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Embracing Design at a National Level

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Thomas Lockwood, President, DMI


One of the greatest pleasures of being a staff member of DMI is the opportunity to establish and maintain multi-year relationships with design leaders in industry, education, and government. As president, one of the more fascinating aspects of my role lies in expanding these relationships. The increasing role of government-sponsored design councils in promoting design throughout a country for the betterment of business and society is of particular importance. Hence this issue of the Design Management Review. In just the last couple of years, I've had the pleasure of developing programming with national design councils in England, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Austria, Brazil, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China. This allows me not only to observe what is going on around the world at the governmental level, but also to meet design leaders in all these countries. on this "macro” level, there is tremendous interest in the role of design and of design management, and it's a pleasure to me to be part of DMI's commitment to connect design leaders with the inspiration, knowledge, and community they need to succeed. Here's a recent example: Last winter, the government of Finland invited me to participate in a government Meets Design three-day workshop in Helsinki. A relatively small group of 120 people from around the world was selected to look into topics from innovation to leadership, education, sustainability, and policy. They picked architects, sociologists, policy makers, business executives, entrepreneurs, industrial designers, communicators, engineers, and, yes, design managers to help them probe into the future. i found it so inspiring and encouraging that a national government would sponsor such an event. you may feel the same way when you look through this issue of the Review. We have looked into the connections between government and design by inviting papers from around the world. The result is a broad sampling of thoughts on evaluating design policy and leveraging design's value. even more encouraging is the increased interest in design for social benefit and its role in social change. indeed, design's role is expanding beyond artifacts, communications, and experiences; and national design leaders are using design not just as a means of solving problems but also as a way of determining what problems really need to be solved. The whole notion of "business transformation” can indeed be shifted to "government transformation” if we dare try. Let's expand the role and impact of design management and the benefits of great design thinking. I hope you enjoy this issue.




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