“Basically, everyone said we were crazy,” recalls Zeitz (CEO of Puma). “But if you want to change the industry and do something completely new and innovate, research is a bad tool because all you will get fed back is perception today and not tomorrow.”

“I always describe working for Puma as, ‘They give you all the rope in the world to hang yourself with,'” chuckles Bertone (Brand Director of Puma). “Your job? Don’t hang yourself.”

Paula Scher : When you’re feeling stale, she says, the best thing you can do to shake things up is to “look at what you’ve been doing for the past five years–and stop. The thing that’s most to be feared is doing the same thing over and over again.”

Most organizations, she says, rely on a process of checks and balances to ensure that the design adheres to some particular corporate strategy–that’s the language MBAs understand. Trouble is, graphic design is inherently subjective. Who can say that one font is quantifiably better than another, or that one shade of Pantone green will lead inevitably to the destruction of your brand? Without a passionate advocate, a strong initial design may be nibbled away by bureaucrats, each eager to prove his worth with a tweak here and a nip there. Scher’s ability to persuade, she realized, rested on two things: “I would have to be perceived, first, as an absolute authority, and second, as the most powerful person to approach about design.

The above from the latest version of FastCompany articles (1) on Puma, (2) on Paula Scher and (3) on Ziba Design.