Design in Tech Report 2017

I have looked through the slides and am in the process of listening to his talk. But here is a summary taken from the aforementioned link:

Key Observations this year:

  • Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.
  • At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum — driven by market demand.
  • Both McKinsey & Co and IBM have recently made appointments at their most senior levels for designers.
  • Adopting an inclusive design approach expands a tech product’s total addressable market.
  • Computational designers remain in demand at technology companies of all sizes and maturity levels.
  • Chinese design in tech principles and practices are leading the world, but are often overlooked.
  • Design tool companies and design community platforms occupy new positions of value for tech.
  • Voice- and chat-based interfaces are grounded in mental models that don’t require a visual representation.

thanks for sharing!

I just downloaded the video.
I will watch it ASAP.
What are the most important findings for you?

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@dopamino, thanks for your interest. After several attempts to listen to the presentation, I have finally finished listening to all of it. It wasn’t that it was boring. It was something that I really needed to focus on since I’m not a designer by trade.

Please excuse my potentially incoherent ramblings. Perhaps, you might find something of value from them. I wish there was a transcript because I find myself trying to find out where he said a certain thing. Therefore, please correct me if I’ve made incorrect assumptions below.

I think it is great that business is recognising the importance of design. He addresses business schools including design thinking in the curriculum, acquisitions of design firms and even communities etc. At the same time, he quotes, Chance the Rapper’s Blessings:

I don’t make songs for free. I make them for freedom.

and ponders, ‘…the relationship between creativity and industry’. He talks about the era of blogging on platforms like LiveJournal all the way to the current system where social media is considered blogging. He uses the analogy of people not wanting to build the house e.g. a blog while you can rent an amazing condo e.g. social media like Instagram. The challenge of a closed web and how can you make something that is truly yours is something that I think is important. I love the quote he chose from Chris Dixon’s article ‘The Decline of the Mobile Web’:

‘The open architecture of the web led to an incredible era of experimentation. Many startups were controversial when they were first founded. What if AOL or some other central gatekeeper had controlled the web, and developers had to ask permission to create Google, YouTube, eBay, PayPal, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Sadly, this where we’re headed with mobile.’

Obviously, there needs to be control for things like criminal activity etc. You know I hated Smashing Magazine’s red redesign. But looking back, I’m glad that they did it. What if we lived in a world where those things were controlled? Are we heading towards an oligopoly where only a few firms control the kind of technology and design that can exist? Therefore, I think design clubs at business schools and independent communities like this one are important to foster new thought.

This brings me to my next thought. Are we truly free if we can’t both build and design? Twitter, Facebook etc. exists because of expression and community which is great. However, going back to his buy/rent analogy it also exists because enough people enjoy the convenience or lack the skills to build and design them. Therefore, as renters on Twitter, Facebook etc., we are subject to our landlords’ terms and conditions.

So how much computer science etc. should a designer know? I know he is an advocate for designers learning how to code. I am interested in computer science etc. but I know that I’m not a natural at programming. However, I think I need to continue to try if it encourages freedom of expression.

I have other thoughts but I think this reply is already too long. I will add them later. Thanks for getting to the end of this long and convoluted response.

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Other points that were of interest to me:

Design & security - I never heard of the non-profit Simply Secure led by ex-Google and ex-IDEO staff before. I personally think that security is a pressing issue.

  • Writing being an important skill for designers. He provides a link to: Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”.

  • Business and finance skills, using research and analysis and leadership and teamwork,’…are not available to them as basic coursework in education as a designer’. He thinks that it will take about 20 years for education to catch up and by then it will be too late. So he encourages people to look outside conventional education.

  • He recommended Designing with Data. This is now in my Safari queue because I’ve been conflicted between choosing design and data analysis. So perhaps this book might give me some clarification.

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