February 13th, 2007, 11:05 am

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one-word-plastics
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Two of IDSA's biggest failures ended-up being developed by Core - the portfolio & blogging sites. I've leveraged both of those for career advancement & networking. IDSA missed this huge opportunity to drive traffic to their web site and pump-up their memberships. Both would be a pretty compelling reason for designers to join and stay with IDSA. If they decide to copy these in the future it will look like they're knocking-off Core (unless they greatly improve the quality of the experience- which will be tough).

Competition tends to breed excellence. It's good to see a professional organization get some competition so they don't become fat and bloated. It becomes a wake-up call to provide more value to their membership.
"Life is pretty simple: you do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
—Leonardo da Vinci

February 13th, 2007, 11:32 am

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paulH
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I also like the point of Core77 and IDSA teaming up
Agreed. That would be a good combo. No-one would defend IDSA's website being anything less than a jungle, which Core could surely help out with. And Core's effort at live events need the experienced (volunteer-driven) touch of the IDSA. I'm sure there would be many other ways they could benefit from each other's skill-sets too.

Do you think that would dilute the coolness of Core? Or possibly hamper the respectability of IDSA as a professional body?

February 13th, 2007, 12:09 pm

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paulH
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Send an email to the board and see if you get a reaction. Go to the next function and corner the people in charge and let them know you want more, and state how and why.
Well put, ip_wirelessly.
And to help people through the IDSA website jungle, here's the page with the email addresses of the board:

http://www.idsa.org/webmodules/articles ... ?a=62&z=32

...and of the local chapters:

http://www.idsa.org/webmodules/articles ... ?a=68&z=34

and of the specialist sections (most people don't even know they exist....!)

http://www.idsa.org/webmodules/articles ... ?a=69&z=34

February 13th, 2007, 2:07 pm

velodesigner
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this discussion is interesting. I dig IDSA. I love Core. I have to say the best thing going for idsa right now are the podcasts...though the "director of communication for IDSA" sounds disinterested, disconnected and a bit snooty...almost like he isn't listening to the person talking. as far as idsa, I haven't renewed my membership for awhile now. I should do that. Everyone should.

Of note IDSA has done one hell of a job making ID a mainstream thing...seriously it is much different now than even 5 years ago. If you wonder what that gets you??...it gets you jobs, it provides creative license and trust, it provides strategic opportunities within companies that might otherwise reward other skillsets not design. It is bigger than the goofing off or debating or networking here at core.
that said, IDSA needs some work. our profession is about generating value and it seems a lot of people don't perceive much value out of idsa. that is sad.
but
core is where it is at.
if I could get a core77 membership bracelet I would wear it daily...or dogtags please please!

February 13th, 2007, 10:42 pm

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micberryman
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In the interest of full disclosure, I’m the new President of IDSA and I’m one of the moderators for the Design in Asia forum on Core77. I’m active in both arenas because I find value in both. To me, Core77 and IDSA are very different entities that serve different purposes and appeal to different needs.

FWIW, IDSA is a 501 c(6) non profit organization.

I agree with a lot of what’s been written not just in this discussion, but in others as well. There are things that IDSA does that could certainly be better. Improvement is always an option. It’s very important to realize that IDSA relies heavily on volunteer effort at every level of the organization. I have a full time job running a consulting firm in Atlanta. The time I spend participating in IDSA activities and representing IDSA is time not spent working for my clients, building my business or focusing on my family life. My ongoing 7-year kitchen renovation is a testament to that. It takes a LOT of energy, enthusiasm and effort to run a successful Chapter and provide dynamic events and meaningful content, particularly at the local level. It’s also a fairly thankless task, which is unfortunate because the people who put forth the effort do so for the entire design community and they do it because they have passion for design.

