DLX – The MBA the future needs

As we all now know, design-led businesses can increase revenue and shareholder profits at nearly twice the value of their competitors – McKinsey reported this all the way back in 2018. But to make this work, it’s not enough to send your business executive on a short course on design thinking; it’s about creating a new breed of design leaders who can sit alongside your C-level team and help your company grow, innovate, thrive from within and create an impact beyond short-term profit.

That’s why we created our Design Leaders programme, a 360 approach to leadership which awards our delegates with the post-nominal title of Exponential Design Leaders (DLX).

The DLX certification is modelled as the alternative to the outdated MBA structure, bridging creative leadership with practical industry insights. Graduates not only uphold the values of Future London Academy’s code of conduct but are equipped with the experience and expertise to solve for X in a rapidly changing world.

Becoming an Exponential Design Leader (DLX) includes 5 layers:

Being a Better Person – learning about psychology, motivation, resilience, high performance, self-awareness, external communications and everything you need to be a better human and a better leader.

Building Better Products – understanding the technology, data, operation, logistics and supply chains, product strategy and trend analysis.

Building Better Teams – creating a great culture, team structure, communication processes, hiring strategy, championing DEI (including Neurodiversity, which is so crucial for creative teams).

Building Better Companies – gaining insights into the business side of the organisation, including finance, business strategy, investment, legal, governance and organisational design.

Building a Better World – from sustainability to geopolitics, emerging markets and crisis communication, it is about learning how to work across different cultures while creating a positive global impact.

The programme culminates with a final showcase where each participant shares their personal and business transformations as well as their strategies for creating an impact after they graduate. A panel of esteemed judges, representing different layers of DLX – from the business to the human side – provide expert feedback and mentorship to set our delegates on a scalable path.

How we made it

In order to design a programme that fits the needs of the design industry, we needed to understand what the industry needed first. So, we went out and spoke to over 100 C-level executives, founders and leaders to have them share their experiences and what they expect from a Chief Creative Officer or a VP of Design to help their organisations flourish. Our faculty includes Michael Wolff (co-founder at Wolff Olins), Alex Spark (CFO at WPP), Phil Eaves (COO at Oddbox), Bidisha Sinha (Associate Director at Zaha Hadid Architects), Jim Prior (CEO at Superunion), James Hilton (Founder at AKQA), and Steve “Buzz” Pearce (VP of Design at TravelPerk, ex-Skype/Microsoft), Kate Stanners (Chairwoman & Global Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi) and many others.

We created a curriculum and crafted each session together with them based on what we all believe future Design Leaders will need. We took it one step further – these experts also deliver their own sessions, making it the most high-profile educational programme available. On top of that, we sit down at the start of each year with every expert and industry leader who teaches on our course to rethink their sessions and make sure it is relevant for the current state of the world while remaining beneficial to the participants and their companies.

What's next

Our Design Leaders programme enables you to shape the future rather than slot into a dead-end system. Throughout the year, we already witnessed the transformations of each person on the programme and got inspired by what they’ve already accomplished so far. And we can’t wait to see how the world transforms through their ideas, businesses, communities and visionary leadership.

We would like to celebrate the first inaugural cohort of Exponential Design Leaders who graduated this year, which includes: Konrad Billetz, Eugen Boico, Regina Bueno Ros, Michel DeAscentiis, Marin Finerty, Charles Granville, Olga Hanono, Louise Helliwell, Danah Karam, Kirill Kuzyaev, Charl Laubscher, Sandra Merino, Andrea Morales, Nicole Nissola, Tamara Parraguez, Priyah Pillay, Amin Qazi, Jose Ramirez, Jade Tan, Carlo Tarquinio, David Tjahjadi, Riz Walker, Jamye Wooten and Mohit Yadav.

Learn more about Design Leaders programme here.


Unfortunately, the browser you use is outdated and does not allow you to display the site correctly. Please install any of the modern browsers, for example:

Google Chrome Firefox Safari