Contract - March 2010 - (Page 20)

introduction what is the future of design? In the “new reality,” a driver of positive change, in business and society By Jennifer Thiele Busch t 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 de ned 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 uffy creative approach to business as some have challenged, design thinking, at least by Brown’s de nition, speci cally 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 pro tability are not mutually exclusive concepts. Neither should strategic, innovative, long-range thinking and pro tability be mutually exclusive ideas, and to successful designers, they are not. From the Wikipedia de nition, design thinking involves a seven-step process of de ning, 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, A 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, which uses design thinking to drive multidisciplinary innovation, and California College of the Arts’ MBA in Design Strategy, which unites the studies of design, nance, 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 re ections on the past to observations on the future, as any signi cant anniversary demands. 1 From Tim Brown’s blog, November 29, 2009 entry 20 contract march 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2010

Contract 3/10
Editor’s Note
Essays from the Past:
The Contract Design Dilemma (May 1962)
Space Planning Symposium (July 1963)
Changes in Workplaces Reflect Changes in Task Structure (June 1970)
Women Need Feminine Desks (June 1970)
Name “Interior Designer” Is a Misnomer Because of Broader Duties (August 1970)
Research Reveals Proper Height, Width, Depth of Furniture, from Office Chairs to Library Tables (September 1970)
Astounding Technology Portends Drastic Office Changes in the ’80s (January 1980)
Is the Office Really Necessary? (January 1989)
If You Cut Your Fee, Do You Bleed? (June 1990)
Design: Retrospective
Essays on the Future:
More Happiness, Less Stuff: By Ray C. Anderson
The Social Aspect of Social Responsibility: By John Cary
Leading in the Global Market: By Ross Donaldson
Technology Trends: By Cathryn Barrett
Inadmissible Evidence: By Michael Berens
Designers Rate: Eight Designers Pick Their Favorite Three Commercial Interiors Products of the Last 50 Years
Ad Index

Contract - March 2010