As technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our daily activities, Maeda stresses the important link that design can create between humans and the devices we create to make our lives better. “Technology [has been] succeeding each year in making everything cheaper, faster, and smaller,” Maeda says, “but [it is] failing to create any emotional connection or to bring any meaning to our lives.” Design however, is capable of bridging the gap between man and machine—making our user experience not just more efficient, but also more enjoyable. That is what he set out to do with his work at the Rhode Island School of Design and in his personal projects (some of which are featured in the MoMA's permanent collection). “My intent was to show that the computer could be more than a cold, clinical object; it could do things that delighted us,” he says. He says that staying competitive and improving on these technologies requires us to design them in such a way that they will provide a meaningful contribution to our lives.
Despite the fact that design is all around us, Maeda explains that we often become immune to how important it is in every aspect of our lives. A well-designed product, or an appropriately chosen font, can dramatically change the way we interact with that object. By including arts in the curriculum—both in school and in business—Maeda says we will drive innovation forward and be able to succeed in an increasingly creative world.