design | September 16, 2013

Next Big Thing: Why John Maeda Says Design Is More Important Than Tech

"Technology used to be the differentiating factor," John Maeda says in a segment on Bloomberg TV's Next Big Thing. "Now we don't care anymore because design matters more than technology." Maeda, popular design speaker and President of the Rhode Island School of Design, says that what we value in our devices has changed. It used to be that the "fastest" was always the winner; we'd decide what computer to buy, for example, based on its processing speed. Today, however, the playing field has levelled and consumers don't automatically equate "faster" with "better." Since all companies are capable of using the same technology, they need to stand out in another way.

Design has become that differentiating factor, he explains. This extends far deeper than just the physical shape, size, and color of the product itself, as well. Application programming interfaces (sets of programming instructions and standards for accessing a Web-based software application or Web tool) on your phone is one example. Programmers design these APIs to help the software on your phone work together more effectively. Since all phones use APIs, it's not about how fast they work, but rather, which one the user "likes better." People want products that are more "human" Maeda says in the interview; they want products that fit better with their life and are seamless to use. It's the designer's job to deliver that to them.

Whether he's speaking about the way art and design are becoming integral to the future of innovation or how we can incorporate creative leaders into industry, Maeda's keynotes are forward-thinking with a wealth of key takeaways. He inspires audiences to look at creativity differently—and to imagine the possibilities new ways of thinking can hold. To book John Maeda as a speaker on design, creativity, education, or leadership, contact The Lavin Agency.

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science | September 15, 2013