As an economist/designer I've thought about this a lot, why not go full R&D,full Sales etc ?
As a company I think you want and are obligated to maximize profits for your shareholders with what you have under the current market conditions, the risk is that some short term maximizers are long term loosing strategies, because of course the environment will change.
A corporate debt refinancing will generate more revenue than a new product line under a certain economic climate, a new product might give you an edge, but at a cost in marketing or R&D, so you better have cash reserves, and if there's no demand well you painted yourself into a corner. I think designers can more easily understand that you can design your business strategy since they are usually in contact with everyone and know how to come up with novel ideas, the thing is that to this day very few want to assume this job.
I still think the company as a Team, a competitive one is the best long term strategy, marketing,sales,r&d should work under the common goal of maximizing present and future profits, so having the best sales department or R&D or whatever even if you are not using it right this moment makes sense, it makes you resilient.
As for examples,not design but very similar, I used to work for the biggest bank in the world at the time, just after they bought the second oldest one, Sales & Trading shared the same physical space and importance,Corporate Finance ( another type of Sales but with bigger commissions) amounted to roughly the same combined weight, Research (Corporate & Economic) was a commodity at the time, but still employed the best and was given an equal stake at the corporate table,each one fought tooth and nail to outperform the other one, but were also interconnected as to make cooperation not only possible but higher in priority, the director saw to that. Other departments like IT,Operations,Legal,Accounting etc, were lower on the ranks, but still top in the industry, it was all very horizontal and a lowly secretary could suggest changes to the director and rise in the ranks in a matter of months. Within this micro organization there was yet a bigger hierarchy that responded to local market variations and global trends, the logic being that the local director was too close to the problems,lacked global insights. So in more than one occasion they would let go or drastically change whole departments overnight, and just leave a skeleton crew to later make rebuilding it easier, it was a soulless thing which I hated, but it worked, is working perfectly.
The design & software companies ( 10-50 people ) I've encountered in comparison tend to rely ( and give importance to) sales because that's the perceived fastest route to growth, but most are not in business anymore...