Bill O’Connor was kind enough to send me an early comment on my recent blog post on Design and the corporation. He has given me permission to reproduce a portion of these remarks here. Thank you, Bill.
I wondered, is design in some recurrent cycle of boom and bust affected by the patronage of the essential economic engines – manufacturing, finance, IT et al? Design by it’s essence seems to be a creature of, well, design, and like so many activities that thrive at the pleasure of the culture design seems to be frequently in need of reinventing itself, more frequently, it seems to me, than other creative, problem-solving enterprises.
When design du jour becomes unfashionable and creativity yields to manifest rationality design looses its business patron, its economic platform gets shaky and design businesses close or contract or morph into some other expression.
Maybe we’re in one of those periods now and design stars, whose lumens are dimming, are navigating to the safe haven of the corporate port. Fickle corporate patrons in their search for the next new advantage that they’re unable to conjure themselves discover and then devour these weird and wild odd-thinkers.
The predictable MO seems so let’s acquire it, keep it from our competitors, bring it in-house and mange it better – better for our purposes and our bottom line……..like capturing the butterfly, putting it in a controlled, safe space in the study and observing it and taking care of it. We know where that goes.
The design business seems to suffer from perilous dilution by pretenders, poseurs, immitators and wannabes. The word itself seems over-extended and over applied to the point of dilution. Design is a transitive verb.