Prince Philip prize honours the seminal work of Ideo founder Bill Moggridge

Who better to represent design as we tackle economic and social change than Bill Moggridge, the worthy winner of this year’s Prince Philip Designers Prize. Throughout his career, the Ideo founder has married design and technology and taken creative thinking way beyond its roots – product design in his case – to effect major breakthroughs.

Moggridge has been a pioneer from the start. He was among the first to open offices overseas in the early days of his London consultancy Moggridge Associates, he reportedly coined the phrase ’interface design’ some 20 years ago when digital design was in its infancy and, through San Francisco-based global group Ideo, which he founded in 1991 with David Kelley and Mike Nuttall, promoted the notion of service design, among other things.

Ideo has long had links with Stanford University, where Kelley is a professor, and with California’s Silicon Valley – the hotbed of digital development. These associations have prompted a holistic attitude to design in business and in a social context, an attitude Moggridge has taken to the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, where he is now director.

It is a pity we weren’t able to tempt him back to the UK when he quit Ideo – and that he couldn’t be in London this week to collect his latest prize. But, with an array of Ideo alumni working within the UK design community, his influence remains.

That roll of honour includes Design Council chief design officer Mat Hunter, Cisco director of customer experience and staunch champion of in-house design Clive Grinyer, Elmwood’s newly appointed ’director of stuff’ Colin Burns, and Prospect’s Richard Eisermann.

Like Moggridge, these designers take leadership in their stride and promote design way beyond the studio. That Moggridge is honoured for his continuing contribution is a fitting tribute to an approach that puts design at the heart of things.

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