There are a lot of things that IDSA does that happen quietly and without a lot of fan fare. Often, these things simply can’t be duplicated by Core77. The infrastructure, global connections and gravitas just isn’t there. On Core77, we are primarily designers talking to designers. At IDSA, we are designers talking to each other and to the business community, government entities and the education community. Here are a few things to think about off the top of my head:

The Okala Ecological Design Curriculum: The Eco-Design Section and the IDSA staff wrote a grant proposal and received $92,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a curriculum on sustainable design. Volunteers (Philip White, Steve Belletire & Louise St. Pierre) worked tirelessly to make this happen. The result is amazing – and free for you to download (http://www.idsa.org/whatsnew/sections/e ... okala.html ) More than 40 design programs across the U.S. and Canada are now using this curriculum. This means a better education for our students, more environmental awareness and knowledge of proven, sustainable ideas for material selection and manufacturing processes. The curriculum is a living entity as well. Even though it’s only a couple of years old, it’s already being updated to match the new EPA standards. As designers, we all benefit from this. Our economy and our environment benefit as well.

The Eco-Design Section also maintains a list of tools for practicing professionals: http://www.idsa.org/whatsnew/sections/e ... ional.html

Legal Protection: The Design Protection Section of IDSA serves as the silent guardian of intellectual property rights and design patent litigation in the U.S. They continually monitor cases before the courts in the US and they routinely file third-party, friend of the court Amicus Curiae briefs on behalf of IDSA in order to maintain the legal protections that we need as designers. IDSA pays for the filing fees and supports this initiative. Again, we all benefit.

IDSA provides annual scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.

The relationship IDSA has fostered over the last 19 years with BusinessWeek has arguably been the single most influential thing to happen to industrial design in my lifetime (I’m under 40). It opened the door to the business community and gave industrial design a credible voice in the Boardroom. It has allowed us to celebrate design success (IDEA, Designs of the Decade, The Design & Business Catalyst Awards, Making Innovation Work podcast series, etc.) in a very public way with the audience that employs us and comprises our client base. This relationship has made business aware of design and the value of design in ways never imagined previously. It’s one of the reasons our profession has grown so rapidly over the last 20 years. It’s also one of the reasons that designers are more and more frequently achieving vice-president and board level positions in the corporate world. We still have a long way to go, but the journey is getting easier every day. IDSA very actively fosters this relationship and other media relationships, diligently looking for opportunities to highlight design and spread the message about our role in the innovation economy.

IDSA communicates with government agencies – foreign and domestic – looking for information about design and contacts in the design community.

IDSA maintains relationships globally that provide business networking, advocacy and speaking opportunities for our members. Recent examples include Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, the design conference in Wuxi in November and the joint event held yesterday at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Connecting 07 Congress, jointly sponsored by IDSA and ICSID, in San Francisco this fall will bring designers from across the globe to meet and participate in a global dialogue on design. The last time (1985) a world design congress was held in the US, the attendance was over 2,000. This year’s congress may well attract as many as 3,000 attendees.

IDSA and Core already collaborate on several things including portfolio reviews at every IDSA conference – regional and national. We are always looking for new opportunities to work together that will benefit the overall design community. It’s a good relationship. Many, many IDSA members are active on Core as participants in the discussions, as content contributors and as moderators. In many ways, we’re the same community, but like I said in the beginning, we serve different purposes.

For virtual community and the pulse of what’s happening – particularly with younger designers, Core’s the place to be. For integration with the business community and professional networking, IDSA is the place to be.

February 14th, 2007, 12:34 pm

josht
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Great response micberryman! Obviously I've misunderstood the pros and cons of both of these organizations and I appreciate you pointing out alot of the benefits provided to us by IDSA that are often overlooked or never seen.
I'm definetly familiar with the portfolio reviews held at the various IDSA conferences and how much they can help aspiring designers. I guess to evolve my thoughts further, I would love to see more and more of this kind of integration (as it seems most others in this post do too) between the two organizations. As your post and a couple of other responses have shown to me, one of the unfortunate realities with IDSA is the fact that their members aren't as informed with the everyday news of the organization as Core77's "members" are. This disconnect leads to confusion, and eventual contempt when asked what our money gets us. All most members see is Design Perspectives, Innovation Magazine, local IDSA events (which vary in quality), and Conventions (if they can afford to go). Though all of these are very well run, a cheaper and more frequent news source may be more beneficial to the organization and it's members by informing them of IDSA's current goals, it's achievements, and any other noteworthy events (much like Core77). One suggestion might be taking the information that normally would go into Design Perspectives with an online replacement that could be updated more frequently and be more readily accessible.
All that being said, the discussions on this forum have definetly altered my viewpoint from my initial post, largely in part to yours and everyone else's response. I'd like to think that this type of education on a much broader scale, like what I'm suggesting above, would continue to enlighten others.

