Technology Implications on Industrial Design and Education Practitioners

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This article elaborates on technology implications affecting industrial design and its education as part of a knowledge class intermediating between people and environment. Current knowledge-based economy is pushing for design-driven innovation while distance between innovation and production increases. That is creating a new landscape of technology with dramatic cultural and organizational effects. Trade, education, and society have entered a volatile and complex world where isolated incremental product innovations are no longer sufficient to stay abreast of competition. Meanwhile, design and education workers are challenged by a paradox between technology diffusion and adoption in contrast with juxtaposed theoretical models such as those for consumers, history, information literacy, and knowledge. New ideals of design business start-ups and a designer-innovator-entrepreneur should make them well sought after. However, their productivity benefits are limited since many practitioners still rely on flagging traditional achievements in hard technology whilst global firms move manufacturing and R&D offshore. Rethinking of professional and educational strategies is required beyond a traditional focus on technology with a capacity to deal systematically with heterogeneous problems based on participation, place, and practice. Henceforth, this article hints ways to measure innovation as a combination of technological and non-technological indicators with the new designer as knowledge worker.