[This is the first in a series of posts drawn from a sprawling survey we conducted about the state of American design.—Ed.]
This question has been troubling me for some time. Have we lost our edge at a particularly dynamic (and economically troubling) moment in our nation's history? I look around at the aging leadership at the leading American design firms—organizations like frog, IDEO, Continuum and Smart—with some concern. This group has accomplished a huge amount in the last few decades, to be sure, providing design leadership on a global scale.
Bruce Nussbaum was right to close the book on Design Thinking. It is time to move on. Business never really got the message. What businesses continue to care about is innovation. While designers may think that innovation requires Design Thinking, that was an idea that never really stuck in the executive suite. Is "creativity" any different? Most executives will acknowledge that innovation requires some form of creativity. But creativity brings its own baggage.
It's easy to forget the commitments you shared with family and friends in the fading hours of 2010. That's the trick with New Year's resolutions: They rarely stick for very long. We can often chalk these failures up to faults in our hard-wiring; as scientists have shown, our best intentions rarely rule the day. But over the last 12 months I've been interested in looking at how social networks might tip the balance in your favor.
The real road kill this time will not be the Kindle. It will be handheld video gaming devices like Sony's PSP and the Nintendo DS, as Apple establishes a lock on the economics of casual gaming with its newest device.