> posted by   on July 28th 2014

Subjective thoughts about DESIGN

Lately, Tim Brown CEO IDEO posted a very interesting blog at LinkedIn. His post is about “5 new design careers for the 21st century”. Brown is making an appeal to all new generation students that are now choosing the creative education. Our profession as a designer has radically changed since the time we were educated (’90s). I also remember that Adrian van Hooydonk, design director of BMW, mentioned during his master class in Munich a few years ago that all students that are now following a car design study will have difficulty finding a job. That’s because their schools taught them the old automotive industry of the past.

Wow, now is the question: Quo vadis future design?

It is not my intention to re-describe a definition or predict the future of design but rather to illuminate and share my opinion on various patterns of change that are already happening to design today.

To understand drivers that define design, we need to understand the social, technological, economical and political changes that propel the mechanism of everyday life. What is most apparent in today’s society is the sheer diversity and complexity of life. Every new day creates plenty of needs to what future design and designer have  to respond. We are supposedly more informed than ever – we feel burdened by the information overload that has become a very integrated part of our life. We are all in the same boat – constantly bombarded with predictions, promises and warnings. We live in a multidimensional world with multidimensional design that is designed by “multidimensional” designers.

According to the book “Creative Man” (by Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, 2006), in the last 100 years our western society transformed its mental way of thinking significantly. From the Industrial society, which gave birth to industrial designers, to the Dream Society of today, followed by the Creative Society.

The Dream Society was a new paradigm that took DESIGN(er) thinking up to brand driven innovation.  Even companies that did not invest in design thinking, did invest in designing their brand experience. It was the moment when the so-called designer was not only “constructing” the product or caring about its aesthetical values. He or she was involved in the whole process of managing by design. Managing by design is a process that involves multidisciplinary teams to catch the attention of very choosy consumers. The multidisciplinary teams usually have on board: design sociologists, design directors, creative engineers, concept designers, UI designers, sound designers, brand design strategists and even the visual design trend analysts.


What about the DESIGN(er) of tomorrow’s Creative Society?

Steve Rosenbaum in his article “Content Is King No Longer” says: “Today, the world has changed – Curation Is King (…) we have arrived in a world where everyone is a content creator. And quality content is determined by context (…) finding, sorting, endorsing, sharing — it’s the beginning of a new chapter. And not since Gutenberg have we seen such a significant change in who’s able to use the tools of content creation to engage in a public dialog”.

The DESIGN(er) of the Creative Society era will be designing more immaterial products. We will need new qualifications (education) for the future post-industrial economy. We will need (just to mention a few): service designers, material designers, handicraft designers, idea designers, wellness & health designers, experience designers, content designers, consumer insight designers, human studies designers, politics designers, economy designers, technology designers, bio designers, stem cell designers, DNA designers, multidimensional media designers, new senior designers, luxury designers, new needs designers, leisure designers, food & ingredients designers and design trend curators. (Unfortunately, above descriptions of the future DESIGN(ers) are limited to the existing vocabulary.)

It’s a fact that today we are about to shift into the Creative era. In a natural way, we will re-think and re-define DESIGN(er) definition, its value and its role in our rapidly transforming society.

Creative economy clusters and regions with an identity of collaboration and a co-creation will be a new platform for future R&D and innovation. Gaurav Bhalla in his new publication “Collaboration & co-creation” explains that “today organizations are learning how to reconnect through collaboration and co-creation platforms to regain value creation that is meaningful to the customer, not just to the producer.” Further he explains that “collaboration and co-creation is a game-changer business practice. With new models of value co-creation, you can equally begin the transition to listening, engaging and responding to the customer in ways that open up many new, undiscovered ways to create value we will miss by not fully applying this business practice to the business”

In my opinion, the future DESIGN(er) will have to switch from traditional designing material products to designing even the entire organisations, markets or services. They will build bridges between all unknown territories.


Above: Istanbul, summer 2014



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