The 5 C’s: Design skills for the near future

Since the first introduction of CAD and 3d modeling systems, code is behind most products. With generative design, the code becomes the design itself. Big data about user behaviour in combination with machine learning and adaptive production methods (Industry 4.0) will make highly personalized and adaptive design solutions the new normal. To master code, designers have to be able to write it.

With the Internet of Things, the division between interaction design and industrial design is about to disappear. A designer will have to know how to code, prototype, and build intelligent products with embedded applications. Start with Raspberry Pi, Arduino or Nanode.

Globalisation, the different speeds of civilizations and the increasing complexity of technology create a reality in which technological, social and environmental issues are getting increasingly intertwined. There are no simple solutions to complex problems. The ability to navigate complexity will be a key skill for the designer of the future.

In a globalized world, cultures can adapt, mix, or clash, and differences can be hard to handle. Deep-seated assumptions rooted in a designer’s own culture can lead to products which do not work in other cultures – psychologically or in terms of use. Openness, the ability to emphatize, and an understanding different cultures and users will be as important as understanding a wide range of technologies.

In a world of limited resources and climate change, in-depth knowledge of recycling technologies, biodegradable materials, and the ability to design for a circular economy – by considering disassembly and recycling already during the design process – will become a needed precondition. Designers will need to be able not only to conceive new products, but to plan the way these products are made, unmade, and recycled. What comes around goes around.

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