Learningreflection learning and reflection are

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Learning/Reflection Learning and reflection are attitudes as much as activities. Learning is the basis for change and renewal; reflection allows thoughtful growth. People who learn and reflect tend to deepen their investment in and dedication to their work. All of these benefits are responsible for making people care about their work and the mission of the organization. Through these experiences, people can realize more meaningful professional lives and the organization can become more productive and sustainable. 1 Qualitatively, it is easy to see the value that is intrinsic to design practice. But the intrinsic value is difficult to measure in quantitative terms. How do these benefits result in return on investment (ROI) for the organizations that commit to realizing them? Return on investment measures around design are often difficult and contentious for two reasons. Firstly, positive impacts do not always have direct measures in dollars. While many extrinsic benefits are easily measured, such as increased sales and market share, customer loyalty, and brand strength, many intrinsic benefits are harder to measure. A new product design that allows us to expand our customer base or product range is economically measurable. When employees feel happier with their work because of increased engagement or accountability, for example, that may translate into both measurable and non-measurable benefits. Productivity and employee retention may increase, which we can easily measure, but it might be harder to gauge the value of employee satisfaction or shared organizational vision as a quantifiable value. Design Practice in Organizations 191 Secondly, many intrinsic benefits are realized slowly, over time, making them harder to identify and measure in a landscape that is constantly shifting. Where we might be able to measure profits easily over a six- to twelve-month time period, many of the intrinsic benefits can take several years to bear recognizable fruit. It is the fact that these benefits are often a longer term investment in company culture that makes them a harder sell. If the average tenure of a CEO is six years,2 what incentive is there to commit to a programme that builds longer-term value for the organization? And to what degree is culture valued in organizations focused on short-term returns? Those of us who work in design full time are quick to point out the immense personal rewards and satisfaction to be found in design practice, and we are quick to scorn corporate types who choose what we see as less interesting or meaningful types of jobs. But there is no inherent reason why working for a large organization necessarily has to be a mind-numbing and soul-destroying experience. That we accept this tradeoff shows a poverty of thinking around the potential for organizational
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life. The operational systems that are required to keep a large organization running efficiently have a tendency to institutionalize and dehumanize people s daily activities, but design practices can help to return organizations to a human-level scale. While these
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