How to Solve the Complex Challenges of Our Time

I missed this report last month while I was on the road, but the Fora Concept Design [PDF 17.9MB] study out of Denmark is worth taking a look at as long as you’re not completely burnt out on neologisms. “Concept design” is essentially an umbrella term that they’ve invented to describe elements from service design, business design, strategic design and transformation design, with an emphasis on the transformation aspect.

I wasn’t familiar with the term, but apparently San Francisco is a hotbed for concept design studios. I even used to work for one. They designate IDEO, Smart Design, Frog, Adaptive Path, Cheskin and Jump Associates along with over two dozen other firms from around the world as “concept design” exemplars. From my experience it seems like Cheskin and Jump are a reasonable fit, but I get the feeling that Adaptive Path would bristle at the suggestion that they only design concepts.

Of course, Fora’s argument is more complex than that, and I’m not familiar with many of the international firms so it wouldn’t do to dismiss the idea out of hand. Take a look and see for yourself. Regardless of the verdict, the report is interesting for its glimpse across so many high-profile design studios. Is anyone not using post-it notes and whiteboards?

Here’s some background on the methodology [PDF 992K].

[via Leland]

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