Someone once asked me what I meant when I said that design a conversation about the future. Well, that depends on your understanding of design and on your understanding of conversation. Design inherently lives in the future. And if it’s not a singular expression of self, it is most certainly a conversation about that future. Let me explain. Design lives in the future because its entire raison d’être is to see the future: opportunities, challenges, possibility. The future as we all know is, by definition, unknown. Design lives here, thinking about what could be —something or some idea which does not currently exist. To the mainstream, that might mean a poster not yet realized, an advertisement which exists only in one person’s mind.
To the design leader it might mean an entire business model that will turn every other business model on its head. It might mean a teaching method that reaches that other 80% of students not currently served by the narrow teaching methods of today.
Design is a conversation rather than a singular narrative. It is that because design does not exist without conversation — a hell of a lot of conversation.
Real design can’t be realized without the clearest of definition. And clear definition cannot be had without triangulating in dozens of directions with every stakeholder, real or imagined, that the future design will affect. Triangulation is conversation; checking in; listening; hearing the echo. Design is a conversation.