anything but (drumroll)..........IDSA

Lots of IDSA threads here. Personally, I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with IDSA - it’s an organization for and about designers…except we mostly don’t deal with designers, and networking with designers maybe isn’t as useful as networking with marketing and business people.

But, there are many (in my opinion) more useful organizations. Including PDMA In general, I find PDMA’s website and events far more informative and useful than IDSA, and given the lack of professional licensing in ID (which to me would greatly enhance IDSA’s merit), the existence of PDMA kind of negates IDSA for me.

What other organizations do people find useful?

Er…I’m not so sure that website is working out for them.

Honestly, my main resource is right here at Core77. All the design firms, jobs, schools, and conferences/events are listed. I can look through almost anyone’s portfolio because of Coroflot. It’s way easy to connect with other designers because we’re all talking on the discussion boards. Plus news is constantly getting updated on a daily basis and it’s a much more relaxed environment than IDSA, IxDA, or AIGA. A professional designer might need more in terms of networking, but for a student like me this is just what I need.

I wish Core77 would bring back Creative Seeds. That was a wonderful resource that I used all the time while job/intern hunting.

Okay…I am going to stick up for IDSA here. This issue about the website has been beaten to death. They get it. Trust me. Conversations outside of these forums are going on and they are working to change it. I too have my fair share of IDSA bashing on these forums, but let’s let this one be for a while. The website you show I would argue is worse.

The one thing I have not seen in these forums is what we all want IDSA to be. We keep beating them up on what they are doing wrong, but we have yet to tell them what it is we want or what your IDSA would look like. Lets start giving them something to work with.

I think Linda was talking about the PDMA site… with their “connecting innovators world wide” logo that looks like it is from one of those “99 logos for $50” types of services.

What do we want IDSA to be? I’ve actually spelled this out many times in detail…

Sorry bepid, that website is terrible.

In terms of constructive feedback and telling them what we want, lots of people have done that. In fact CMU IDSA is working on a video proposal for a redesign of the IDSA website. It’ll come within a week. (pictures of us working on it :

Fantastic Tarngerine! I friggin love you guys! Taking things into your own hands like the group of optimistic rebels you are.

So there has been some kind of intense past argument regarding the IDSA website - I’m not interested in that. I did just take a look at it and it seems better than it was the last time I went there. I quit going in the past because I found it not to meet my needs. I’ll give it another chance. Re the PDMA website, I agree they have a totally cruddy logo. Local chapters’ sites vary in quality and content.

My dig mostly has to do with IDSA being a bunch of designers and who else? Philosophically, I look at what we do as product development, of which traditional ID is but a part of. Sometimes I do that, and sometimes I help craft value props. Maybe not the traditional view of ID, maybe it isn’t even ID. I don’t know. It’s good to talk to other designers but I like PDMA because it is a broader organization for anyone involved in product development (designers, project managers, marketers, engineers, UXers, etc), so a lot more points of view are represented. The meetings usually cover interesting topics, with Q&A from all of the above, so you get a great feel for what’s on peoples’ minds in the PD world as a whole. But that’s just one organization. Surely there are others.

I’m seriously interested in the non-IDSA non designer-specific organizations people find valuable for professional development. It just kills me that every topic in this section deal with IDSA as if that is the only organization that’s useful to any of us.

So again, what OTHER organizations do y’all find useful and why?

Okay well to answer that.

CMU’s student chapter of IDSA could be named something else (we’ve seriously considered this in the past since being called IDSA has no real benefit but the officialness of the name) and it would be the same thing. We have active members from all disciplines: ID, CD, UX, and grad MPD (master of product development) who used to be engineers. So that’s the closest I know to what you are describing, bepid. We also work closely with the AIGA on campus.

It’s useful for us as students because we get to do stuff outside the context of class. It’s a nice place to chill, eat pizza, and talk about design. We also go on trips (just went to Toronto last week). We started hosting Critique Clinics where we bash on a design and redesign it ourselves (what we just did with the website).

I’ve not encountered anything outside of that, though.

I’ve been on the PDMA mailing list for the last year, still haven’t actually gone to any of their events in Cincinnati yet. I did watch a webcast a couple months ago on developing successful products. A lot of it was a bit too technical for me as a student but I definitely did pick up a couple of good points. Was it worth the money I spent on it… mmmm I guess, I probably spent the same amount at Chipotle that week, but I haven’t done another since.

In this age where there is so much great free content and opportunities to connect with professional designers (Core being the best) I find it hard to justify paying the membership fees that a lot of professional organizations come with.

Yes I definitely second this, I was a huge fan of Creative Seeds, in fact that is something I wouldn’t have any problem paying a subscription for. Love the content especially the great articles on navigating the design world as a freelancer, since that is something that I’ve always been interested in but is hardly ever really explained in great detail. Would love to see it come back, though I realize it’s a lot of work to pull off content with a lot of depth for free!

I have 3 more years till I graduate so for now networking in person isn’t as high of a priority, when it is I might pony up for some of the PDMA and IDSA events, but till then Core suits my needs completely.

Just saw some pics from your critique clinic on facebook, looking forward to the video!

I see your point, but this is a design website, here you are only talking to designers! I think because you put IDSA in the title it skewed the discussion to actually talk about the IDSA.

