The AdA members are:
Australian Craft and Design Centres Network (ACDC).
Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA)
Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)
Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)
Australian International Design Awards, Standards Australia
Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT)
Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS)
Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia (TFIA)
Design Institute of Australia (DIA)
National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)
Planning Institute of Australia ‘ Urban Design Chapter
Previous significant professional initiatives
It was noted in the key note address that while there have been significant professional initiatives in Australia which emphasise the contribution, harmony , efficiency and improved productivity made by crafts and design people; including:
- The previous Design Board of the Australia Council,
- The Industrial Design Council,
- The Australian Academy of Design,
- The Standards Australia Design Awards Program and the
- Design Institute of Australia
- Design Council of Australia;
This was the first time that bodies associated with process, leaders in arts and crafts and design teaching and practice had come together for the first time.
Relevant international examples
A number of international examples were cited as being of interest and relevance:
- The Japanese G-Mark system, created in 1957, as a trusted highly recognised symbol of well-designed quality products,
- The USA Presidential decree in 1975 that design was to be a vital part of government and,
- The British Design Council’s role since the 1950s to promote design for the public good.
Bryce also noted that in Sweden and Finland, sensible aesthetic design solutions had come form a history of craftsmanship and use of Indigenous materials.
Focus of new national design agenda
The representative group in the Utzon Room in September decided on a broad national design agenda based on:
- A national design policy
- Economic growth and productivity in business models and public sector services
- Integration of design education in the school curriculum and tertiary education
Jo-Ann Kellock, AdA director and CEO of the Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia said:
“Australia’s design professionals are internationally renowned for their creative skills, project management and teamwork. These are crucial capabilities for a more productive Australian economy.”
Mr Bryce said:
“Good design in all of its fields creates economic and competitive outcomes. Poor design or design by default leaves too much to chance. If Australia is to be counted in the progressive nations of the world competing on a world stage, it is no longer good enough to be only an agricultural and minerals based economy.”
AdA strategy that will actively engage
It was mooted that an AdA strategy that will actively engage with the general public, business, industry, innovation, education sectors and the federal government will need to have a practical focus in addressing:
- Urban sprawl and traffic
- Sustainable buildings
- Climate change
- Internationally competitive goods
- City council and local government urban planning
- Competitive tourism, defence, manufacturing, business and communications
Table talk policy goals
The table talk at the launch focused on addressing how to ensure that design thinking is at the forefront of Australian life. The policy goals that emerged were to:
- Improve capacity for Australian design to contribute to policy.
- Ensure access for the public to Australian design products and stories.
- Achieve integration of design thinking as part of learning.
Communication objectives discussed
The communication objectives voiced by the tables of representatives were:
- Design is a commercial imperative and a driver of sustainability.
- Design process is essential for developing technology.
- Design history is a history of Australian identity
- Design thinking informs all planning decisions.
- Design process informs change processes from the outset.
- Design thinking is a critical part of learning.
- Design thinking is the solution for ‘wicked’ problems.
- Design provides a competitive advantage.
- Design delivers sustainability.
- Design is seen to solve real problems for people’s benefit.
- Creative design spaces lead to creative solutions.
- Design is seen as integral to Australian identity.
Priority resolutions and discussions
Representatives presented their resolutions for priorities in achieving an AdA vision. In analysing the resolutions it became clear that many of the proposed resolutions were overlapping with a high degree of consensus. Through a process of voting, ten resolutions were summarised into three resolutions, noted at the outset of the article. The strongest vote was for a national design policy
State design policies
There are currently two states in Australia with a design policy ‘ Victoria and Queensland. Although their priorities may differ, both governments have established working partnerships to better promote the role of design. The Queensland Design Strategy utilises both a cultural and industry policy approach.
A design research paper by CHASS noted plans by the Dean of the UTS Business School Ray Green to incorporate design thinking into the MBA course as a concrete way of helping business innovate. However support was required for the investment and long term commitment to solve complex problems and uncertainties which the states, creative industries and researchers have already begun work.
Design as competitive advantage at Macquarie Bank
The question of how design thinking makes a significant impact on the economic viability of a company was addressed by the Division Director of Macquarie Bank. Anthony Henry stated that as a consequence of their Shelley Street Project, which started as an interior design project, their approach to their thinking about their work place changed their thinking about creativity and performance. This led to a radical shift and rethink of the workplace paradigm.
As a consequence of the shift in the paradigm a loge of different types of designs professions were required to rethink the workplace from graphic designers to product designers to furniture designers to interior designers’. Its helped to reduce costs and improve our footprint form a carbon point of view. We have helped to create a new type of workplace that improves speed to market through a more agile work force. We are also finding that the building is useful in attracting and retaining staff.
Design culture and history
A plea about design culture by Design Historian Michael Bogle noted three essential elements to enrich Australian design culture and manage our national design legacies:
- Formal training for teachers in the history of design and crafts
- Australian published resources for teaching and learning, especially books and websites, not more journals
- Readily accessible images of works by Australian designers
Innovation was seen as the driver of economic growth and not the accumulation of capital by Gerry Mussett, noting the incremental shifts in technological advancement over the past 30 years which have been mostly design led. Design is at the forefront of innovation. Mussett’s experience was that no matter at what point design is introduced to the innovative process ‘its presence inevitably leads to an expanded, more developed and successful outcomes than would otherwise have been the case.’ Mussett defined design management as management by design, “a process whereby a corporate entity absorbs the key elements of the design process into the fabric of the company and where innovation and creative thought is not confined to the design centre but is inculcated throughout theh organisation”.
Public engagement through Object Gallery
Steve Pozel, Director of Object Gallery, Sydney, spoke about the transformative impact of design and the need to engage the audience at a deeper level to foster creative and critical thought. Pozel gave three examples:
- Setting up the Audio Design Museum as a new activity in three cities: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
- A second project ‘Cusp’, intended to feature 15 designers and the impact they will have on the decade ahead.
- An educational program, ‘Design Emergency’ which focuses on creative problem solving and goes directly into schools, developed by Object Gallery in response to the rapid rate of change accelerating exponentially.
Design and the Media
The very idea of an Australian Design Alliance creates a need for a media strategy for the emerging organisation that allows the Alliance to speak to the broader community and decision makers in government and business. Cameron Bruhn, of Architecture Media, believes that the Australian community is looking for good design outcomes, demanding design thinking and leadership that will create beautiful, sustainable places for the future.
The Australian Design Alliance Launch Event Report is published at the Design Institute of Australia.
Kathryn Wells, Craft and design as the future – Australian Design Alliance report launch, Craft Australia, December 2010,