The Commodification of Design — What’s Next?
Bruce Nussbaum

Design used to be this mysterious process that happened inside a magic black box. If you could look inside the box, you would see a waterfall of events that attempted to construct a rational argument for those solutions most cherished by the creative team. After all the so called “magic” happened, the box would open for a big reveal and then the team had to sell the solution.

That no longer works and is no longer acceptable. Design is everywhere and the mystery is going away. Finally, design is being fully accepted as the problem solving discipline it has always wanted to grow up to be. And it is mature enough to focus on actual outcomes, and to test those outcomes iteratively.

This leaves a whole lot of talented designers scrambling to figure out what’s next, what problems to attack, and how to add greater value in a now commoditized field.

Design culture has been precious about ideas. There has been a tendency to polish and protect them, and more importantly to feel really good about them before putting them into the world. We have to move past this sensibility in order to fully look into the future. This is what the startup culture had to learn. The longer you hold on to it, the more risk it takes on. Ideas want to live and learn. They want to respond to their ever changing environments.

In an age of exponential change, designers have to embrace the uncertainty and learn to thrive on it.

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