future of design , exploring the next

Exploring the Next- through Design, an imperative for enterprises


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 of 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 many stakeholders.

Till recently, design was seen vertically as a discipline (sometimes lost in the arty land because of the education systems in many places – education: another topic worthy of lengthy discussions). And some realized that in fact, thinking, strategizing, 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 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 interconnected.

Design is about envisioning and prototyping the Next. Classical models of organizing, of managing, are so 20th-century that many corporations will need to reboot their Operating Systems, in order to cooperate or compete (or both) with the ones born these last 20-30 years, or even last year.

Design is today about cognition and computation, in addition to being strategic. Exploring these multiple dimensions and orchestrating for appropriate and meaningful outcomes requires a new leadership style and new management education.

DESIGN is the place where we can work on unlearning outdated systems and relearning updated frameworks for things to happen, while respecting the human, while celebrating dignity and diversity.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)

This article has been guest authored by Alok b. Nandi, Global President, IxDA.


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