Contract - What is the Future of Design?

design - essay



What is the Future of Design?

29 March, 2010

-By Jennifer Thiele Busch


At this fateful juncture in our social and economic history, when everything from personal values to business processes is up for reevaluation, there is renewed talk of the potential for design thinking to chart a more enlightened future for corporate America and beyond. As defined by Tim Brown, president and CEO of design consultancy IDEO and a leading proponent of the concept, design thinking (which is not a new idea) is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

Far from being a fluffy creative approach to business as some have challenged, design thinking, at least by Brown’s definition, specifically marries the concepts of creativity and innovation with the practical notions of technological feasibility, customer value, and market opportunity. This brings to mind noted environmentalist Paul Hawken’s 1994 book, The Ecology of Commerce, in which he emphasizes the point that environmental sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive concepts. Neither should strategic, innovative, long-range thinking and profitability be mutually exclusive ideas, and to successful designers, they are not.

From the Wikipedia definition, design thinking involves a seven-step process of defining, researching, ideating, prototyping, choosing, implementing, and gathering feedback around any given challenge or opportunity. And recently, a prestigious group of design thinkers came together at the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai (November 2009) to further establish that solutions to complex global problems derived from design thinking should be transparent, inspiring, transformational, participatory, contextual, and sustainable1—all qualities that commercial interior designers and architects routinely embrace in their work.

Clearly the business world has something valuable to learn from designers, and there are encouraging signs that design thinking is gaining momentum in business. Highly regarded programs of study include Stanford’s d.school, which uses design thinking to drive multidisciplinary innovation, and California College of the Arts’ MBA in Design Strategy, which unites the studies of design, finance, strategy, entrepreneurship, meaning, and sustainability, not to mention a growing list of similar educational opportunities around the world. The design community, then, is already driving positive changes in the business community, beyond the ability to create beautiful and functional space. When the intersection of business thinking and design thinking is complete, acceptance may usher in a new era of value—thus new revenue streams—for the design consultant. 

Whether or not that comes to pass, there are many other important opportunities for designers to claim a leadership position in the eyes of business and society at large, not least of which are in the areas of sustainability and social responsibility. These and other forces that we believe will shape the profession for years—even decades—to come are touched upon with expert commentary in our Essays on the Future, a bit further on in this issue, where our thoughts turn from reflections on the past to observations on the future, as any significant anniversary demands. 

1 From Tim Brown’s blog http://designthinking.ideo.com/, November 29, 2009 entry


What is the Future of Design?

29 March, 2010


At this fateful juncture in our social and economic history, when everything from personal values to business processes is up for reevaluation, there is renewed talk of the potential for design thinking to chart a more enlightened future for corporate America and beyond. As defined by Tim Brown, president and CEO of design consultancy IDEO and a leading proponent of the concept, design thinking (which is not a new idea) is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

Far from being a fluffy creative approach to business as some have challenged, design thinking, at least by Brown’s definition, specifically marries the concepts of creativity and innovation with the practical notions of technological feasibility, customer value, and market opportunity. This brings to mind noted environmentalist Paul Hawken’s 1994 book, The Ecology of Commerce, in which he emphasizes the point that environmental sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive concepts. Neither should strategic, innovative, long-range thinking and profitability be mutually exclusive ideas, and to successful designers, they are not.

From the Wikipedia definition, design thinking involves a seven-step process of defining, researching, ideating, prototyping, choosing, implementing, and gathering feedback around any given challenge or opportunity. And recently, a prestigious group of design thinkers came together at the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai (November 2009) to further establish that solutions to complex global problems derived from design thinking should be transparent, inspiring, transformational, participatory, contextual, and sustainable1—all qualities that commercial interior designers and architects routinely embrace in their work.

Clearly the business world has something valuable to learn from designers, and there are encouraging signs that design thinking is gaining momentum in business. Highly regarded programs of study include Stanford’s d.school, which uses design thinking to drive multidisciplinary innovation, and California College of the Arts’ MBA in Design Strategy, which unites the studies of design, finance, strategy, entrepreneurship, meaning, and sustainability, not to mention a growing list of similar educational opportunities around the world. The design community, then, is already driving positive changes in the business community, beyond the ability to create beautiful and functional space. When the intersection of business thinking and design thinking is complete, acceptance may usher in a new era of value—thus new revenue streams—for the design consultant. 

Whether or not that comes to pass, there are many other important opportunities for designers to claim a leadership position in the eyes of business and society at large, not least of which are in the areas of sustainability and social responsibility. These and other forces that we believe will shape the profession for years—even decades—to come are touched upon with expert commentary in our Essays on the Future, a bit further on in this issue, where our thoughts turn from reflections on the past to observations on the future, as any significant anniversary demands. 

1 From Tim Brown’s blog http://designthinking.ideo.com/, November 29, 2009 entry
 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy