Recap: DesignMeets… Decades of Design


After a few weeks of planning, everything started up smoothly for DesignMeets Decades of Design — and some extra-nice March weather allowed us to enjoy the warm evening conversation outside on the Hard Rock patio. Around 60 people attended this mid-week event with attendees from a range of industries from software and marketing to communication and other design types.

Tero Hollo started the evening with a longish but engaging revelation of how old memes, ideas and designs periodically resurface and mutate into today’s ideas. We ended his period with a brief discussion and few points about being aware and keeping an eye out for opportunities to recycle nostalgic ideas to entertain and reach your audience.

Fresh from her Master’s work in Sweden, Sabine Mukaze introduced Sustainable Product Service Systems and how we need to think broadly in business to build future companies.  These emerging business models will be key in future start-up strategies and there was some discussion about the need to better understand your role and career within such systems. (download slides)

Thanks for great organization, the opportunity to be part of a group of amazing, talented speakers and for the chance to share with the Ottawa community. The future looks brighter because of events like DesignMeets where sharing brings more inspiration, solutions and opportunities!
– Sabine Mukaze

CanvasPop’s Consumer-as-Creator business model was presented by Suzy Kendrick who contacted several of the actual artist collaborators for their comments on new modes of art, collaboration, scope, market and selling. Suzy’s collaborators described the future of art as online, worldwide and unlimited. (download slides)

Mike Grigoriev’s strong visuals highlighted the need for collective problem solving if we are to attack many growing urban challenges worldwide.  A key point in his presentation was the need for do-gooders and well meaning designers to truly embrace local collaboration and to immerse themselves in local culture to find effective solutions that will have lasting impact. (download slides)

Evening anchor Patty Vargas and official photographer for the event, capped the night recapping her journey that helped create key online photography business models and resources by recognizing and embracing change. Her story of how an Ottawa upstart changed the world of online stock photography by finding their own unique business model shows us how important it is to think differently.

After the presentations wrapped, almost half of us remained to down a few more pints and to conspire on the next event — always an exciting way to end the night! We discussed the new social thinkspace in Ottawa, Hub Ottawa, and opportunities for growing the design community within our small town. Overall a positive and engaging evening with nuggets of insights and plenty of opportunity for further exploration, we’ll work with our key DesignMeets team and our newest patriots to set another session soon.

Here are just a couple answers from the audience in response to the question “Where do you think design is heading in the next decade?”

I see design becoming more recognized as an essential component in how we do things. Businesses are beginning to really see the value design can bring to the table and this will only continue to increase. I also see design diffusing into less specialized fields whereby everyone can contribute to design. The role of the designer may change from an actor to more of a facilitator, guiding collective action through a process of researching, understanding, interpreting and re-interpreting problems and opportunities, and generating, realizing and developing design solutions.

Towards a much more participatory future… As technology is emerging to facilitate collaboration like never before, design will change to reflect that. Design will evolve from a practice of a handful of people cooped up in an office towards a process that involves communities, populations, and goes straight to the source of the challenges it’s trying to address. Exciting times lie ahead!

Thanks to everyone for a good night! Check out more photos of the event on flickr.

Mike McGuire, MC
Pivot Design Group, Host
IABC Ottawa, Host