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I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop at the recent AIGA Gain Conference in NYC along with the amazing Mateo Neri. As promised, here are some references related to the remarkably rich and dynamic discussion we had that day—special thanks to all in attendance for your great contributions!
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
- The Design Entrepreneur by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico
- Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
- AVC: Musings of a VC in NYC by Fred Wilson
- 30 Second MBA on FastCompany.com
- The New Entrepreneur on BusinessWeek.com
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3 Random Resources
Since my post earlier this week about Service Design, I’ve been bombarded with content on this topic. Here are a few follow up notes to continue the conversation. Have a spectacular Labor Day weekend!
More on the INDEX Winners
In her post for the Fast Company design blog, Gadi Amit continues the conversation about the recent INDEX award winners that I wrote about earlier this week. Amit adds some interesting analysis by asking “Is any idea, whether it’s an initiative for social progress or a clever way to market movies, enough to be declared a work of design?”
And Still More on Service Design
Earlier in the summer I wrote about Winterhouse and Project M coming together on a collaborative summer program (May 22, 2009). These two organizations are among the emerging forces who are challenging the parameters of design, and I speculated in my post that their union would result in some surprising and exciting results. Click here and judge for yourself (I must admit, I was hoping for something more than a well-intentioned pizza party).
Yep, You Guessed It…
The Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia was established in 1978 and has experienced phenomenal growth and expansion over the last three decades as Alissa Walker describes in her recent Fast Company post introducing SCAD president Paula Wallace. Now with more than 9,300 students and 1,500 faculty and staff, SCAD is gaining prominence nationally and internationally, as a leading force in design education. In her guest blog for FC, Wallace jumps right into the Service Design conversation with her excellent post entitled “The Architect of Experience: Conversation With a Service Designer” which profiles SCAD instructor Peter Fossick.
A couple weeks ago I had an enlightening conversation with designer and strategist Sylvia Harris. Sylvia and I were comparing notes and sharing our experiences in the area of design for the health care industry—her work in wayfinding for hospitals and medical centers has led her into a consulting practice that focuses on user experience issues in health care (click here for a list of articles Sylvia Harris has written on these topics).
As we discovered the common professional ground we have traveled, our conversation began to focus on the emerging category of “service design.” Actually, this is a term that is more commonly used in Europe—here we might call it “design thinking”—but I actually think service design is a more accurate moniker. While both Sylvia and I share a background in communication design (or graphic design), we are both working in areas in which “graphic” design is only a fraction of what we actually do anymore. We’re working on complex projects that involve not the professional network that designers have traditionally worked with—photographers, writers, printers—but rather experts from a vast array of professional disciplines—psychologists, ethnographers, physicians, even policy makers. Likewise, the outcome of these projects is very different from what we might have delivered earlier in our careers—not a logo, brochure, or signage system, but rather a new nomenclature for a medical device, a new financial system, or health care procedure. Of course, this is a transformation that is happening throughout design as the value of what we do and how we do it is more recognized and accepted.
The memory of my conversation with Sylvia was refreshed yesterday when I read Alice Rawsthorn’s essay in the NY Times entitled “Winning Ways of Making a Better World,” which focused on the recently announced winners of the INDEX: Award 2009, the biennial design prize funded by the Danish government to celebrate examples of “design to improve life” (note: our Type1Tools product designs were included in the 2007 INDEX award exhibition). Ms. Rawsthorn pointed out one surprising recipient among the five impressive winners: Kiva, the micro-financing institution which has lent more than $86 million to entrepreneurs in the developing world in the last four years (which I blogged about recently).
As Alice Rawsthorn writes, “By any definition, it is a fantastic project, which undoubtedly helps ‘to improve life’ by raising money for people who desperately need it. But what does it have to do with design?”
I’m equally as surprised by this announcement as Ms. Rawsthorn, but I must say I’m thrilled to see INDEX, a leading force in the design world, making such a strong statement about what constitutes “design.” The definition of design has been morphing incrementally for generations, and I think we are on the cusp of a major transformation of what designers do and for whom we do it. This new way of designing is being exposed through the pioneering work of the London firm Participle, John Bielenberg’s Project M, Design for Democracy and designers like Sylvia Harris.
Ultimately, this change will mean huge opportunity for designers who are ready to seize it.
Check out this video about Kiva from the INDEX site: