The future of Design and the Design Jockey. Progressing from solitude to open design.

Design and Design Thinking is all the rage today. Everyone is talking about it. But that’s just talk or in essence the product of a what is now becoming a major awareness campaign, and that’s real good, plain and simple. Now take a moment and think about the majority’s impression of Design capabilities, methods and the discipline in itself. There’s this aura of solitude, the designers, locked away in a workshop or lab, thinking to themselves, safeguarding ideas and secrets selfishly into patents, every stroke of genius being of great value that must be protected and redeemed prior to any notion of validation by the markets. While this notion may hold some truth, how we’re seeing the discipline evolve paints a very different picture.

My impression of what we’re experiencing is the progression and acceptance of an open design movement. Aggressive patenting and the lack of collaborative platforms in the past as compared to platforms offered by technology today is shaping a very different future for the discipline, where solitary design may actually be frowned upon. In this day and age if an idea, concept or design component stands on its own what value does it really hold in an era where the markets desire open source, integration and unity? Ask yourself that question.

Leaders in the arena are now touting open design as the new paradigm. The shift has already happened and where we need to consider focusing our attention if the discipline is to progress and meet market demands is ensuring our education system, from a very early onset, possibly at the elementary level, plants seeds to encourage integrated and open design thinking.

Leading in this arena are organizations such as SAP and the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) Academy for Design Thinking or, offering an accessible and open education platform.

My personal journey of late has afforded me the opportunity to realize that Design Thinking, whether we realize it or not is a fundamental function and capability of the human psyche. Just close your eyes and think about an idea, any idea. Now open your eyes and…..guess what silly, you’re designing.

With the advent technological advancements facilitating connectedness, integration and unified thought such as cloud and IoT, harnessing and harvesting design into hives of design components is becoming easier and easier. The former lab or workshop of the solitary designer has become a universal playground of thoughts, ideas and design components. Designers are no longer constrained to their environment, components have the potential to be shared universally in an instant. The capability is evolving as to encourage open ended design components, rapid and iterative design is imminent.

Over the next year, I’m very excited to exploring ways to advance the discipline, which I’m becoming extremely fond of. I’m finding it extremely fun designing and shaping what I can currently coin as a framework for a conceptual sub-discipline, that of being a Design Jockey. Planning to step into the Hasso PIattner Institute of Design Thinking ( is my next step.

More to come.


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