Call to Action

Designers Asked to Rally Behind MD Design Excellence and Innovation Commission

By Feb. 24, 2017, designers are being asked to push for legislation to be introduced in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly that would establish the Maryland Design Excellence and Innovation Commission. "There is no better time than now to contact your delegates and senators to support design-driven initiatives on a state level," say organizers Stephanie Yoffee and Kathleen Mazurek. "We need your help in contacting Annapolis legislators (via email, in person or phone) to sign on as a sponsor." See MarylandbyDesign for updates and to sign on to support the legislation.

The drive to create a commission, endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America in 2017, would:

  • distinguish design in all its manifestations for innovations in both the public and private sectors;
  • further the evidence of how design impacts innovation in government and industry;
  • measure discrete economic, social and educational benefits of design activity in all its manifestations; and 
  • apply economic, social, and educational outcomes of design activity to important public policy issues for Maryland including but not limited to: best practices for the natural and built environment, accessibility, and the delivery of public sector services.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee held public hearings on Feb. 16 and 17, 2016 on the expected mission, goals and efforts of the Commission. The Commission's goals would include convening state government leaders to discuss how design-led innovation can be implemented in state government programs and services.

Among those who traveled to Annapolis to speak—Byron Bloch, IDSA. He addressed the need for a central, higher education design program in Maryland. “That has to be put together in a cohesive way,” Bloch told Senators. “Right now, it’s all scattered…. I’m passionate about why Maryland is too far behind. We need to be leaders.”
 
In April 2015, IDSA Executive Director Daniel Martinage, CAE, expressed IDSA’s support of the legislation to create the commission. In a letter to the leaders of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee, Martinage wrote IDSA believes the commission “will develop design-driven innovation programs and outcomes—fostering sustainable economic development, competitive job growth, effective government services and livable communities for all Maryland citizens.”
 
Yoffee and Mazurek say they drive also has been endorsed by AIGA Baltimore, and is developing partnerships with Open Works, Baltimore Innovation Village, Morgan State University, MICA and Stanley Black and Decker.