Attila Cosovan
is associate professor at Corvinus University of Budapest, Department of Marketing, Media and Designcommunication, formerly associate professor at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. He is a designer, co-founder of coandco.cc, a platform for the global importance, social responsibility and possibility of design thinking and strategy, and winner of several national and international awards such as the Red Dot Design Award. Hes member of the Hungarian Design Council (2012-2015) and member of the Design Terminal Advisory Board.
Dóra Horváth
is associate professor at Corvinus University of Budapest, head of the Department of Marketing, Media and Designcommunication. Her areas of research include product design and innovation, diffusion of new technology in personal communication, co-creation, projective research techniques and postmodern approaches of marketing. Her areas of education further involve strategic and creative planning of design management and communication skills.

Designcommunication and Leadership

If leaders would approach emerging problems like designers, many products, services and procedures would become more functional, and would be able to create long lasting values for the organisation and society. For that reason we present a novel integrative education concept, the DIS.CO EXPERT leadership program. It is built on the interaction of different disciplines and the collaboration of different professions, and places business professionals into designer and artist roles, while designers and representatives of the creative disciplines are enforced to become leaders.
The program provides the opportunity to fulfil ones career/ entrepreneurial ambitions by combining the emotional thoughts of a designer or artist with the rational economist socialized in positivist marketing academic rhetoric (Brown, 2012). As a methodology (course material and project) the program works since 2001, a degree level is planned from September on at Corvinus University of Budapest.

Designcommunication and Leadership

We use the compound noun written in one word designcommunication because we want to refer to the patented expression and phenomenon: communication integrated into development, following the Hungarian Gazette for Patents and Trade Marks (113. no. 12. / I., 2008.12.15. Registration number: 196961)

Designcommunication is not simply a function or a form, but content, message, style and culture together. Designcommunication is an approach that strives to connect design, everyday economies, strategic communication and their real status. Communication in this form is created simultaneously with research and problem solving and is coded into the development of the given product, service or process. One of humans capability, opportunity and at the same time obligation is to plan or to create with respect to the interaction of societal invariables (permanent elements) and variables. Our capability to design determines the triplicate of Survival Subsistence Development. Creation is the coefficient of societal invariable (permanent) and variable elements. Therefore, design, communication and their business alternative design management area result of a differentiated and integrated, in other words, complex design thinking process (Csikszentmihalyi, 1998; Brown, 2008).

If we consider cultural and industrial evolutions of the past, which are the developments and professions that stood the challenge of time? We may conclude that all developments dependent on technology were subject to dramatic change. Designcommunication searches for invariables (permanent elements) that are independent of technology while making use of technology dependent variables. Design and its communication are not (only) about products made in standardized production.

There is a particular problem standing behind the design of each object, product, service or procedure. But this problem is often not formulated in the first phase of the design process, but after the designs finishing. But the act of formulating the design problem already comprises essential communication codes. A good object, product, procedure is able to communicate adequate from the beginning.

Thus, design is not equal to form-giving. Form-giving is one component of the holistic human constant that we call design. Design therefore is design-art, creative planning, and creative behaviour. This is complemented with communication, which is a creative way of connecting both a level of self-reflection (inner conversation) and human interaction phenomenon. Designcommunication thus is the result of the differentiated and integrated i.e. complex approach of the designer: It is the formulation of a new domain through which creative behaviour becomes the general approach. Design is a job, a profession, while in reality, it should be and also could be more, if design as information node was in line with its communication (Cosovan, 2015, 98). It is in line with Herbert Simons words Engineering, medicine, business, architecture, and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent not how things are but how they might be in short with design (Simon, 1996, p. xii, Sciences of the Artificial). A leaders responsibility is to act with responsibility, so as to turn current situations and capabilities better or preferable. In that sense, a leader is a form giver, who shapes the organisation and its economic processes.

DIS.CO EXPERT the Education Concept

Todays schools of management often lack the vision of a leader who brings in new ideas and content in response to apparent opportunities. The missing element is an image of the manager as an idea generator who gives form to new possibilities with a well-developed vocabulary of design. Managers as form-givers care deeply about the world that is being shaped by a business or organisation (Boland and Collopy, 2004, 8). Thus, management schools have to integrate design methods in their future managerial programs. The other way round, design schools have to consider the same questions and make their students capable of becoming part of top management (Buchanan, 2004, 54). Furthermore higher education could benefit from using successful business models in their organisations and management, but also in their educational approaches.

The DIS.CO EXPERT program is designed on this base as a comprehensive, integrated (trans-disciplinary and inter-professional) approach, which contributes to connecting research, problem-identification, and design with respect to the needs of the current customer, producer, seller, consumer and designer/ creator. It is an educational leadership training program, independent of previous qualification, where economists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, designers study together and learn from each other. Participants will solve differentiated and integrated, complex leadership tasks. They will experience that design and creative capabilities are leadership opportunities, but also imply managerial responsibilities (Zaleznik, 1992).

The program connects established leadership theories and managerial concepts with an entrepreneurial creative approach. Besides acquiring theoretical base, participants work on a 4-semester-long entrepreneurial project on new operation models, systems, products, services or methodologies, or reconsidered current practices and conventions. Boland and Collopy as seminal authors of managing as a designing concept (2004) have stated that the key to todays successful operation is to approach emerging corporate problems as designers would, which would ensure several more functional solutions and create long lasting value for society.

With respect to our current cognitive knowledge we set up the following relations for the economic and social philosophical background of the DIS.CO EXPERT Integrated and differentiated: namely complex MA / MSc + DLA / PhD program:




and its teachable methodology: DESIGNCOMMUNICATION (Cosovan, 2009)

The program is structured on the basis of skill acquisition targets and process objectives, not on separated courses. Teaching takes place by the interactive collaboration of numerous instructors from different disciplines: economics, philosophy, sociology, management, marketing, media, art, cultural history and design. The teaching method itself is a demonstration of a successful enterprise today necessarily a collaboration of different disciplines. Participants will acquire new capabilities and skills of designcommunication based management: overviews of the complete product life cycle, systems of in-depth collaborations and parallel development. Current knowledge will be broadened by art and design initiated connections where leadership opportunities of creative value creation will be highlighted with respect to the economies and societies of the digital age.

4. Closing remarks

Designcommunication represents a connection or a bridge between different disciplines and discourses, phenomena of society and economy. Designcommunication creates a real time connection among classroom and digital learning, research and entrepreneurship. The multitasking generations Y and Z painfully have to experience that they have to study at the expense of work practice and work at the expense of their study time, so we have to admit the time factor is not yet multitasking compatible. Our objective is not to increase todays pace of living, instead we strive to optimise career paths . Where we do not differentiate between differentiated and integrated ways of thinking, where there is time for studying, research, work (career and entrepreneurship), cooperation, and individual identities, there will as well remain time for relaxing, taking inside and outside perspectives and become better leaders.

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  • Cosovan, A. (2015): The Sustainable Identity of Clichés. In. Kinga German (ed): Sustainable Identities. Published on the occasion of the exhibition at the 56. International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, Hungarian Pavilion, 9 May 24 November, 2015. Exhibiting artist: Szilárd Cseke. First Edition April 2015, 94-99.
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