsibilities?
MM: Today, as Design manager, I’m in charge of all the activities relative to product design in the company. That can be anything from monitoring sociological trends to creating products or managing outside designers, as well as working on innovation and brand identity, and even being involved in the company’s marketing strategy.
ND: My role consists of designing products internally or externally, creating product interfaces, and helping ensure the consistency of the brand image (product, graphic design, etc.) that the company conveys to the outside world.
Why did you choose to enroll on the BADGE Design Manager course?
MM: My initial training was primarily focused on practical industrial design. Over the course of my career, I gradually progressed from a purely operational role to one requiring basic management skills. Today, I have to manage the design process, working with a budget, resources, partners, etc. and I don’t always have the knowledge necessary to carry out these tasks confidently. The BADGE training program seemed perfectly suited for someone with my profile.
ND: Several things about this course appeal to me: the first is the fact that it provides an overview of the design business giving a clearer view of pathways to a management role. The second is that I also want to use this training to make a detailed analysis of the changes taking place in our business, particularly in user-centered design and design thinking.
How does this course help you in your day-to-day work?
MM: Firstly, the various modules helped me to identify certain gaps in my knowledge. It helped me gain a better understanding of some fairly complex notions, for example the financial aspects of company operations. In fact, I want to improve the format of my internal presentations so that they include a financial aspect wherever possible. Similarly, working on the thesis makes me rethink my approach to design assessment.
ND: It makes me feel more confident in my job and gives me an advantage over other designers. I’ve also acquired new methods in terms of management and a better understanding of the running of a company.
Does the organization of the course fit in with your activity?
MM: Obviously it takes a while to get used to: leaving the office, switching off your phone, forgetting the projects you’re working on, etc. Each session takes place over two days, which makes it easier from a logistical and planning point of view. The only problem is finding the time between sessions to read up on course topics and work on the thesis.
ND: As is often the case with continuing education, the workload is heavy and requires a considerable personal investment, particularly when it comes to researching and writing the thesis.
If you had to recommend this course to designers, what advice would you give them?
MM: I would definitely recommend this course but let there be no mistake, this is a real course with a demanding and varied program that requires a lot of work. The thesis is also a time-consuming exercise and anyone undertaking it should strive to go beyond the classroom assignment and produce a meaningful piece of research. Personal investment and determination are both key factors to success. One thing which is really important to me is the relationship that develops between the participants. It is a driving force for our motivation; a mixture of discovery, understanding and solidarity. We are all professionals with different careers and specialties, and the discussions are particularly enriching. In fact, I hope that in the future we can set up joint projects to create closer links between our companies.
ND: Set aside plenty of time, especially for the thesis, so that you can make it a real exercise in research and analysis on one aspect of design.
How do you see your role of design manager in the company today?
MM: The first priority will be to manage design better! Then, I hope that we can improve various skill sets in order to offer our clients (and our company) new solutions. I hope to be able to stimulate our creative potential, and I’m taking this course to become even better equipped to lead these changes.
ND: From now on it’s all about having a more global vision and offering different working methods which can integrate the complexity and diversity of the world around us.