Reporting by Deb Aldrich
Moving a bit from theory to practice, the second day of the DMI Conference in Santa Monica offered stories of design strategies and brand innovations that are making an impact for clients, customers and communities and explored what the impact of design can and should be in the next economy.
Deepah Prahalad of RKS connected the dots between design thinking and outcomes to examine how designers can play a critical role in developing opportunities for people in emerging markets at the "bottom of the pyramid." By making sure that trust and community are key elements in business models, she pointed out that not only can we develop more sustainable and meaningful products and services to meet important needs, but we also become better innovators in the process.
Lee Maschmeyer of Collins: and co-author of Triumph on the Commons: 55 Theses on the Future explained how evolutionary algorithms will be applied to design in the future economy. Water advocates Eric Barnes and Paul Shustak, Co-Founders of KOR Water, shared their mission and story and reminded us that our work as designers is always rooted in the real world—we participate in real conversations, provide real services, and have a real impact.
As the world moves faster, our future accelerates and our needs around the world expand beyond what we can imagine, design thinking is vital to innovation and problem solving. Dr. Prasad Kaipa shared tools to help us develop not only knowledge maps to address these problems, but wisdom maps to lead the way—aligning our thinking, feeling and doing to ignite design wisdom. And Eames Demetrios pointed out we must be willing to look critically at our processes to consider where the big ideas of design will fit in. Quoting Charles & Ray Eames—"The role of the designer is that of a good host anticipating the needs of the guest"—he re-connected us with the importance of keeping the human being at the center of the design experience and, left us considering in the future economy, who will be the host and who will be the guest.