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NYCxDESIGN Creative Directors Challenge the Siloed Approach to Design


In a recent interview, the creative directors of NYCxDESIGN, Wendy Goodman and Kevin Greenberg, highlighted the urgent need to break down the traditional silos that have long separated different design disciplines. They emphasized the importance of fostering a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to design that transcends industry boundaries.

A Call for Integrated Thinking

Goodman and Greenberg argued that siloed thinking has hindered innovation and prevented designers from fully leveraging their expertise. They explained that by breaking down these barriers and encouraging designers to work together, we can create more holistic and impactful solutions to complex design challenges.

The Benefits of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Interdisciplinary collaboration allows designers to draw upon diverse perspectives, experiences, and knowledge. By combining different skill sets and approaches, design teams can generate more innovative ideas, explore different solutions, and create designs that are more responsive to real-world needs.

Breaking Down the Silos

Goodman and Greenberg outlined several strategies for breaking down silos in the design world. These include:

  • Encouraging cross-disciplinary dialogue: Organizing workshops, conferences, and other events that bring together designers from different fields.
  • Establishing collaborative design teams: Creating interdisciplinary teams that work together on specific design projects, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Promoting education and training: Incorporating interdisciplinary approaches into design education and professional development programs.

Examples of Collaborative Design

Greenberg provided several examples of successful collaborative design projects that demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary thinking. These include:

  • The High Line Park in New York City: A public park built on an elevated railway, which involved collaboration between architects, landscape architects, and urban planners.
  • The Boston Design Center: A public space that combines art, architecture, and design, and was developed through a collaboration between designers, artists, and city officials.
  • The UN Human Rights Office in Geneva: A sustainable and resilient building designed through a collaborative process involving architects, engineers, and environmental consultants.

The Importance of Diversity

Goodman and Greenberg also emphasized the importance of diversity within design teams. They argued that a diverse workforce brings a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge to the design process, leading to more innovative and inclusive solutions.

A Call to Action

The creative directors of NYCxDESIGN concluded by issuing a call to action for the design community to embrace interdisciplinary collaboration and break down the silos that have long hindered innovation. They emphasized the transformative potential of a more holistic and integrated approach to design and urged designers to work together to create a more sustainable, equitable, and beautiful world.

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