For the past two days I attended a small, well-organized design seminar held by the Hong Kong Design Centre on their favourite topic, the business of design. The diverse panel of speakers included Jerome Kathman, Peter Phillips, Simon Bolton and Lorraine Gamman and others who all shared experiences and views on the value of research in design, thought processes and strategy through to measuring brand equity.
I've been to a few of these conferences and workshops in the past and perhaps the most refreshing thing was that most of the audience were not designers, but yet somehow in their work or careers, interact with or deal with design on a daily basis. They are the approvers, decision makers, stakeholders and other people that engage and enable design to happen. For the first time it wasn't a conference about designers and their portfolios rather it was about sharing knowledge and tools, often mistakes and lessons, about how design works in the real world. All this made it a very sobering seminar and creatives got a little scolding from a few members in the panel for often dreaming up things too expensive to produce. At the end of the day what they are all driving at is that better thinking will lead to better design. And that's all we're after.