nIn a recent speech that he gave at Parsons School of Design in New York, Business Week’s Bruce Nussbaum explains why there has been a backlash against design. According to Nussbaum, the design movement shows signs of faltering for two primary reasons — designers are arrogant and designers are ignorant. They are arrogant when it comes to understanding the whole “Design Democracy” movement empowered by Web 2.0 and they are ignorant when it comes to understanding issues like eco-sustainability. To challenge the preconceptions of his audience when it comes to sustainability, Nussbaum points out that the mink coat is actually better designed than the Apple iPod:
“Let’s take your favorite toy, designed by one of today’s design gods,nJonathan Ive and his team at Apple—the iPod. Apple does fantasticnthings with materials. Amazing things. And it has recycling programsnfor its products. But what it doesn’t do is prioritize cradle-to-cradlendesign. It doesn’t design a long-cycle product that you can open andnupgrade over time. It doesn’t design a process that encourages thenreuse materials again and again. It doesn’t demand sustainability. […]
Challenge Your Assumptions. Think about the mink coat. It is beyondncool. It’s sustainable. You feed those little rat-y things with garbagenthat you throw out or food you grow, you create something that isncomfortable, beautiful and gives you warmth for your entire life, younpass it along to another generation or recycle it or simply let itndisintegrate. It’s organic, after all.”
“A final point on language: Innovation and Design. Business men andnwomen don’t like the term “design.” I think they think it impliesndrapes or dresses. Even top CEOs who embrace design don’t want to callnit that. They want to call it “Innovation.” That has a manly right tonit. It’s strong, techie. These folks are perfectly willing to use thenword “vision,” whatever the heck “vision” is. They like “Imagination,”nwhatever the heck that is. But they don’t like “design.” Go figure.
nI solve this problem by calling it all a banana. Innovation, design,neco-imagination, just call it whatever they want to call it and do yourndesign thing. Because your design thing is a glorious thing that hasnthe potential of changing our lives in a myriad of ways in a myriad ofnplaces.”