Reid Johnson / Autodesk / Program Manager / 03.19.18

Where is design going?

Design is no longer a matter of combining form and function to create dead on arrival products; rather, it will be informed by a tapestry of realtime data and co-created with intelligent software and powerful hardware that extend the designer’s capabilities to create living products that are interconnected, perceptive and capable of improving with time.

How can design education be more relevant?

Computers are getting magnitudes more intelligent and powerful every day. They are now able to produce emotion-filled music, discern photography, solve engineering problems and convert large data sets into product solutions. To stay relevant, design education must embrace technology and consider it as a co-creator of design.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

Rather than imposing their will on a neutral computer as they have done in the past, designers will need to learn how to co-create with computers and robots.

Rather than working as a sole practitioner or on a local team; designers need to learn how to harness the people power of the cloud. The cloud peels back the privateness of the traditional studio and provides the ability for designers to work together openly in global teams.

What should a design school do to prepare students for transdisciplinary work?

Design schools should stop preparing students for transdisciplinary work and start creating leaders.


Other disciplines are hungry for design. In fact, they are now appropriating design concepts such as design studio, design thinking and maker-spaces into their workflows. Design school should take the lead to bring engineering, science and business participants into the design process. The design school should prove that it has the ability to lead and that every Fortune 500 company needs a Chief Design Officer.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

Designers have great power in forwarding equity and inclusion through design.
However, they are often relegated to a back seat behind business and political leaders. Design schools can take a lead in the community to propose designs that foster inclusion and provide solutions for equity challenges.

Reid Johnson


Program Manager

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