Last week, the Innovators Network hosted a visit by Shinji Yajima, the Director of Program Development at the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO). We are working with Yajima-san on a second program on social design, which will take place in New York in the Spring 2010. A number of companies were incredibly generous with their time–Felissimo/Design 21, CORE77, OPEN, All Day Buffet.
A repeated theme in our meetings was the concept of design thinking. Business is beginning to understand design as more than just aesthetics. One person suggested that the word innovation, a favorite word in businesses, has helped bridge this gap, allowing business to see design as an effective tool for problem-solving; a convergence of business and design. Yajima-san said that he felt American was changing and that people felt empowered, in spite of the current economic climate.
Face-to-face discussions are invaluable and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as we develop our next program on social design. Stay tuned.