I did a presentation at the Image, Space, Object conference in August on the topic of Story & Emergent Design – afterwards one of the participants came up and said they enjoyed the talk, and especially the part where I said that I have a tough time explaining to my mother what it is that I do for a living. It occurs to me that this is a fairly serious issue for people who do design research and strategy – or at least it is for me. If my mother doesn’t understand, will anyone else?
I often find myself offering up an ‘elevator pitch’ to people I meet and, given their typical response, I think it’s fair to say that if I happened to be riding up with Steve Jobs at One Infinite Loop, I’d be out of a job before I reached the fourth floor. Or maybe not, Jobs is known as being fairly design savvy. But it’s a tough one to explain at a cocktail party.
Fortunately for me and my livelihood, there is an increasing awareness of how design strategy can help to inform business decisions. Quite a bit of my work is focused on interaction design (websites, social networking, publishing strategy, etc.), so it tends to come through the communications, marketing, or information technology groups at organizations.