February 14th, 2007, 4:28 pm

ksylv
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HI micberryman!! Wow idsa does all that ...there ...I didn't know any of those things.. i doubt any of this information is on the idsa website ..if it is ...then it's lost in the jungle of that websites..Maybe the big problem with idsa is that the website is just useless I actually hate looking for information on that website it's just a mess...



[quote="micberryman"]In the interest of full disclosure, I’m the new President of IDSA and I’m one of the moderators for the Design in Asia forum on Core77. I’m active in both arenas because I find value in both. To me, Core77 and IDSA are very different entities that serve different purposes and appeal to different needs.

FWIW, IDSA is a 501 c(6) non profit organization.

I agree with a lot of what’s been written not just in this discussion, but in others as well. There are things that IDSA does that could certainly be better. Improvement is always an option. It’s very important to realize that IDSA relies heavily on volunteer effort at every level of the organization. I have a full time job running a consulting firm in Atlanta. The time I spend participating in IDSA activities and representing IDSA is time not spent working for my clients, building my business or focusing on my family life. My ongoing 7-year kitchen renovation is a testament to that. It takes a LOT of energy, enthusiasm and effort to run a successful Chapter and provide dynamic events and meaningful content, particularly at the local level. It’s also a fairly thankless task, which is unfortunate because the people who put forth the effort do so for the entire design community and they do it because they have passion for design.

There are a lot of things that IDSA does that happen quietly and without a lot of fan fare. Often, these things simply can’t be duplicated by Core77. The infrastructure, global connections and gravitas just isn’t there. On Core77, we are primarily designers talking to designers. At IDSA, we are designers talking to each other and to the business community, government entities and the education community. Here are a few things to think about off the top of my head:

The Okala Ecological Design Curriculum: The Eco-Design Section and the IDSA staff wrote a grant proposal and received $92,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a curriculum on sustainable design. Volunteers (Philip White, Steve Belletire & Louise St. Pierre) worked tirelessly to make this happen. The result is amazing – and free for you to download ([url]http://www.idsa.org/whatsnew/sections/e ... okala.html[/url] ) More than 40 design programs across the U.S. and Canada are now using this curriculum. This means a better education for our students, more environmental awareness and knowledge of proven, sustainable ideas for material selection and manufacturing processes. The curriculum is a living entity as well. Even though it’s only a couple of years old, it’s already being updated to match the new EPA standards. As designers, we all benefit from this. Our economy and our environment benefit as well.

The Eco-Design Section also maintains a list of tools for practicing professionals: [url]http://www.idsa.org/whatsnew/sections/e ... ional.html[/url]

Legal Protection: The Design Protection Section of IDSA serves as the silent guardian of intellectual property rights and design patent litigation in the U.S. They continually monitor cases before the courts in the US and they routinely file third-party, friend of the court Amicus Curiae briefs on behalf of IDSA in order to maintain the legal protections that we need as designers. IDSA pays for the filing fees and supports this initiative. Again, we all benefit.

IDSA provides annual scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.

The relationship IDSA has fostered over the last 19 years with BusinessWeek has arguably been the single most influential thing to happen to industrial design in my lifetime (I’m under 40). It opened the door to the business community and gave industrial design a credible voice in the Boardroom. It has allowed us to celebrate design success (IDEA, Designs of the Decade, The Design & Business Catalyst Awards, Making Innovation Work podcast series, etc.) in a very public way with the audience that employs us and comprises our client base. This relationship has made business aware of design and the value of design in ways never imagined previously. It’s one of the reasons our profession has grown so rapidly over the last 20 years. It’s also one of the reasons that designers are more and more frequently achieving vice-president and board level positions in the corporate world. We still have a long way to go, but the journey is getting easier every day. IDSA very actively fosters this relationship and other media relationships, diligently looking for opportunities to highlight design and spread the message about our role in the innovation economy.

