Thursday, December 31, 2009

word of the year : DESIGN

I’m looking back at 2009 and can easily conclude that design is the word of the year – in the spheres I’m covering and beyond. Design is not only about designing physical products – nor even services and experiences added - anymore. It is more. Design is now attitude, approach and even policy in many contexts. Design is the new watchword.

I’ll let a few examples of memorable happenings in my own life, during only the past months of November and December 2009, illustrate how the design concept has left its traditional territory. On November 3rd, I listened to the ever so inspirational management professor Ramnath Narayanswamy talking about the requirements on future leadership: “Managers and business leaders need to incorporate design thinking into their business…[They] need to act and think as designers.” Learn more about the occasion <here> .

Why settling with designing a business organization when an entire city can be subject to design thinking!? A month ago,
Eindhoven Brainport sent me their latest publication. Subject: on how to win the title of World Design Capital 2012. With 47 cities signing up for the challenge, only two are left in the finale: Eindhoven vs. Helsinki. What is then the Eindhoven purpose of participating in the competition? In their own words: “The ‘World Design Capital' title will help Eindhoven strengthen the socio-economic development of the city by using design to address social issues, technological innovations and urban development. It also offers Eindhoven, as main city of the Brainport region, an international podium on which to present its design profile.”

Then, why settling with designing city life if one could design away globally problematic issues!? As Harri Koskinen, one of the leading contemporary Finnish designers, received the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg’s Prize in Gothenburg on November 4th, I was pretty amused when listening to the Finnish ambassador’s dinner speech dealing with how design now is everywhere. Today, we’re even designing society to cope with environmental threats such as climate change, was his argument.

Design is hence not just on the subject; it is on every subject. How did that happen? And why did it happen? These are questions I’d love to hear plausible answers to. My guess is that we’re finally starting to recognise the intrinsic value of the design process – a process that can be applicable in other spheres and functions. As I conclude, after studying creative arts school contribution and design graduates’ careers, the process orientation and process awareness is probably higher in design than in most other disciplines. Furthermore, the design process is creative in nature as it allows for “many creative surprises and developments on the way to the final result”, to quote myself from the report making art Work.

While in 2009 being acceleratingly more frequently used; what will happen with the design concept in 2010? Most likely, we’ll move beyond the trendy use of the word and actually start defining its characteristics for real. (What is essentially defining the design process?) In 2011, we might actually start identifying the consequences of integrating design thinking into every aspect of life. Or should I give it a few more years!?

Last but not least; If I was amused by the words of the Finnish ambassador, I was rather tickled by the speech of Ted Hesselbom, manager of the Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts in Gothenburg. At the same occasion he proclaimed that “Modernism is dead”. Perhaps one should add: Designism is replacing its stance. I’m thinking it might just work as a more tolerant and flexible guiding star for the next decade. Let’s hope so.


ANNA-LYS said...

Gott Nytt Design Year ;-)

evelina said...

En massa nytt gott och gott nytt till dig =)