Not that this will come as a revelation for anyone involved in design, but more and more, I’m struck by how easy it is to collaborate with talent from around the world. Increasingly I find myself working with illustrators and designers from across the globe. Technology has made distance so transparent that recently, it wasn’t until I got her invoice, that I realized an illustrator I was partnering with was from Thailand.
This fact has many implications, both beneficial and cautionary, for in-house designers. Most obviously on the plus side, we have access to a larger pool of talent. Surprisingly, I’ve noticed, for whatever reason, that language and cultural barriers have diminished over the past few years. Another benefit of the improvement of collaborative technologies for those of us who have to work with co-workers in other parts of the country or planet is that it is now infinitely easier to collaborate with them on large-scale internal projects. If they’re in different time zones you can even become a 24/7 design shop (which can become a double-edged sword).
The danger of this new design order is for those in-house teams that have not positioned themselves as a strategic resource to their companies. If you’re only bringing the craft of design to the table, you risk being considered an outsourceable commodity. This lends an even greater urgency to the design paradigm shift being advocated in this blog and by most industry organizations that our profession adopt a decidedly more strategic, holistic mindset when partnering with our companies and clients. Creative innovative thinking that relies on cultural context (corporate and societal) and intimacy with a particular business cannot be outsourced. It’s your choice whether you’ll embrace and adopt design thinking as a critical addition to your repertoire of skills and aptitudes or continue to perpetuate the artisan approach to the practice of design. One approach will ensure your relevancy. The other? – Well bye-bye Boston and hello Bangalore.