Last week the School of Visual Arts hosted IDSANYC’s latest Inspiration Lounge event, presenting the dual themes of “The Bottom Line” and “Transformable.” The event’s idea-provoking, cross-pollinating approach highlights speakers with inspirational viewpoints and work, and is used as a forum to share and apply design thinking across industries.
The first presenter of the evening was Dr. Mary McBride, partner at Strategies for Planned Change and Chair of the graduate Design Managemement and Arts & Cultural Management programs at Pratt Institute. Dr. McBride’s lecture on “The Bottom Line” focused on what designers can do to distinctively impact the financial gains of companies. Trained in a 4D approach (discover, define, design and deliver), most designers are experts in the discovery phase and use this as a strategic approach to brilliant design, new ideas, and new opportunities. However, business often does not see this as an advantage, but rather as an obstacle to get to the next phases, define and deliver.
A more strategic approach however, advises Dr. McBride, would be to keep discovering and defining concurrently as part of a joint-strategy process. This concept was presented as a visual model, incorporating people, profit and planet for a truly sustainable enterprise. The “Triple Bottom Line by Design” or TBLD approach demonstrates how design adds this strategic value to a business, and through this directly impacts the bottom line. A design manager’s role is effectively to manage people and the earth’s resources to create lasting economic value. In essence they should “lead as if life matters.”
Chuck Hoberman took the stage next, with “Transformable” highlighting his creations as founder and president at Hoberman Associates. A self-described “mechanism inventor”, Hoberman takes architectural and sculptural approach to his work to design objects that transform themselves. Hoberman’s most well known work may be the Hoberman sphere, yet he has a vast expanse of other creations featured in galleries, expanding across concert stages and even arching over the opening ceremony at the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City, Utah.
One of Hoberman Associates very noteworthy ventures is the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI), launched in 2008 in collaboration with Buro Happold and “dedicated to designing a new generation of buildings that optimize their configuration in real time by responding to environmental changes.” With the intent to not only adapt but also counter global warming, Hoberman’s sustainably minded structures move as needed to maintain solar and thermal comfort. The adaptive architecture can be seen across the world including Estonia, Japan, Spain, the UAE, London, Boston and New York City.
Through their work, both Dr. Mary McBride and Chuck Hoberman demonstrate the importance and responsibility of designers. They seek to demonstrate the value of design on our economies, our societies, and our biosphere. Their IDSANY Inspiration Lounge forum brought inspiration to a crowd of designers, design managers, and strategists to not just design, but to transform. So how can “The Bottom Line” and “Transformable” be cross-pollinated as IDSANYC asks for us to do? We have no doubt that the crowd of inspiration seekers who attended the forum can probably come up with a few brilliant ideas.