Get Buy-in From Senior Management
If the CEO isn't on board, cultural change efforts are doomed to fail. That's why Kotchka didn't take the job until she knew CEO A.G. Lafley was really serious about design. And Kotchka has twice sent the company's top 40 executives to spend a day at design firm Ideo.
Get Outside Feedback
Kotchka put together a board of outside advisers who are famous for their unvarnished comments. "[One unit] had this breakthrough technology, and they were just sticking it in a tube in a box," she says. "[GM's] Bob Lutz goes, 'Don't waste your time. It's just more goop.' "
Understand the Design Process
Designers are flexible and intuitive rather than rigid and exacting. So to think like one, you have to adopt the design process. That's why Kotchka launched the Clay Street Project, an experiment where groups of employees spend 10 weeks learning to free up their creative spirit.
Locate Designers Near the R&D Folks
Design used to be siloed at P&G, viewed by most as peripheral and unimportant. Now most designers work directly with researchers within each unit. This sparks new sorts of innovation and makes it easier for nondesigners to understand what design is.
Let Designers Create Their Own Workspace
In a place like P&G, where workspaces are standardized, this is both symbolically and functionally critical. Creating more open, imaginative spaces for the design group was one of the "biggest battles" Kotchka has had since taking the job.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.