The professions of business and design are based in distinct modes of knowledge and process but are interdependent in practice. The capacity of the designer to innovate can be negatively impacted if his/her understanding for design contribution is misaligned with that of the business manager. In order to address the way in which design is perceived by those who procure design services, there is a need to first illustrate the ways in which their perception deviates from that of the designer. This paper presents research into design understanding as a comparison between design professionals and business managers. Data for the study is obtained using both ethnographic and design research methods. Results demonstrate issues associated with understanding the complex nature of design activity through a quantitative, linear approach versus an iterative, exploratory process.
Keywords: Design Research, Design Process, Perception, Procurement, Business Management, Understanding