In Britain, a recent survey by the Design Council found that 16% of British businesses say design tops their list of key success factors. Among “rapidly growing” businesses, no fewer than 47% rank it first.
According to University of Toronto professor Richard Florida, the creative class now comprises 38 million members, or more than 30% of the American workforce. McKinsey & Co. authors Lowell Bryan and Claudia Joyce put the figure only slightly below, at 25%.
What Design Leaders Are Saying
"Design thinking is becoming a more recognized need in the business and public communities. As organizations evolve more into creative institutions using creative talents to differentiate themselves and grow new markets, there is the need to develop individuals who can lead the greater inclusion of design thinking.
Until recently, design has never been used for its potential to create rule-bending innovation across the board. Design is now rapidly moving to include processes, systems, and organizations. Design drives innovation, innovation powers brand, brand builds loyalty, and loyalty sustains profits. If you want long-term profits, don’t start with technology—start with design."
"In education, design thinking programs are gaining traction because they promote and teach the skills for the 21st century (collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking). Many major organizations have developed rich cultures of collaboration between design and business leaders. They strongly believe that ‘all of us are smarter than any of us’ and that ‘project ownership should be clear, but authorship should be blurred’ across disciplines. A graduate with a degree in Collaborative Design would fit perfectly into a role that facilitates and encourages this type of collaboration. It would also be great preparation for an advanced degree in product design or design and innovation management."
- Dave Veldkamp, Lead designer for Tekna in Kalamazoo and serving Stryker Inc.
"Designers need to be generalists, not specialists, and to know something about everything that impinges on a design. Designers need to be prepared to argue and make their case with engineers, marketing people and others who will affect their work."
- Niels Diffrient, one of the century’s pre-eminent American designers