In the course of history design has evolved radically, always keeping pace with technology. Just as the design profession responded to the age of industrialization by training designers to create products and messages for mass production and national markets, today we are seeing a new paradigm shift, from mass production to flexible production, and from national markets to global ones.

In an increasingly globalized world, the challenges of design to overcome cultural, social, and political barriers are immense. Similarly it is today an almost immense challenge for the design profession – but also for the design schools which educate the designers of the future – to keep up with the high speed of the technological development. The design concept itself, the design profession and the design educations are for that same reason right now in the process of a very decisive change and redefinition.

The United States – led by schools like IIT Institute of Design; Media Lab and Center for Innovation in Product Development, MIT; Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University; and School of Design, CMU; etc – is recognized around the world as being the cutting-edge of design and design education.

Human-centered design, which is being taught at IIT Institute of Design, is in many ways a response to the present paradigm shift.

“This is a time in design that is as exciting as when the Bauhaus was founded,” says Patrick Whitney, dean of IIT Institute of Design. “As waves of new technology happen again and again and make the world more complex, we need a new way to cope. The need to humanize design has never been greater. “

EAAE News Sheet Editor, Anne Elisabeth Toft visited Patrick Whitney at the Institute of Design, IIT, in Chicago, USA. The interview, takes its starting point in some of the many complex challenges facing design – but also architecture – today.

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