Personally, the last time I went to an IDSA conference I thought there was not enough design content! Why do designers never want to have a critical discussion about design? They want to talk business and engineering, which are necessary to facilitate and collaborate with design, but they are not design.

And there is not other American design organization, most users being US on here… well, you see where it goes…

I would love to hear more about the APDF or the UK Design Council, DMI… never seem to hear much…

Ditto to all that, and I think the next step for our student chapter is to connect with other student chapters in the area, which has never really happened before. The thing with official organizations is that there always seems to be some type of psychological barrier where it feels roundabout and difficult to doing anything through the organization itself. ID is such a small niche community that it’s really easy (and much more productive) to make connections with people by just calling or e-mailing them directly. That’s why I’m not partial most of the design organizations I’ve encounter because they just feel too impersonal, segmented, and non-transparent when I know there can’t be that many people running the behind-the-scenes.

I can share my point of view. I don’t think designers don’t want to have a critical discussion about design. The problem is, what is design? In your opinion, the business and engineering components of the development cycle aren’t design, but to me they are. Design is about making deliberate choices to solve product problems using whatever tools make sense to use, sometimes visually, sometimes not. It bleeds into a lot of things and a lot of things bleed into it. That’s what I like about it. I’m sure many others have their own interpretations of what it is or isn’t design, too. If IDSA is openly embracing the whole of the development cycle that is awesome.

So yo, what groups do you find useful?

Philosophically I think you are correct, but I can easily flip your argument:

The problem is, what is business? In your opinion, the design and engineering components of the development cycle aren’t business, but to me they are. Business is about making deliberate choices to solve product problems using whatever tools make sense to use…

The problem is, what is engineering? In your opinion, the design and business components of the development cycle aren’t engineering, but to me they are. Engineering is about making deliberate choices to solve product problems using whatever tools make sense to use…

You see how tricky that gets in actuality? How quickly you move away from a critical discourse about the heart of design.

What groups do I interact with? Core77, because it is the only one that gets to that heart of design. And because it does, it can also talk about things at the periphery, where the edges bleed. I assume there is a strong reason why you are here and not at some development forum?

The other group I use is the extended team at frog. 600 technologists, IxDers, IDers, GDers, Business Strategists, MEs, Software Designers… I get to nerd out with a lot of people.

Other than that, I find there is no professional organization that I feel I can really subscribe to because I have not found one tailored to my needs.

I understand your point yo. A big part of me wonders if, at least in the context of PD, the old job titles disappear. All the functions are so interdependent and I can’t be the only “designer” operating in all these spaces to some degree. I often struggle with explaining what exactly I do, because it isn’t really that fixed. I understand someone always needs to have the styling skills or the tool design knowledge or business case study knowledge. But in PD, it seems like the walls between are very fuzzy at best, and functional overlap is high. I really believe in a decade there will be very few designers that spend more than a third or fourth of their time doing the traditional ID work that used to pretty clearly define ID. We’re all going to be product development consultants with wide net skillsets. Researchers, designers, messagers, business people. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure feels like things are headed that way.

I like core because the discussion forums are open, and I can have a conversation like this with one of Frog’s design directors. But there are a number of PD related linkedin groups I frequent too.

I think it depends on the working environment. At Nike there are about 150 designers just designing product. Very traditional ID collaborating with engineering, advanced design, testing labs, marketing, research, all those things, but very focused on design. That is not going to change. At frog with have more of a cable type of approach. The directors are very broad thinking, but the entry level designers need a strong disciplinary based skill set. I wrote a small piece about it here:

other places have very few design resources, so those designers need to wear more hats, I think that is more like what you are talking about. There are no rights and wrongs, it all depends on what kinds of designer you want to be. I’ve always been a collaborator who likes do a lot of up front conceptualization and then bring the right people in along the way to build, test, validate. By doing this I can work on many different projects simultaneously, influencing the outcomes… other people like to do it all and to tightly control the outcome, while only being able to do one or two projects at a time because of that desire. Both are valid techniques as long as the results are strong and you are having fun.

Back to the topic, it is difficult to construct a group for this diverse array of people. I’d like to see someone try though!

Thanks for the link to your article. In the cable system, how do you determine who spans the project versus who is inserted to perform a specific function? It reminds me of what I read in Maister’s book, that many firms are replacing the five years and out system (in which everyone used to be on a partner track), with more of a personal interest based approach - not that you specifically went there.

My experience has definitely been of the wear many hats variety, along with many of my colleagues and former studio mates. Literally everything from value props to part design. It wasn’t really a deliberate choice, but it became intellectually stimulating if totally random and chaotic at times. For the first few years, all I cared about was sketching, but experiencing all the different parts of the process just made me hungry to do more parts of the process - kind of turned me to a been there done that what’s next way of thinking.

Anyway, back to the topic.

I always wished the IDSA site was more the the AIGA site. It’s clean, interesting, lots of good information, articles…

IMO, I find the content of PDMA to be much more valuable than the content of IDSA. IDSA has been reguritating the same information for the last 23 years (that is far as this old man goes back). I don’t blame them, but that is what tends to happen with such a narrow focus.

PDMA, as bcpid as indicated, runs the full gamut of new product development, from research to strategy to implementation. There is a lot of knowledge there and that is what interests me. I would never want to stuck in an ID silo, it becomes too dull too quickly.

And McKinsey posts really cool jobs on PDMA. Just sayin’.