Design, as a thinking style, is starting to be recognised for its contribution to tackling today’s most complex problems. Its role may be even more important in the future, or the Future, that permanently fascinating horizon which occupies our dreams and fantasies. But not just in making the products and services of tomorrow.
For at least half a century, design has been seeking a seat at the high table. Its leaders, a motley bunch of academics, ‘visionaries’ and the odd forward-thinking practitioner, believe that design should have a greater influence in the public sphere. Why not a presence in government or at least on company boards?
A human being, wrote sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, should be able to fight, write poetry and die gallantly, among 18 more things. Specialisation, he famously said, is for insects.
Look around you and you likely wouldn’t know it, if you are reading this in print in a developing country, but business is getting very, very attracted to design. If, on the other hand, you are reading this on a screen in a G-8 country, this may seem like settled fact. This is a consummation that designers have long and devoutly wished, and while isn’t, not yet, a ‘best practice’ that corporations adore, it’s no longer just conference-room hype. Power and money demonstrate that.