We Can Design Our Future History
Philadelphia has been a center for innovation since the founding of the country. One could say the country was designed here. Through the industrial revolution, heralded by the 1876 World Fair in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia was the largest manufacturing center in the country. As industry has left, the city has evolved and experienced a rebirth to become a center for medicine, education and creative services. This is a fitting location for discussing the evolution of our profession and how we practice it. Historically, we design what industry makes, but that has changed in dramatic ways since the inception of industrial design. We are one of the youngest professions and one that was birthed in two different locals based upon differing priorities. This uncertain foundation has not provided the security or confidence in the value of our expertise held by the older professions. On the other hand, in the last 20 years we have gained increased recognition and those that we serve are beginning to recognize the value we offer. We can build upon that momentum by being clearer about and more confident in our value. This will depend on further evolution of our business relationships with clients and our organizations, advancements in education and in professional development—all points we will explore during this presentation. So as the economic cycle comes around again, let’s take some time to imagine how we might make the future ours, how we can better reveal our value, how we can make life better and more sustainable for more people, our clients and ourselves.