Creativity should be boosted by the economic constraints

Christmas is seen as a turning point in the year, with all those shiny New Year’s resolutions on the horizon, only to be broken before January is out.

This year is likely to be different, given the universal squeeze on finance and uncertainty of workloads looming. It’s a time to remember Sir John Sorrell’s observation that design tends to thrive in adversity and that so many great consultancies started out in previous economic downturns. Though life might not be smooth in the immediate future, it won’t all be bad.

Some things might help though, so here’s my Christmas wish list of things I’d like to see under the Christmas tree.

On a national level, it would be interesting to see Peter Mandelson given the Government brief for design and for him to draw a coterie of advisors together from within design, with the brief to act rather than discuss.

It would, meanwhile, be amazing to hear London Mayor Boris Johnson espousing design, with any conviction, as a way of improving social ills in the capital and beyond. He might also usefully appoint a design czar for the 2012 London Olympics – it’s not too late.

On a more local level, it would be great to see a resolution to the impasse between design groups and university ‘design teams’ vying for work. Experienced design practitioners should not be losing out, as many are, to colleges, but there could be scope for greater collaboration between the warring parties.

Within the design community, it would be amazing to see creativity boosted by economic constraint rather than a culture of fear kicking in, with clients struggling to see the value of design as budgets are slashed. Creativity is a way of thinking, not just a visual idea, and that is what will see the best players through.

Most of all, I wish for you to have a wonderful Christmas and to gather your resources during the break to meet the challenges we know lie ahead. Design Week will be back in print on 8 January to chart how you fare.

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