Around 200 New Zealand chief executives and senior managers will gather in Auckland this week to hear some of the brightest minds in business share their leadership experiences.

International speakers at this year's Better by Design CEO Summit, organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), include Stanford University management expert Bob Sutton, author of Good Boss Bad Boss.

Adam Lowry, co-founder of US eco-cleaning products company Method, will also speak.

Icebreaker chief executive and Better by Design chairman Jeremy Moon said he visited Method's head office in San Francisco as part of a tour arranged by NZTE.

"The first thing that struck us [at Method] was there was a hundred people in the office and the whole thing was a creative, living space - on all the walls they were prototyping ideas," he said.

Moon said Better by Design, a guidance programme for large-scale exporters run by NZTE, was about creating a clear vision for a firm's future, as well as a passionate and integrated culture within the business.

"It's about leadership - so that's why we only work with senior management and CEOs, because it's a top-down responsibility," he said.

Better by Design director Judith Thompson said the Kiwi CEOs attending the two-day summit, which starts Wednesday, would learn from the experiences of speakers who built highly successful firms through applying "integrated design".

Local speakers include Methven boss Rick Fala and Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe.

Moon said Air New Zealand had become a perfect example of design-led business.

"[Air New Zealand] has gone through every aspect of what impacts the customer ... as opposed to just thinking about moving people from A to B."