The prophetic nature of Design...

Greetings all!

I’m going to attempt to make this brief as well as state that I am aware that this phenomena that I face is not new.

I work for an organization that views Industrial Design is mere styling. In a three year struggle to battle against this misconception, my role now carries a perception of styling plus advanced, unproven ideas that add cost and push timelines in an organization that wants to do nothing but incremental improvement on market response offerings.

So I’ve come to the realization that the education path and many independent firms support a notion of the Designer as a “prophet”. My question is:
Without attempting to change an entire business’ culture (there are firms that focus on that exhaustive task), how can Design more rapidly be embraced as a prophetic inquiry into the human [user] condition rather than a sculpture artist with technical know-how?

Take this question into consideration realizing that there is currently no interest in learning about Design within the organization, if anything there is a backlash against it.

Don’t position yourself as a “prophet”.

So your suggestion is to act as a glorified sculptor?

I think a way to do this is to position design as the ultimate collaborators, balancing engineering requirements, with marketing demands, and adding user insights blended into a brand based gravitational center.

By collaborating you are not trying to boss the other functions around, you are bringing ideas that maybe existed on the fringe of the organization front and center be refining them, layering and filtering through a user based lens, and using high definition visualizations to get other functions inspired.

Make them feel ownership. Eschew the hard to work with artist persona and take the time to teach your peers about the additional horsepower collaborating with design will bring at the very first stages of an idea.

No. That’s as idiotic as prophet.

I understand your question tandren, and I think it could’ve been framed better.
Your word choice of “prophet” gives the question a religious and “holier than thou” tinge which those of us with a few years under our belts know will get you no where. It stinks of ego.

A better question would be " How do I help influence an organization to expect more from design?"
THAT is something I’d like to know how to do better myself.

Very well said, it will get you no where, but prophet is nonetheless a valid description. I prefer to look at it as having vision, or an ability to see things that others do not, and connect those things in ways that others cannot. I don’t think that this is a trait that only and all designers have, I think that it’s just that design education and practices encourage exploration and creativity where other disciplines do not necessarily have this focus.

Can’t change the culture, status quo got you down? As an alternative I might suggest joining forces with people who “get it” and create a new one within your company instead of trying to lead horses to water who don’t want to drink.

This. Industrial designers are uniquely placed in a company by being in touch with a large portion of the organizational structure. Acting as a hub rather than a one man army helps the whole company move forward rather than leaving you as the odd man out.

Also, visionary might be a more fitting term than prophet. My business prof would use that term (though not specifically with ID in mind). Though it still sounds way too egotistical to my ears. :confused: