Design Literacy

I just got back from two days at the Management of Change Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. There were a number of speakers there but the standout was Daniel Pink , a well-known business author whose recent book is A Whole New Mind.

The theme of the book is the rise of right-brain thinking in the U.S. economy. He argues that routine tasks that follow defined steps (left-brain thinking) will only continue to be automated and outsourced (he used the example of websites that can do a no-contest divorce for 1/10the price). However, work that utilizes right-brain thinking will grow in the U.S. as there will be a need to in skills to synthesize information, be creative, and utilize great design.

Personally, I’ve been trying to imrpove my design literacy at work and in my experience with GovLoop. Good design can be subtle and takes time and money. But I am trying to move away from the government-filled world of bad powerpoint presentations, confusing PR materials, and unclear websites. Daniel Pink suggest keeping a design notebook where you keep track of great design you see in daily life. One of my current inspiration is the fine work at Presentation Zen.

What is your experience with design in the government sector? How important do you think it is?

P.S. Any ideas on improving the GovLoop design?

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Sarah Ressler Wright

We’ve been talking about this very book in the education sector too. Clearly I need to read the book, but I have always tried to focus my students on their abilities to write and think both analytically and creatively (it’s easy to promote in English classes), because I do believe that we Americans are unique in that we allow and teach unique thinking at school more than many countries.

Molly Moran

Thanks, Steve, I’ll definitely take a look at this book. I would love to see the USG sponsor an Edward Tufte workshop for all information designers. Sigh…