Critical Analysis: Why McKinsey’s “The Business Value of Design” Report Ultimately Misstates the Value of UX Design and Design Overall
By Charles L. Mauro CHFP and Paul W. Thurman DBA, MS
Recently, there has been an ongoing fascination with McKinsey’s acquisition of design agencies and how the renowned management-consulting firm would turn a profit from such investments. One would expect such an integration of high design and management consulting by a world-class firm like McKinsey to produce industry changing insights and expertise options. However, if the recently published and highly publicized McKinsey Design industry report “The Business Value of Design” (hereafter referred to as BVD) and associated McKinsey Design Index (hereafter referred to as MDI) is any indication, the grand vision may need reconsideration. It appears, based on critical analysis, that the breathless excitement presented by McKinsey Design in the BVD release video, claiming to establish for the first time “individual design actions that leaders have taken…tied back to business performance” is not only inaccurate, but unsupportable. Sadly, given the business gravitas of McKinsey and its obvious financial resources, it is clear that this a major missed opportunity for McKinsey Design, and design overall.
Important Note: Prior to publication of this review, the authors attempted to contact McKinsey Design BVD and MDI authors, but received no response. It was our intention to seek clarification and elaboration on the findings and supporting data before publication of this review. We welcome a response to this analysis by the McKinsey Design research team. The business value of design is of value to all who engage in the theory and practice of design and design science.