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