It's likely that NYCxDesign visitors will soon experience sensorial exhaustion from the deluge of beautiful designs filling New York. This atmosphere sets a perfect background for Bruce Mau's lecture/call to arms—part of the Morse Historic Design Lecture Series at the Cooper Hewitt—where he humbly, yet powerfully, expanded on his ideas about the future of design.
The crux of the message lies in a simple idea: If you imagine our surroundings as a film, and you turn off the sound, you should still understand the action. If you don't, you need to redesign the action to tell the story you want to tell. Mau envisions the designer as an advocate, a channel uniquely capable of returning a sense of humanity to industry and expressing desires and conversations as objects and opportunities. The core of his talk is the realization that designers care. Using examples from his own work—like the ¡GuateAmala! campaign that uses a simple spelling change to shift a nation's self perception—as well as compelling industry precedents (think Apple, Tom's Shoes and the Roadster) he exemplifies the empathy and ethics that so much define design as an impulse.
In between trade shows and parties, you can watch the full lecture below. And keep in mind, "We either do it by design or we do it by accident."