They do some really amazing programs which I have been fortunate to be a part of of.
What I think is the most interesting thing is that there is equal "ownership" of the institution by designs and the public alike. In this way it is even more effective at communicating the need for good design to industry.
Some of the interesting things they do-
1. Designers in the Classroom. Brings designers into secondary schools to teach design to kids 3-10.
2. High school design competitions (I will be a judge for the next one in April)
3. March break and summer design camps for kids
4. Canadian Business Hall of Fame in partnershp with Junior Achievement design Charettes for University level designers across all disciplines (again I participated in this)
5. DX Awards which are done with a National Business Newspaper (sorta like the IDEA awards but even moreso focused on the resulting business success through good design)
6. Many lectures, workshops, galas, etc.
7. They have a physical space, so also are open to the public as a design museum
8. They also administer the National Archives of Design (again, I'm a board member) which preserves the history of Design in Canada
9. I believe they also have a direct connection to government and a stake in making design policy
To me, their model is what I think IDSA should become.
1. By becoming more cross discipline, I think it does not water down ID, but rather makes it more relevant. As we know, ID today can include anything from traditional consumer products to footwear, fashion, UX, POP, graphics etc.
2. By becoming an organization that the public, business or design advocates can join, it makes the case to relate design to business and the public all the more effective and relevant. It also helps subsidize professional activities since they bring in revenue from the general public.
3. By being more involved with students at levels lower than university (let's start in kindergarden!) it makes the education and promotion of design more ingrained in the public dialog and could generate a whole new generation of designers. Why wait until they are in university and already know they want to be a designer? Grab them when they are young and I guarantee you will see more and more youngsters want to be designers, earlier and earlier.
Ok, that's my pitch. But seriously, check out the DX link. If they can do so much, not even being a national organization and having a physical exhibition space sure the IDSA can get some more traction if a different mandate and operating procedure where perhaps considered. The DX to note is also a Charitable Organization and receives no grants.
Their mandate -
What is design?
Design is an important component of our everyday lives. Product design, package design, brand and corporate identity, retail design, book and brochure design, interactive design (software, interactive information, interfaces), and design of buildings and environments represent the spheres of influence of design on our lives. The design disciplines of concentration for the DX include:
Graphic Design and Visual Communications
Theatre and Set Design
Interactive Media Design
To promote the value of Canadian design, through engaging and enriching programs.
"Canada by Design" to establish Canada as a design leader worldwide.
Our guiding principles
1. Leveraging the Power of Design: Design has the power to create and sustain economic advantage for Canada and the role of the Design Exchange is to promote and leverage the value of design-led thinking to enable the business community to take full advantage of the opportunities that good design creates.
2. Establishing a Cohesive Design Sector Workforce: The role of the Design Exchange is to encourage and create incentives for design professionals from all disciplines to work together, across disciplines, in order to more efficiently and more effectively serve the needs of our business and social communities and to create competitive advantage.
3. Promoting Design Excellence: The concept of good design involves a strategic and creative process that integrates technical, functional, aesthetic, cultural and economic considerations. The Design Exchange facilitates new collaborative efforts to produce good Canadian design and promotes and celebrates Canadian design success stories.
4. Showcasing Good Design: The Design Exchange is North America’s premier Design Centre with exhibition, presentation and meeting space to showcase the best in design and to host public and private forums on design issues.
5. Connecting Through Networks: The Design Exchange builds links between education, business, designers, and the public through its programs, which outreach to national and international audiences.
To be recognized internationally as a center of design excellence for Canada.
To build a Canadian brand identity, nationally and internationally.
To offer DX programs and services locally, provincially and nationally.
To operate efficiently and effectively with a stable financial platform.
We value design excellence for all segments of the Canadian population.
We value designers and the design process across every discipline.
We value the role and power of design in the Canadian economy.
We value design’s contribution to quality of life for Canadians.
We value collaboration and interactivity between the DX and all Canadians.
We value the contribution of youth education programs to our future.
We value creativity and innovation.