It’s high time that design dropped the ‘fortress mentality’

Why is it that product design is not getting profile, and is often charging ridiculously low fees for its contribution?

I suggest that a ‘fortress mentality’ is not helping. We know that there are now plenty of competent product designers in Beijing and Mumbai, and they cost a lot less than those in London. Many consultancies want to join the ‘services’ discussion, which is a big one.

To do that it is necessary to embrace collaboration and open working. Design of product service systems is all about multiple stakeholders and shared solutions.

Some company brands may be strong enough to remain a contained ‘beacon’ operation. But many Western European companies are developing to meet the new environment through collaboration, partnerships and openness.

Product design needs to restore its position of influence. It will help to do a bit of attitude introspection in this area – it could give rise to some exciting collaborations.

Mike Goatman, Course director, Cranfield University, by e-mail

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