2019: Charting a Path Forward

In recent years, the Design Forward Alliance (DFA) began an important conversation about the passion for design here in San Diego, and our commitment to Human-Centered Design as a catalyst for business growth, social good and prosperity.

First, a little context. The Design Forward Alliance (a volunteer-run, 501c3 nonprofit organization) is an outgrowth of the UC San Diego's Design Lab’s early vision to build a vibrant design-driven economy here in San Diego. Beginning with the inaugural Design Forward Summit in 2016, the second Summit in 2017, and the San Diego Business Camp: Design in 2018, the DFA has served as a valued convener and advocate for the design community. These events attracted hundreds of attendees and committed volunteers, as well as a broad cross-section of leaders from the design, business and civic communities.

However, the time is right to build on these successes and take what we’ve done to the next level. This is a unique moment in time — our region is rich with opportunities for expanded collaboration between business and design professionals; new alliances among design-focused organizations; and fresh initiatives to retain superior talent and cultivate Human-Centered Design leadership. These ideas are just a starting point to stimulate our collective input.

Our overriding goal for 2019 is to hear from the community:

  • What are your challenges and how can we best work together?

  • What’s working well in the design community, and where do we fall short?

  • How can we build San Diego’s capacity as a leader and global role model for the value of design-centered innovation in creating a more prosperous and inclusive future?

  • Is the World Design Capital designation something we all should collectively pursue?

The past three years have been about creating flagship events that unite the community, yet, we got ahead of ourselves.

In 2019, the Design Forward Summit will not take place as it has in the past. We feel it’s important not to create just another event, but rather, generate something of meaning and substance that may take years to build and a community to come together.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas below.