Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 20, 2007
Heavy reaction to my Parson’s speech. Check out David Armano’s visualization of key points about the democratization of design vs. design egotism. I wrote that “people want to be in the design sandbox so you have to figure out a way to get them in and design with them.”
This statement goes way behind “design.” Corporations have to bring consumers deep inside the walls of of the business process to participate in the development and design of new products, services and experiences. They have to curate conversations with their customers and really listen and learn from them.
But having provoked the design community with criticism, let me now say this: the salvation of the world may lie largely in the hands of designers. This is a sweeping comment but true. Continuum’s work developing the Swiffer for P&G has probably saved billions of gallons of sweet water from being used to wash floors. It has prevented enormous amounts of detergent from being flushed into our rivers and oceans. And it shows, as Gianfranco Zaccai, founder of Continuum, says in his column on the Innovation & Design site, that the design method can develop products that are both profitable and sustainable. And yes, I think the Swiffer fits into the “sustainable” category because it saves so much water and curbs so much pollution. Let’s begin to challenge our assumptions of what it means to be green.
This is but one of thousands of examples of how design can promote a sustainable economy that grows, employs people, generates profits, pays taxes and gives us a better life experience.
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