The conventional concept of Design (held by many designers as well as the general public) is a limited/stunted one – that of a profession of “making pretty”; and not much more beyond the more purely expression-focused fine arts; a sort of mass-producible art if you will. (Not that there is anything wrong with Art per se; I’m merely making a distinction here.)
This limited perception of Design means a limited ability to access truly out-of-the-box thinking, and a loss of the value Design could bring to management decision-making, problem solving, conflict resolution, and strategic insights. How often do we see design professionals participating in these visionary/directive roles (outside of the design and marketing industries)?
Design is an established industry. There’s a common, generally shared understanding about what it is – and changing this won't come easy. And as with any established industry, there is also an entrenched temptation to maintain the status quo, further adding to the inertia against evolution/revolution.
Design Thinking, a structured process for creative problem solving, is not limited to the Design profession. Similar processes are used – consciously or otherwise – in many other professions to solve problems and generate options. In counselling for example. The Design industry is in a unique position to step up and claim this as a strength, and be consciously a part of developing and teaching it to the world.
Design training is also an important part of developing valuable deep generalists – arguably critical contributors to how we live, work and play in this rapidly changing world. People who can think creatively and methodically. People who know consciously when to switch from divergent to convergent thinking – to generate possibilities and to make practical decisions.