Tag Archives: Designer in Chief

An answer why designers get a seat at the CEO table


Woowa brothers… This company (Woowa Brothers (woowa is Korean for “elegance”) developed a mobile application (app) for food delivery services in 2010. Interestingly, the CEO of this company was trained as a designer and worked as a designer for several Web consultancies and an Internet search-engine company… Woowa Brothers achieved 77.3% brand awareness at a total cost of $74,000, whereas similar services spent approximately $4 million and only reached 38.8%. This app achieved 10 million downloads for the first time in the Korean app history. Goldman Sachs decided to invest 40 billion Korean won (U.S. $33.1 million) into the company in 2014.


Woowa Brothers(1)… We collected leadership cues from two parties, the CEO and employees, and then mapped them onto Brunswik’s Lens Model, a psychological framework often used in Social Judgment Theory. Our newly adopted research framework helps us better understand the designer’s unique leadership style; unlike non-design business CEOs, the design CEO or DEO (Design Executive Officer) used a wide variety of visual cues… the DEO tacitly communicates visual (tangible) cues with employees for reward and authorization. In particular, the DEO is good at incorporating a tangible benefit and infusing a live and vivid characteristic into an environment. We found that the DEO utilizes visual cues effectively when communicating leadership.