NEW VEN­TURES

Julie Anix­ter from AIGA and Doug Powell from IBM ex­plain how their new part­ner­ship could help shape the fu­ture of de­sign

Computer Arts - - Contents -

Julie Anix­ter from AIGA and Doug Powell from IBM dis­cuss how their ground­break­ing new part­ner­ship could help shape the fu­ture of de­sign

Amer­i­can de­sign or­gan­i­sa­tion AIGA has re­cently an­nounced a part­ner­ship with IBM in or­der to train a new gen­er­a­tion of de­sign lead­ers. IBM will serve as the first of­fi­cial AIGA Spon­sor for De­sign Lead­er­ship, de­ploy­ing its ex­per­tise across AIGA’s net­work. But why? And who will ben­e­fit? AIGA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Julie Anix­ter and Doug Powell, a de­signer at IBM, ex­plain...

What’s wrong with de­sign lead­er­ship?

Doug Powell: De­sign is un­der­go­ing a mas­sive change, with de­sign­ers hav­ing in­flu­ence in or­gan­i­sa­tions that pre­vi­ously didn’t value our con­tri­bu­tion. This will re­quire a whole set of skills that many de­sign­ers don’t yet pos­sess.

Julie Anix­ter: Are de­sign­ers ready to solve com­plex busi­ness is­sues? Doug talks about IBM’s de­sign­ers play­ing a role in cy­ber­se­cu­rity, for ex­am­ple. De­sign lead­er­ship needs to en­sure that de­sign­ers can tackle any­thing.

How will this new part­ner­ship be­tween IBM and AIGA help ad­dress that?

JA: For AIGA, this is a very spe­cial op­por­tu­nity to give our mem­bers a win­dow into IBM’s de­sign jour­ney. IBM is in the midst of a de­sign trans­for­ma­tion. They’re creating a global cul­ture of de­sign and de­sign think­ing. The ed­u­ca­tion, mo­men­tum and in­spi­ra­tion we’ll re­ceive through this part­ner­ship will ac­cel­er­ate our mem­bers’ growth, and the de­sign pro­fes­sion as a whole.

DP: At IBM we see our role in the broader de­sign pro­fes­sional com­mu­nity to be vi­tal to our mis­sion of cul­ture change. As de­sign­ers grow and de­velop across the in­dus­try, it el­e­vates all our busi­nesses. As the largest, most es­tab­lished de­sign or­gan­i­sa­tion, AIGA is the best part­ner for this.

Who can get in­volved?

DP: This is very clearly tar­get­ing those who place a value on AIGA mem­ber­ship. Our pro­gram­ming will be lim­ited to AIGA mem­bers, and will be de­liv­ered in part­ner­ship with AIGA Chap­ters.

What will IBM be re­spon­si­ble for?

DP: As the role of de­sign­ers ex­pands, the com­plex­i­ties of the sit­u­a­tions we’re work­ing within – and the prob­lems we’re ad­dress­ing – also ex­pand. This means that de­sign­ers need to be adept in skills like fa­cil­i­ta­tion, teach­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

This new part­ner­ship aims to help AIGA mem­bers to quickly master those skills, and test this model. IBM will be re­spon­si­ble for train­ing and pro­vid­ing lead­er­ship on AIGA Task Forces, as well as shar­ing rel­e­vant con­tent.

What sorts of top­ics will be cov­ered in IBM’s quar­terly de­sign leader train­ing sum­mits?

DP: De­sign think­ing as an in­clu­sive, col­lab­o­ra­tive, prob­lem-solv­ing prac­tice will be at the core of the pro­gram­ming. What hap­pens at the end of the part­ner­ship’s one-year run? JA: We’ll eval­u­ate, learn, and it­er­ate. Sound fa­mil­iar? DP: Ex­actly. As we like to say at IBM: “Ev­ery­thing is a pro­to­type!”

Doug Powell, far left, is a de­signer and studio lead at IBM and for­mer AIGA pres­i­dent. Julie Anix­ter, left, be­came AIGA pres­i­dent in 2016. www.aiga.org

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