I presented a paper in the D2B2 Design Management conference in Beijing last week and also heard a lot of very interesting speech from presentors from all over the world. Together with the keynote speakers, there were over 50 presentations in total, covering topics from branding to sustainability to a bit of Service Design. Most of the presentations are inspiring, although I guess the use of double languages (Chinese and English) makes it a bit complex when it comes to question time. Happy that I actually benefited from both languages- ain't doing a degree abroad for nothing ;]
One of the most impressive presentation might be James Woudhuysen's critical insights towards Design Management by saying" design is not going to save the world, technology and science might save the world, but design can help them". I can't say that I completely agree with him, but I do admire the courage to start a contradictory argument in a conference basically show casing the benefit of design to business. However, it is true that we not only study what design can do, but also study what design cannot do. The role of design is changing, which is also true to many other professions in the world, but it doesn't mean that we can either over or under estimate what design can do.
This reminds me of John Thackra's talk on Design Council's podcast suggests three lessons they learnt from DOTT, which might give us some thoughts on what design might become.
1. We are not going to innovate in the desert. It's already here. In the country our job is to discovery and accelerate the existing grass-root innovation by bring in design skills, bring in technology platforms, bring in resources s and when they are needed.
2. Build unlikely connection (innovation!) and build trust.
3. Think about how do we want to live. Start conversations at local, not telling people how they want to live. "
By the way, James Woudhuysen is having a new booking coming... Energise! it is about energy, science, and our future society. I have not read it yet though... let me know what you think if you did ;]