Design in Technology

Design in Tech Report, 2017 [Detail]

Since 2015, John Maeda – working with a talented team – has published an annual Design in Tech Report. This year’s edition was posted in early March and, if you’re in any way involved at the intersection of design and technology, I’d strongly recommend downloading a copy, saving it and reading it.

I’m a little late to this year’s party as my focus of late has been on teaching, writing and running workshops – not to mention taking a little time off from screens – but, as they say, better late than never.

2017’s Design in Tech Report is filled with useful advice. A number of insights leapt off the page for me:

Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.

Few would argue with this, but – surprisingly (as is often the case with key insights) – it’s often overlooked. Design isn’t window dressing, it increasingly lies at the heart of everything we do, and it’s great to see this thinking moving to the fore.

At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum.

Not before time! As an educator, I believe that the most interesting and exciting opportunities that lie ahead sit at the intersection of design and business. (That’s why Tiny Books is focused on exploring the design of business and the business of design.)

Imagine what we could do if we tore down the silos that exist between design and business education? Imagine an MBA with a fundamental design-driven focus, as opposed to design added as an afterthought. That’s a course I’d like to contribute to.

Code is not the only unicorn skill.

As a writer and designer you won’t be surprised to hear that Maeda’s stress on the importance of writing as a core part of the design process appeals to me. Writing is a critical design skill that is all too often overlooked in curricula. Indeed, it’s a skill that will become increasingly valuable with the emergence of conversational interfaces.

(My only, minor, complaint is that the ‘design schools that include writing and content strategy’ singled out in the report are all based in the United States. Design is a global activity, after all.)

If you’re late to the party like me, this year, make haste and download a copy of the report. It’s filled with thought-provoking advice.

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