Rotate your phone

Once that’s done you’ll be able to experience the Design Skillnet website perfectly.


Q&A with Design Management Professional Diploma Course Director James Hall

24 February 2022
back to blog

Wondering if the Design Management Professional Diploma is for you and how it can benefit your career or business? Course Director James Hall from Park/Grow answered the most commonly asked questions and walked us through the programme structure and content during our Q&A sessions on the Design Management Professional Diploma.


  • Who is the Design Management Professional Diploma aimed at?

The programme is both for designers and non-design professionals working in design management roles. 

The Design Management Professional Diploma has been developed for busy working professional designers and design function managers (as not all design managers are designers themselves), to empower them to take their business and careers to the next level.

You don’t have to hold the title of ‘design manager’ to manage design (people and processes), but in your role you have a need to know about or talk about the world of design –  and you might have the responsibility for delivering great results encompassing design aspects of the business.

The level is manager to director and those in roles requiring executive-level thinking. It suits those in roles such as Agency Owners, Design Directors, Senior Designers, Design or Account Managers, Studio Managers and Team Leads.


  • What is the aim of the Design Management Professional Diploma? What are the objectives of the Diploma?

The Design Management Professional Diploma has been developed to empower designers and design managers with the tools, processes and methodologies to successfully manage design as a key business resource.

The overall theme is: Learning to navigate design management and design leadership.

The programme is a cross-company programme, meaning you get the benefit of a peer network from outside your organisation, with all of the support and variety of perspectives that brings. It is practice-based with a corporate perspective and learnings are directly applicable to your daily job.

You will learn the vocabulary of design management and how to clarify the world of design, how to relate design to business, how to effectively deliver design results, how to impactfully communicate with designers, peers and management and switch between managing design and leading design.


  • What is the programme’s content?

The training is very interactive with a blend of online and face-to-face learning.

You will learn about a range of key areas, all from a managerial and leadership perspective. The programme will cover the following topics:

Design Leadership, Design Management, Design Quality, Design Process, Design Language, Design Value, Service Design, Design Strategy, Design in Customer Experience (CX), Design Briefing.

The structure of each module is as follows:







•Business context


•Core tool


Industry practice

•Real case studies

•Daily practice with design leaders interviews from across the Design sector



Your practice



•More to study


  • Who are the facilitators?

The programme has been developed by Park, a world-leading consultancy in the area of design management and design leadership, who support design leaders in advancing design into their organisations.

It is facilitated by Grow, which is the world-leading professional education provider in the area of Design & Innovation Management & Leadership.

Park and Grow understand design management and leadership really well because they work in that area on a daily basis

Grow are:

•Founders of the LEGO Design Academy and others
•Endorsed by design councils around the world
•Their tutors spend 75% of their time consulting with design leaders in organisation, so they are in touch with the latest trends and best of design
•The tools that they share are all proprietary and used in their own practice – meaning that you get exclusive access to practical tools that really work
•It works! Grow graduates tell us that they get promoted, their salary and responsibilities are increased, and their design budget goes up!


  • Who are the tutors?

The programme is delivered by expert trainers who work on a daily basis as consultants with design leaders to respond to the opportunities generated at the emerging intersection of design and business. They spend 60% of their time consulting with companies in design management. So they always have the latest and greatest knowledge, tools and tricks. Straight from practice, right into the ‘classroom’.


DMPD tutors

Frans Joziasse

Frans Joziasse is a thought leader in Design Management and Leadership, and founding partner of PARK Strategic Design, an international strategic design management consultancy with offices in Germany, The Netherlands and USA that works with clients including Audi, LEGO, Roca, Coty, Miele, Unilever, Johnson Controls, GSK, BMW and Roche.

Frans holds an MBA in design management from the University of Westminster (London) and lectures/teaches at several universities in Europe and the US. In 2011, he co-founded Grow, a leader in Design Management Education which is now delivered in both Europe and USA.

James Hall

An Industrial Design graduate, James began his design career at LEGO designing new toy-based play experiences and progressed from design manager to design director, leading and managing small and large teams. In 2010, James moved to Hasbro as Sr Design Director, and in his consultancy role now works on design leadership across many different industry segments including Bosch, Grundfos, Unilever, Bang & Olufsen and LEGO, with a specific focus on design strategy, design organisation, processes and tools.


  • What is the time commitment?

10 days over 9 months (5 x 2).

The programme is modular, with 9 core modules, in four phases, plus the final project and presentation. The delivery is structured to accommodate the working lives and time constraints of participants, requiring only 10 days away from the workplace.

