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DMI -- History and Organization


The Institute serves primarily senior design executives and other executives involved in the development of products, communications, and built environments. Educators involved in research and teaching in this field are also important constituents. Finally, the Institute serves the general public through programs that promote an awareness of the importance of design and the nature of the design process.


The Design Management Institute was founded in 1975 at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1986, after building a membership program and becoming recognized as a leader in the profession through its many conferences on design management issues, the Institute became an independent, nonprofit entity. During the following years the Institute increased its membership by 400% and extended its networks to three continents. It initiated, with the Harvard Business School, the TRIAD Design Project, the first international research project on design management.

In the late 1980s it reorganized its efforts around three centers and an external affairs program; notably, it established a Center for Information -- the only information resource in the U.S. devoted solely to design management. In 1989, the Institute began publication of the Design Management Journal, the first scholarly journal in the field. In 1990 the Institute was honored with a Special Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America for its "creative and innovative concepts and long-term benefits to the profession, its educational functions, and society at large."


The Institute's activities fall under several Centers and Programs, which are directed toward its various constituents and their needs.

The Center for Research organizes and conducts research that focuses on current issues and problems in the work of both professional design managers and general managers. This research looks at design responsibility and strategy at several levels -- i.e., project management, corporate strategy, and national design policy.

The Center for Information operates a library and reading room and is responsible for the Design Management Institute Press. It publishes the Design Management Journal, case studies, a newsletter, and special reports and surveys.

The Center for Education organizes and manages conferences, workshops, and symposia for Institute members, schools, corporations, and other individuals and organizations seeking to improve their performance through more effective design management.

The External Affairs Program covers a complex of networks that constitute one of the Institute's most valuable resources. These networks include the membership program as a whole; special interest groups, including the International Forum for Design Management Research & Education, and the Advisory Committee on Design in Central and Eastern Europe; and collaborative relationships (with individuals, academic institutions, design councils, and other organizations in North America, Europe, and the Far East).

This document was last updated October 17, 1996.

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All material Copyright © 1997 by the Design Management Institute. All rights reserved.

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