What’s the impact of crowdsourced design on designers?

I’m off to Toronto in a few weeks to host a daylong symposium called Conversations in Design. This year’s theme is the thorny issue of crowdsourcing, and the curators are bringing in some important voices representing different points of view and different areas of the creative industries. One part of my duties involves interviewing visual artist and novelist Douglas Coupland, a prospect which thrills my inner geek. I’ll also be moderating a discussion between Roo Rogers, of Redscout Ventures and Hunter Tura, of Bruce Mau Design. The (supplied) theme of our conversation: “Does Collaborative Design and Crowdsourcing Negate the Need for Designers?” It’s a provocative question, no? Would love to hear thoughts, experiences, insights–and any questions you might have for any of the day’s participants. Thanks! I’ll post an update here after the event, too.

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5 thoughts on “What’s the impact of crowdsourced design on designers?

  1. Depends what you mean.

    Design has aways been a collaboration of client and designer and end user.

    Crowdsourcing is marketing in a ‘proof of concept’ and product development mode.

    Design is seen as the ‘doing’ bit, and this varies from desk top publishing to architecture.

    People may wish to reduce the influence of designers in the NPD process but for what reasons, other than ego ( I always wanted to be a designer, now I can abuse my position as manager by forcing the designer to do my bidding)

    Some find the NPD process seductive, I did a paper on ‘Sedition of the Gift’ a while back.

    So collaboration and codesign go hand in hand. In Service Design we are hearing the same debate. Is ‘Design Thinking’ designers cutting across managers turf or visa versa?

    If you think that a designer went through a competitive process to gain entry into a vocational education (societies funded filter of talent) and years of practice, some achieving industry peer awards in recognition for excellence in their gift.

    Why would you not want to work with a designer?

  2. Croudsourcing can help define major themes (lot’s of people saying the same thing, but then what? How to translate that theme into something tangible (product/service)? How to judge which embodiment will best satisfy? A designer does that.

    Croudsourcing may identify several hundred unique ideas, but then what? How to choose which one is worth a damn? How to combine the best aspects of one idea with the worst aspects of another to create something radically better than all of them? A designer does that.

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