The two training days are a mix of education and evaluation. They typically run from 9 am-4 pm with plenty of breaks provided (including a one-hour lunch break).

Assessment workload is apportioned across the programme to allow participants to successfully combine learning with work and life demands.

There is usually a 6-8 weeks lapse between modules and assignments.

In between modules, a minimum of 5 hours per week is expected to cover the course material and additional time is required for assignments and team projects.

The assignments require between 1 to 4 hours depending on the participant’s own working preferences and knowledge or passion for the particular topic.

The 30 mins for the one-to-one coaching in between modules can be organised around your work calendar.

Case studies and assignments are tailored to the industry profile of each cohort and the goals aligned to your needs.


  • How is the work assessed? Is there an exam?

There is no exam. The assignments are designed to push participants and take them to the next level. To attain the Design Management Professional Diploma, participants are assessed on each module via a variety of practical assignments. Some of the assignments will be individual assignments and for some others, you will be teamed up with peers.

The programme emphasises the practical application of knowledge to benefit participants and their organisations. 

There are continuous assignments throughout the course and a final project which is presented on the final day. These are real projects on real things that you want to pitch and achieve in your business and role. Over 70% of final projects pitched go live following the Diploma.

The 2021 participants were challenged (and supported!) to convince their boss or key stakeholders to start an initiative to improve ‘something’ in the area of design management in their organisation. This was delivered in the form of a ‘brief’ to their boss or key stakeholder.  

The 10 initiatives per assignment can be extremely valuable to the business as they can be an opportunity to audit the company’s practice, apply practical inputs into the business and motivate and upskill employees.

Please get in touch if you need help pitching the Diploma to your employer via

  • What are the proprietary tools and resources used in the Design Management Diploma?

The proprietary tools used in the Programme have been developed by Park/Grow. They are specific to the management and leadership aspects of Design and can be applied straight to your business context. Other business tools might also be referred to. The tools are unique to each module and applicable to daily work.

The Design Management uses a unique online learning tool –  Livebook –  where you can access all your materials, notes, learning goals, first-hand case studies, assignments etc. AND resources from previous years; in one place, anywhere, any time. Graduates will get access to life-long learning with the opportunity to keep learning post-diploma thanks to lifetime access to the study material and yearly updates on best practices in design management and leadership or up-to-date studies and on-trend new topics such as design for sustainability modules, etc. 

  • Is the DMPD relevant for small businesses, consultancies or studio owners?

Yes, the cohorts are usually a mix of small businesses and bigger firms. The knowledge and skills may seem more challenging to take in at times but will push you long-term and serve you when you expand your business.

The Design Management Professional Diploma cross-industry format is also an opportunity to expand your network as you will be mixed with designers from different industries, different design disciplines and with different roles.


  • How well is the programme recognised in the industry?

The programme is a very competitive, internationally recognised, managerial level Diploma, endorsed by design councils across the world, and alumni include among others, Fjord, GSK, LEGO, Mars, Novartis, Sony and Unilever.

  • Is there any payment flexibility?

Yes. The Diploma can be paid in two or three installments. 


  • What do previous participants have to say?


 “The course exceeded my expectations. I learned more, was more challenged and brought more back to my day-to-day work than I had anticipated. It was great. Thank you.”


“I really enjoyed the Design Management course. James is an amazing, engaging teacher and I learned so much from my classmates. I felt very lucky to be around such talented individuals and build great connections. We dived into interesting topics such as Design Strategy and Service Design, and the assignments and presentations really helped me to understand the different areas of design that a Design Manager might oversee.

The course really set me up for success in my new Leadership role! I still refer to the worksheets and the toolkit and it was an incredible investment into my career.


“The Design Management Professional Diploma was ideal – I wanted to be able to develop my understanding of management and leadership in a design context, and this programme really delivered on that”


“I’ll miss everyone I worked with on the Design Management Professional Diploma, they offered so much support. I found the distinguishment between leadership and management very helpful and the content we covered on the programme was really insightful and helpful in terms of my professional development”


“The programme provided us with mentorship, a toolkit, and time to focus on how to position design as a strategic capability within our business.”


“A fantastic investment in my career. It was the right choice. I learned a lot and met very talented people in other industries with the same challenges and different approaches!”


More information on the Design Management Professional Diploma.


Book the next Taster sessions: Taster sessions June 22nd.



Find out how Design Skillnet can help you become more creative, human-centred, and impactful within your organisation.