IDSA communicates with government agencies – foreign and domestic – looking for information about design and contacts in the design community.

IDSA maintains relationships globally that provide business networking, advocacy and speaking opportunities for our members. Recent examples include Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, the design conference in Wuxi in November and the joint event held yesterday at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Connecting 07 Congress, jointly sponsored by IDSA and ICSID, in San Francisco this fall will bring designers from across the globe to meet and participate in a global dialogue on design. The last time (1985) a world design congress was held in the US, the attendance was over 2,000. This year’s congress may well attract as many as 3,000 attendees.

IDSA and Core already collaborate on several things including portfolio reviews at every IDSA conference – regional and national. We are always looking for new opportunities to work together that will benefit the overall design community. It’s a good relationship. Many, many IDSA members are active on Core as participants in the discussions, as content contributors and as moderators. In many ways, we’re the same community, but like I said in the beginning, we serve different purposes.

For virtual community and the pulse of what’s happening – particularly with younger designers, Core’s the place to be. For integration with the business community and professional networking, IDSA is the place to be.[/quote]

February 16th, 2007, 12:51 am

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Thought I'd chime is as well...

I, too, should disclose that I moderate the Core77 Materials Discussion Board, contribute the Materials blog at Core and serve as the Chair of the IDSA Materials and Processes Section. So, I too have my foot in both worlds...

To start with, I totally agree that Core has a ton more sex appeal than IDSA to the average young industrial designer coming out of school (it is free after all). The challenge within IDSA has always been to try to figure how to draw and hold the interest of the younger designers.

I remember when I was coming out of school in the early '90's and feeling pretty much alone out in the big scary professional world, that IDSA was where I could meet other designers to get advice on my portfolio and guidance on where to go and do after graduating from design school. But, at the time, IDSA was still coming out of its "old boys club" and was still an intimidating places to be ("I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy").

With the Internet and Core, students and young graduates have a virtual place they can go to feel like a part of the designer community, even if they are still trying to figure out how to be a designer. But what about the physical community? I know that Core sponsors a lot of social events, but it's the local as well as national IDSA event that I really get a lot out of. If you’ve never gone to an IDSA event, I highly recommend it - particularly the District conferences. It's a great mix of students, young designers and seasoned professionals that give you an opportunity to do the kind of networking you just can't do through a blog or discussion board.

I totally agree that having Core does force IDSA to reconsider how it presents itself to the designer community through it web site. Core kicks ass. But the two organizations are run so differently that I have a hard time imagining IDSA's site to ever have the same buzz that Core has.

For one reason, Core site is run by designers and most of it contributors are designers. It's pretty wide open and that's what makes it so appealing. Core generates revenue through advertising which IDSA does not (yet).

The other thing to keep in mind is that the IDSA administration (other than the elected board) that does the day-to-day running of IDSA is not largely comprised of designers. So, a lot of the content that people want to see has to be provided by its members, and those members have day jobs that can keep them from contributing as much as they would like.

I agree that many new members or those looking to become IDSA members don't really know what IDSA has to offer or how to participate. I have suggested IDSA create a "user's manual" of sorts that would give member a clear idea of how they can immediately start participating and, more importantly, start getting some of the benefits of membership. We'll see if we can get that manual underway soon.

For me personally, I have to credit IDSA with the last 3 jobs I have held as an industrial designer. My contacts within IDSA have allowed me to get information and guidance from many professionals whose advice I truly value. And I'm talking about more than a response on a discussion board. I think that $300 (or even up to $2000 for conferences and travel) per year is a pretty fair investment in exchange for a good contacts and leads for your next design job.

