Brigitte Borja de Mozota

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Brigitte Borja de Mozota started her career in 1969 as a buyer in the Department Store chain “Au Printemps” and as an entrepreneur for an import company that specialized in distributing designer gifts and party goods. She believes that working with designers is what made her a better manager. Through that experience she was convinced of the importance of design in management and has made it her life’s goal to try to prove, convince, and share with people the “joy of working with designers.”

During her career she has been building and giving evidence that design is the profession of designers, a profession with skills and competencies that are useful in management. This point of view has come to be called “design management”. Through researching the value of design, synthesizing knowledge in Design management through books, starting international research networks, promoting the creation of DM masters programs, and teaching in their classes, she has shared internationally her conviction that design should be seen as a strategic competency for any business, country or institution.

Any human activity needs to be managed, requiring design, project management, budget and team management, not all of which are specific to the design profession. Her aim is to define what is specific to design skills, taking the viewpoint of the entrepreneur and the CEO: “how can we improve our business through design skills, using design input in branding, innovation and strategy but also in finances, customer orientation, human capital, intellectual capital and technology capital.”

To be able to stay in contact with both design and business communities, she has always taught in both design and management schools. She is currently at Université Paris Ouest, Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, teaching Design Management in a Master in International Marketing and in both Audencia and ESSEC Business School, while director of research in a design school, Parsons Paris School of Art and Design.

Through deep introspection over the last two years she had a sad realization that nothing has changed in the last 30 years. While there has been huge improvement to develop design education and design in business and politics, basic questions remain, like…

-“Why are people ignorant of the design profession?” -“Why is it that there is a design planet?” -“Why do designers not like managers?” -“Why are managers not interested in designers?”

So her latest crusade is the launch of a new research journal “collection” aiming to build the territory of the design profession and to fill the gap between the community of researchers in design and the design professionals.

Designers tend to define themselves by the outputs of their trade divided into design disciplines. She believes that designers should define themselves by their skills and specific competencies. If defined this way, it will be easier for all outside the design community to understand “what is the design profession” and how this profession relates to all professions and functions of any organization. To this aim, we need to create theories, models and concepts for people outside the design world to understand.

She believes she can achieve this through academic research. Since arriving at Parsons in 2008 she finally feels that she is in the right place at the right time to make this change. Being at a design schools is giving her the opportunity to go deeper into what is not working between design & business.

Brigitte Borja de Mozotas life’s work can be broken into three directions: Design Research, Design Management, and Business. The chart below demonstrating the various milestones she has had during her academic career starting when she received her PhD in Management Science for the first doctoral thesis on design in business in 1985.


  1. Borja de Mozota B. Design Management. Allworth Press: New York, 1990.
  2. Borja de Mozota B. The four Powers of Design: A value model in design management. Spring 2006.

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