Design isn’t just about aesthetics – let’s kill this 19th century industrial-romantic myth.
Design isn’t just about thinking – let’s clean and reboot this early 21st century myth.
So, where are we? In a “global scape” where the ratio signal to noise is getting lower and
lower, as the communication landscape is driven more and more by social media enabled
by techies not paying attention to consequences of some decisions taken in cubicles,
enabled by bots lost in algorithms.
Design is a loaded word, as innovation, as leadership; meaning so many things to so
Till recently, design was seen vertically as a discipline (sometimes lost in arty land
because of the education systems in many places – education: another topic worth lengthy
discussions – see you for the Edu panel at Design4India 2019).
And some realised that in fact, thinking, strategising, projecting what does not exist yet is
the DNA of Design. It is the practice of moving from ideas to actions, exploring the spaces
of possibilities, selecting the probables, choosing the preferable (the place where
leadership is so needed). Note that some strategy firms in the Silicon Valley were smart
enough to construct their reputation on those design and innovation approaches.
Design is fundamentally un-disciplinary and undisciplined. Design begins always with a narrative – and gets concrete through interactions, artefacts, environments, infrastructures, experiences and stories.
Enterprises today are getting on the bandwagon of delivering products, services, systems
which go explicitly through design processes, and not only implicitly. C-suites are open to
design conversations as well as to digital conversations. And these two are so
Design is about envisioning and prototyping the Next. Classical models of organising, of
managing are so 20th centuries that many corporations will need to reboot their Operating
System, in order to cooperate or compete (or both) with the ones born these last 20-30
years, or even last year.
Design today is about cognition and computation, in addition to being strategic.
Exploring these multiple dimensions and orchestrating for appropriate and meaningful
outcomes require new leadership style and new management education.
NASSCOM Design4India (but also NTLF a.o.) is the place where we can work on
unlearning outdated systems and relearning updated frameworks for things to happen,
while respecting the human, while celebrating dignity and diversity.
“All people deserve to live in a well-designed world.” (Montreal Design Declaration, 2017)