This is the second entry from the 34th Annual Design Management Institute conference titled, Design Complexity and Change. And it was a great day
John Maeda, the current President of the Rhode Island School of Design and the former MIT Professor of Media Arts and Associate Director of the MIT Media Lab, gave an inspirational presentation on Creative Leadership. He spoke about his experiences during the first year at RISD, and the inherent conflicts of the artist as administrator at one of the most respected centers for creative learning in the country. .
His current gig at RISD allows him to view first hand the intersection of education, art and design, and he spoke eloquently about his perceptions of the similarities and differences between the two disciplines. He suggested that artists are great at asking questions, while designers create solutions.
He also spoke about the traditional role of technology to support business, and more importantly how design thinking is now being included in much of this decision-making. Interestingly he feels that art, or more specifically the unique ability of artists to ask questions, may be the future fourth element in business decision-making.
But it was his observations about science that caught my attention. He suggested a very clear and concise analogy for the role of design in business. He maintains that engineers are to science what designers are to art. Designers bring logic and methodology to the arts just as engineers bring reality to raw science.
This seems like a wonderfully clear way for designers to demonstrate an unmistakable distinction between the discipline of their creative methodology and the role of an artist. Again artists ask questions, while designers create solutions.