Major changes in the industry are needed to nurture leadership in design

The discussion on Leadership in Design (DW 5 January) missed a fundamental issue. Design education reinforces the egotistical culture of design. Its philosophy emphasises individual creativity at the expense of collective achievement.

Unlike the lawyer or accountant, the designer gets a late and professionally unsettling start as a political animal. Certain aspects of professionalism are therefore more difficult for designers, such as contributing to a shared body of design knowledge. Putting service to society high on the agenda is another. As a consequence, assuming positions of advocacy and leadership is something that few designers can manage.

It we want leadership now we may have to broaden the net. The Chartered Society of Designers, for instance, should admit competent design managers to full membership. The art-design, design-technology divide in the national curriculum must go.

Finally, design as a research process must be taught so that design knowledge is valued and properly integrated into practice.

Geoff Matthews

Hull School of Architecture

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