11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade

By Brian Ling January 11, 2010
Click here if you cannot view this slideshow document from designsojourn.

At the end of last year I was planning to write a post that was something like “The Best Products of 2009” or “The 2009 Product of the Year” or even “The Best Products of the Decade”. After asking my twitter friends and designers what they thought, and compiling their feedback and suggestions, I realize this did not make sense, as I was not in a position to actually trial enough products to make an accurate call.

Not only that, I realized that the Internet was littered with such product “Oscar Awards”. Unfazed, I decided to instead focus on something that is closer to the core focus of this site. Design strategy and direction.

At the same time while I was drafting the content of this post, I was contacted by the PR folks from Waggner Edstrom, and asked if I would be interested to take part as 1 of the 5 expert panelist in an event organized by HP + Microsoft called Future Is. They asked me if I would be interested to share what I thought the Future Is from the perspective of an industrial designer.

As with most weird cosmic convergences, I was more than happy to share, last Saturday, my 11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade on this public platform but I only managed to share 1 out of my 11 strategies during the panel discussion. However the sideshow above contains the full 11 strategies and thus you will get to read the entire presentation instead of being there.

Besides only having 5 minutes to present, the reason why the full slide presentation is published here was that HP would like to take this discussion online and engage the world’s budding design futurists. HP would like to hear your thoughts on what the Future Is to you?

Now to encourage you guys to stop lurking and start sharing, I am giving away a HP Mini 5101 for the best comment, which I will select. Comments from regular readers get extra brownie points! (Just Kidding)

HP Mini 5101

If only it was that easy! The other 4 bloggers will also share their thoughts online and only the contributors of the best, most interesting and vibrant discussion will get a chance to win this giveaway! So do start writing, tweeting and passing the word around! But most of all I hope you will enjoy the article and the conversations that follow.

Disclaimer 1: It seems that if the judges pick this as the winning discussion, I get to win a HP Envy 15. So if you win, I win! As I’m in the market for a PC and I have a belly to feed, this will really help me out! (Heh-heh no pressure!)

Disclaimer 2: I intentionally left Green out of the presentation as I consider Green is a basic “hygiene factor” i.e. a must do in the next decade.

. . . . . .

Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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23 Comments on "11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade"

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Russel Nelson
The future of industrial design. I am sure there is a future for this area of design with some folks angleing more towards product design. I have been looking at many of the design projects for years as product. With some product being small and others large like cities. My skills have enabled me to assist many designers and artists making models and drawings. Although I have not been won over to doing a great deal of my work on the computer. I think this skill will continue to feed into the work of Industrial Designers. I we measure the… Read more »

[…] 11 Design Strategies of the Next Decade, design sojourn […]


Really interesting post, very nice reading and I think this will be a material to read and look through a couple of times to question your future approach to design.


Dan Zollman

Exactly. “Wisdom of the Crowds” is a new strategy for getting user or consumer input, but it’s still user/consumer input, so this shares many of the limitations of every other strategy for doing so.

@Dan Zollman: Thanks for the link to Littlebits its a good one and something I will find the time to study a little more. There are lots of problems with Wisdom of the Crowds. One big one, for sure, is the ability of filtering the noise. Therefore the reason why people don’t understand it or get it wrong and fall flat because they don’t harness it right. When you don’t have control, it becomes a free for all information mess. I am a big believer that asking people is the wrong way to get radical or innovator ideas. So to… Read more »
@zippy: Thanks for your comments, as usual it comes from a huge pool of experience, and as such the design community is much better because of it. Also, apologies for the the late reply, as I have been caught up at work. Let me touch on a few of your points. I intentionally included the silicone jewelry more to provoke as well as share the possibilities materials can be pushed to. I tried to leave the equation of beauty out of this, and leave that decision to the designer. I agree with your assessment on materials, but I think what… Read more »
Donald Fogarty
I don’t normally post, but my laptop currently sounds like a helicopter so i have good reason… I’m currently writing a dissertation on how products affect consumers, with the aim of working out whether or not we can design products to encourage consumers to act more responsibly. I was hoping one of your strategies covered this, but, many of the strategies you did mentioned are inter-linked so you’ve helped! As we see rapid advances in manufacturing and design over the next decade, products are set to become more widespread and eventually, more unique to the user….’everyone’ has an iPod, but… Read more »
@Dan Zollman: Hey Dan, thanks for the insightful comment and a link to my post from your blog. Here are some of my thoughts. 1) Software, widgets, developer APIs etc. are definitely far ahead of products when it comes to the modularity game. It is just the flexible nature of the medium that allows software to go modular so quickly. But as a product’s experience is both tangible and intangible, it will be a matter of time before tangible products will catch up. Finally, with smartphones and the like, we are approaching a seamless integration between the web itself and… Read more »

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