Today I went to an interesting conference at Lincoln Center. It was related to the design triennial exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt. All of the speakers were very interesting and relevent, it was really too much information to convey in only one post so I will try to discuss the issues that were brought up over the next few days.
There was a theme to the speakers. Every one of them was dedicated to the idea of design for the greater good, in other words, the panelists were all selflessly dedicated to the needs of human kind. Nobody was speaking about their artistic vision, and the term "design," whether industrial, graphic, or interface, was used to describe a process of creative problem solving rather than aesthetics. In fact, there was a distinctive lack of pretension and ego. Solutions were judged by their actual effect, not just on research and styling.
The themes that stood out were the importance of "empathy," a term used to describe not only understanding the emotion of the client or user, but their lifestyle and culture. This was not just a buzzword or a trend, it was a fully implemented philosophy which helps keep the designer from designing irrelevant solutions.
More about this when I can organize my thoughts better...