Each has it place. I see IDSA as the outside face of Industrial design to the broader product development community and Core is more of a social community of designers. I think both have and will coexist very well. But IDSA definitely needs to do a better job explaining to the membership how they help them in their professional lives and addressing the needs of the broader industrial designer community.

Warren
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tyr
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or non-members of IDSA...

great comments and discussion points by all here. Outside of Michelle's excellent elaboration of both organizations and what IDSA does that many folks may not know about -- I thought both paulH and warrenginn's comments were right on target.
If you are unhappy, unsatisfied or want to be heard then you have to step up to the plate and get involved. Email your chapter chair, district vice president or any other current board member to express your valuable thoughts and point of view. Sign up to be an officer locally to make a grass roots impact. Work with a board member and sign up nationally for a task force to look deeper into an idea, member benefit, or other wise that you might have. [/b]
Designers, myself included are notoriously good at whining at times. You can't really complain if you are not involved. IDSA has changed drastically over the past 5 years and is heading for many more positive changes and growth in the near term. The youth, new, long-time or lost members all will play a key role in the direction the organization takes. I spend a lot of time doing both IDSA and Core activities and see a HUGE benefit in both organizations but they are very different. I think you will see much more collaboration between the two organizations moving into the future. YOU can make a difference by submitting ideas on how they might partner together - be it tactically or strategically. Having both these organization strong and vital is in the best interest of all of us as individual designers and most importantly the future of the design profession.
Ty S. Rarick, IDSA
Director of Product Development & Strategy

Pacific Design - www.pacificdesign.com
e: tyr@pacificdesign.com - 512 418 0600 x204

March 18th, 2007, 1:08 pm

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ACCDMBA
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mberryman,
From what you're saying it sounds like IDSA is becoming a niche representative for educational, multi-nationals, and eco-design.
I left IDSA because the organization was no longer responsive to its core constituent; working designers at small and medium design firms and in-house teams. These groups NEED IDSA's support because, like you, they are the working men and women of the design industry.
I call IDSA a zombie; IDSA is dead, it just doesn't know it yet.
I am saving the dues I would pay IDSA in order to gift them to any organization that can actively deliver the following:
- Successfully lobby congress for tax credits that benefit a majority of industrial design.
- Self-sustain through government (state and federal) research grants, business sponsorship, and value-add services (look at Frost and Sullivan for a model).
- Provides only a few membership events that are of exceptional quality, attracting audience members from outside the design industry (IDSA puts on about 22 annual events, plus up to 300 monthly events, way way too much to maintain quality, make the events a must-attend (again F&S is a good model)
- Represent only working designers, who are working in the US. IDSA does not focus on the majority of its membership, because of its structure it can only react to those members with the most disposable time and/or $. Yet, because IDSA thinks it needs to be everything for everybody it has aggressively expanded membership to all comers.
- Provides professional credentials which can simply be based on education and years of practice. It can be simple and inclusive, but IDSA's organization is archaic and cumbersome, leadership has short terms, little authority and many many hoops that make it much easier to keep the status quo. Meeting a mechanical engineer with IDSA credentials was the straw that broke IDSA for me
- Is run like a business. IDSA is currently a charity, with volunteer leadership at all levels, if it truly provided benefit it would be able to demand fees and pay for professional leadership (look at DMI for an example). Of all the arguments discussing IDSA's failures, this is proof. I've heard from IDSA leaders a million times that 'it just has to be this way', that's only because IDSA is stuck in the past, unwilling to make decisions and unable to make changes.
Last edited by ACCDMBA on March 18th, 2007, 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

March 18th, 2007, 1:14 pm

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ACCDMBA
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If you want to change an organization sometimes it's better to kill it first.
I don't agree that people who want to change IDSA should simply volunteer more of their time to it. This is because IDSA's structure does not allow for change agents to successfully influence the process, agenda, or decisions.
Instead, I promote that in order to change the representation of industrial design in America we must first create a void in the marketplace. We must first remove the status quo, IDSA, from designer's options and instead allow entrepreneurs and the free market to create a new organization(s) that are more responsive to customer needs.

March 18th, 2007, 10:27 pm

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viva la revolution! I like it.
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