Let’s make design work in a business context

I totally agree with Mark Delaney’s point (DW 22 June). We are inundated with design – so much so that it has largely become a commodity.

The golden commercial era of the 1980s and 1990s appears to have killed many of our ideals (I was weaned on the likes of Victor Papanek and Stefan Szczelkun), and we have failed to turn it into a real profession.

In my experience, many designers (including myself) struggle within a business context, which is why I have decided to try do something about that part of the problem.

I believe that product design needs to be more evidence-based if it is to sustain itself into the future, especially as, arguably, many of the vocational skill sets that predominate are transferable around the globe.

Consequently, I now spend part of my time with the Department of Design and Technology at Loughborough University investigating a strategy for the future education of creativity and innovation, using an interactive mix of research and teaching.

My colleague Paul Wormald and I believe that by encouraging students to work within the context of an organisation’s vision and its business and brand strategy, and by taking a scientific (but still creative) approach to new production development, we will nurture a new generation of souls that will make product design accountable, genuinely influence a business’s success and give the job back its standing.

Perhaps if we become a serious profession, we can revisit ideals, because people might be more inclined to take us seriously.

Michael Rodber, Director, Jones Garrard Move, Leicester LE2 2PF

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