Posts tagged “World Economic Forum”

Whither goes Design?

Walking along the coast in Santa Cruz last weekend, Theresa and I and saw a plethora of unusual human-powered vehicles, including a variety of recumbent bikes, a crew of unicyclists, and several of these “camber-thrust” powered scooters.

Theresa commented on how odd it is that we’ve reached a stage of technical mastery where people are actually inventing things to make tasks harder, rather than easier.

To me, that says a particular design problem has been well-solved. While there’s value in further exploring that area, there’s also space to move on and tackle something else.

I think, writ large, there’s a relationship here to Nathan Shedroff’s thoughts on post-consumerism and what appears to be a wave of design-towards-social-good. Project H’s Emily Pilloton has been doing all kinds of press, including appearing on The Colbert Report. Jon Kolko recently launched the Austin Center for Design, whose mission is “to transform society through design and design education.” And IDEO’s Tim Brown continues to bring the message of design thinking to events like the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

So while there are still many consumer-facing design problems to solve, it seems Design has some headroom to take on non-commercial issues. For those who believe in design as a problem-solving approach, this is good news, and the interaction with players and systems beyond commerce will surely push the further evolution of our field.


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