Nussbaum: design a process, not product

In his column at BusinessWeek, Are Designers the Enemy of Design?, Bruce Nussbaum reprints a recent speech of his suggesting that designers are their own worst enemy and offers this bit of advice: get over yourself.

He also makes this observation about the evolving role of design that I find interesting:

Maybe the object of design is not a finished product but a set of tools that allow people to design their experiences for themselves. Think iPod and iTunes. Think TiVo. Starbucks. Fortunately, design has tremendous tools. In fact, design has evolved from a simple practice to a powerful methodology of Design Thinking that, I believe, can transform society. By that I mean Design, with a capital D, can move beyond fashion, graphics, products, services into education, transportation, economics and politics. Design can become powerful enough to be an approach to life, a philosophy of life. But it can do so only when Design by Ego ends and Design by Conversation begins.

I don't know how Nussbaum's notion of a "design democracy" will evolve - except to say it probably doesn't mean the kind of cumulative aesthetic achieved at SwarmSketch - but I hope he continues to track the idea. Design-as-process does offer much, much more than a finished product. It might, if the Open Architecture Network is any indication, just narrow the intention deficit.

For another take on the Nussbaum article, check out JustinIdea's "Democratizing Design."


Hat tip: Putting People First