In 2006, we launched an initiative called Change Design. Our intent was to explore how design, with all of its tools and methodologies, could play a more pivotal role in business, organizational performance, and at the broadest scale, human experience. At the time, the business and design worlds were beginning to converge, crossing into each other’s territories more and more, and borrowing best practices from each other. Business schools were launching design programs, and online design and innovation channels were popping up on the sites of some of the most respected business magazines. There was a buzz in the air and it was about the value of innovation and design.
As designers, it’s our job to be curious, to explore, ask questions and to ultimately, come up with solutions. So we took to exploring this phenomenon through a series of workshops, conversations, brainstorming sessions, and panel discussions with visionary thinkers, leaders of prominent corporations and organizations, and fellow designers. We also looked at our own work and methodologies to see how they aligned with what our clients were looking for and what they needed, and how the design process was, in itself, a tool that could bring about the change that many of our clients sought.
The results of these explorations are found in our book, Change Design: Conversations about Architecture as the Ultimate Business Tool. The book is structured as a series of interviews, essays, methodologies, and project stories that make a case for design solutions that can be both beautiful AND meaningful, and that transformative change can happen when we listen, take risks, collaborate, and empathize with our clients, end-users, and our own team members.
Now, seven years and one book (two editions) later—with a lot of lessons learned along the way—we’re still exploring, digging, and designing our way through the many complex problems that our clients and the world face. The conversation is on-going and evolving, and so must our thinking, our processes, and our tools if we want to stay relevant as designers and continue bringing value to the world we live in.