11 Sep What is the Design Forward Alliance? Why the heck should you care?
In many informal surveys, people frequently define “design” as either “pretty looking things intended to help companies sell something” or “the way a room is laid out to look aesthetically pleasing”. In short, the word connotes either GRAPHIC design or else INTERIOR design. From the perspective of the Design Forward Alliance (DFA), nothing could be further from the truth. In our opinion, the value of design has morphed into something affectionately known as “human centered design” (HCD). The purpose behind it is finding a way to ensure that things are created to actually achieve any or all of the following:
- increase productivity of users and efficiency of organizations
- be easier to understand and/or use
- extend the range of capabilities and accessibility for a greater audience
- improve user experience;
- reducing discomfort and stress
- provide competitive advantages for products and services
- contribute greater sustainability
By creating HCD with this agenda in mind, the assertion “Form follows Function” can be a reality across every part of the human existence. What this means is that rather than just having ideas look pleasing to the eye, they can be created with the express purpose that they need to actually have a greater purpose. According to IDEO.org, a 501 (c) (3) organization predicated on the premise of using HCD for the betterment of humanity, a design should start with the premise of solving problems.
This brings us to the Design Forward Alliance (DFA) here in beautiful San Diego, California. Given that this sun-blessed coastal paradise is actually renowned for its scenic beauty, it’s somewhat ironic that the DFA’s mission is predicated on finding a meaning for design beyond it creating visually pleasing concepts. Specifically, the DFA is to create a unified effort that promotes the value of professional design and design thinking for better outcomes in business, education, government and the San Diego community. In our estimation, we believe that our mandate is to find ways to trumpet the value of HCD across the globe. A huge goal? Absolutely! One that we can’t achieve? No way!
To start with, the DFA has partnered with the UCSD Design Lab and other key local organizations to “put HCD on the map in SD”. Towards that goal, we have defined the following key goals:
- Promote the value of professional design and its role in design thinking/design doing in San Diego
- Connect design professionals in San Diego with industry, while unifying the design community
- Advocate for San Diego, so the region is recognized as a design-driven innovation economy
The linchpin of all these goals comes together in our Design Forward Summit, a meeting of key HCD minds from all over the world (coming as far away as Singapore). This group of brilliant designers and thought leaders will be gathered at historic Liberty Station from October 25th thru the 27th to challenge us all via HCD, to improve the quality of business, of leisure, even of life itself here in America’s Finest City (a slogan used about San Diego that we didn’t create but are proud to use).
We hope you’ll join us. Together, we will make the world better. By design.