From Industrial to Strategic Design: The Changing Value of Design

What is Design? What is the value of Design? The course seeks to address these fundamental questions by examining the evolution of design from the birth and rise of Industrial design to today\’s changing landscape of challenges and opportunities. One of the primary premises of the course is that the value of design has shifted from an object oriented endeavor to a strategic planning oriented endeavor.Industrial DesignThis first half of the course will establish a broad framework for design: from the birth and rise of industrial design to its changing competitive value over the decades. It seeks to evaluate legacies of the practice by examining specific case studies that illustrate fundamental principles. Spanning the last 150 years it will establish a broad historical context within which issues of innovation, technology and social value will be further elaborated and questioned: from Thonet\’s innovation in furniture design and manufacturing, to Piaggio\’s Vespa in postwar Italy. Ultimately it will seek to ask the question of \”interest\” and \”value\” in products and the ideological implication of their design. Strategic DesignAfter having tracked the evolution of design from product identity, to brand identity, to national identity, the second half of the course will explore design within today\’s changing global context and needs. In particular the course will introduce the idea of Strategic Design: applying the process of design synthesis to help solve society\’s \’big picture problems\’. To bring depth to this notion, the course will focus on Healthcare and explore design\’s ability to produce innovation and social benefit within this area. We will examine current work in the Stroke Pathways Project- a Harvard Design School led strategic system design project in Healthcare. The project will provide a framework for a design-based methodology, role, and research model that is applicable to other complex problems and questions. In addition to this specific focus, the course will explore the broader landscape of today\’s design challenges and opportunities.Case study presentations from guest lecturers will complement the range of issues discussed. The course will also include a few discussion-based sessions between industry leaders and students. Students will be expected to assume an active role in discussions and debates. Assignments will include weekly readings, a mid-term paper and an informal in-class project. Past guests to the course have included:Dana Cho, IDEO \”Smart Space\”Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business SchoolAntonio Citterio, Antonio Citterio and PartnersJonathan Hayes, Hayes DesignDavid Laituri, BrookstoneBrian Matt, AltitudeAugie Picozza, SunbeamStephen Randall, nVend Darrel Rhea, CheskinElizabeth Teisberg, Darden Business SchoolDan Williams, MotorolaGianfranco Zaccai, Design Continuum