Rick Poynor‘s article for ID, “Down with Innovation”. This was the source of a recent heated discussion on ixda , and I finally got around to reading it… Whew, sorry that I did. A couple unfair mis-quotes from designers, but what got to me is that it’s just so heavily dripping with cynicism wrapped in layers of hubristic pretentiousness. Hopefully a glass of Russian River Pinot will help me forget it, maybe some HBO too :-)
Now I fully realize there’s a vocal contingency of designers (mostly graphic/visual designers it seems?) insulted by “design thinking” and “innovation” as the new black, but look, just get over it or risk further alienating from broader, diverse design community. Design and business need each other…
(And by the way… Eames, Elliot Noyes, Bel Geddes, Florence Knoll, Paul Rand, Jay Doblin all championed design at the strategic business level waaaaay before design fanboy Bruce Nussbaum started waxing poetically in BusinessWeek about “DESIGN” (throw in shrieking teenage girls in the background for effect))
Coming from CMU, I guess I was really fortunate to have acquired a deeper appreciation for the historical and rhetorical bases of these supposedly nouveau concepts, which I’ve written about in earlier postings for the “public good” in the hopes others would learn and get inspired for themselves. Buchanan, Pat Whitney, Roger Martin, Jeanne Liedtka, Tony Golsby-Smith, Vijay Kumar, have alot to share and contribute to this zeitgiest of design/business. Soak it up! You might learn something! All part of the liberal progressive expansion of the process and practice of design.
Oh yeah, and Poynor’s not a designer. He’s a critic. Boo. As a former mentor challenged me several yrs ago, “Do you wanna be a movie critic or the movie director?”. Until I see evidence that Poynor has a) tried to design something demanding the balancing act of technical innovation and human elegance/simplicity (that’s marketable for a business) or b) showcases an attempt at understanding the authentic relationship among innovation, strategy, and design (beyond the journalistic hype of biz magazines or pretentious “cultural speak”), I’m just gonna keep moving on and pretend I didn’t read his overdone diatribe.
(Actually there was one line in the final paragraph I really enjoyed about the “inherent intelligence of beauty”…will definitely research that further, to ahem, learn its full context and meaning)