Monday, September 03, 2007

Q+A With David L. Stallsmith

Strategic design planning and the role of the designer ...

"David L. Stallsmith recently joined us here in Chicago’s Critical Mass outpost. David most recently comes from digital shop Avenue A | Razorfish but has also been a co-owner of a small design consultancy and he’s a product of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design where he earned his Master of Design in Strategic Design Planning (Patrick Whitney’s program). David and I had a chance to catch up and thought it would be fun to do a Q+A here.

... DA: What do you think is the role of the designer in the broader fields of marketing and business in general?
DLS: In most engagements, the designer serves as a proxy for the user. Good designers can empathize with customers -- understanding their problems and pains -- while holding a vision of how things could be made better. In this way, the designer serves as a liason between the capabilities the business has to offer and the opportunities represented by its customers' needs.

DA: What about innovation? Where do you see innovation coming from these days? Where do you think there needs to be more of it?
DLS: So many people are talking about the flattening of the world. For the most part, they're referring to the effects of outsourcing on the U.S. economy. When it comes to innovation, the U.S. has held the title for generations. Today, innovation capabilities are emerging in every part of the world. This is bringing changes to the way we work -- breaking down barriers but also speeding up the pace of innovation.

DA: Do you think there is a common challenge that marketers, designers, and to a broader extent, businesspeople have in common? If so—what would you say that is?
DLS: It's getting harder and harder to draw a distinction between those roles. As the rate of competition and innovation continues to quicken, people who can move between those worlds become more valued. I think having a clear understanding of customers' wants and needs is a invaluable trait in all three of those domains."    (Continued via Logic+Emotion)    [Usability Resources]

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