DLN Community,

First, and most importantly, we hope that you, your families, and colleagues are safe and healthy. We are in a time of humanitarian and economic crisis. But this is also a time to be grateful for our community. We know that we will get through this. Our objective as an organization is to speak “principal to principal,” sharing insights and knowledge that we have gained by talking to other design industry leaders, and analyzing closely the data available to us.

We are trying to look at the whole picture, collecting information we can rely on, understanding the human toll, and seeking out solutions for our members that will result in a positive response.

While this crisis feels like no other, we recall that during the worst of the most recent financial crisis, connecting with fellow members to gain insight and support helped many of us to survive the worst—and ultimately thrive. We learned the importance of being more closely connected to colleagues than ever. In fact, during this period the DLN travelled to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to both support that city and to learn from the rebuilding process. Attendees at that Summit shared their challenges, but also celebrated our ability to come together to learn from each other and imagine a better world to come.

While the uncertainty is beyond unsettling,  we are all in this together. With no one around the world spared its impact, we can take some comfort knowing that the resulting challenges and solutions will apply to all of us. The following reflects our analysis and approach today:


  • Large banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are projecting Q2 GDP to fall between 15%-30%. The economic challenges will be significant (they are projecting recovery later in the year).
  • Design trade-industry factories in key production centers like Italy, France, and parts of the US are closed now, and those in Asia are working to restart with limited access to resources. All of this impacts industry supply chains and will lead to potential delays in shipments.
  • Markets have fallen significantly, impacting the spending power of our target market until they start to recover—which they will.

Short Term Focus:

  • Take all measures to ensure health and safety as we navigate the peak period.
  • Develop a plan for clear and frequent communication with employees that demonstrates empathy and also prepares them for the actions you will need to take for your business.
  • Project your cash flow based on the status of your existing projects and future pipeline to determine your risk profile.
  • Make financial decisions quickly, based on your own stress testing.
  • Use all of the remote-working tools available to stay in touch with clients, vendors, and contractors.

Looking to Move Forward:

  • Protect your top people, so you will be in the best position to rebound.
  • Find out from your vendors where they have inventory available and what items will be delayed, so you can anticipate issues and make changes to orders as needed.
  • Plan future client outreach and marketing soon, looking for opportunities and cultural shifts that may arise from the crisis.
  • Celebrate wins, take pleasure in work that is not crisis-based, and engage with the broader design community to encourage our shared future successes.

In the spirit of our community, please feel free to share with us any ideas, information, and resources that you believe might be of value to DLN Members and Partners by emailing membership@designleadershipnetwork.org. This is a temporary disruption, and together we will persevere and find silver linings.

All the Best,

The DLN Team


Business Response

McKinsey & CompanyCOVID-19: Implications for Business

Business of HomeHow Will My Small Firm Weather the Coronavirus Storm?

Bloomberg Business – VIDEO: Economic State of Real Estate and Hotel Industries

Government Response

The Wall Street Journal A Guide to State Coronavirus Lockdowns

The New York Times – Who Qualifies for Paid Leave Under the New Coronavirus Law

The DLN – PDF: Summarized Points of Congress’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Medical & Mental Health Information

The New York Times – What Are the Symptoms?’ ‘Is there a Cure?’ and Other Coronavirus Questions

National GeographicHow to deal with your kid ‘colleagues’ during coronavirus shutdowns

The New York Times – We Need Social Solidarity, Not Just Social Distancing

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management

What’s Next & Where Do We Go From Here

The Wall Street Journal – Will the Coronavirus Bring the End of Globalization? Don’t Count on It

artnet News – How Is Art Basel’s Experiment With Online Sales Going?

Politico – Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How.

Business Insider Scott Galloway: The coronavirus is ‘our generation’s test’