The Event

In many respects, design is a provocation of the mind that makes us see the world afresh. Our speaker series, “Smashing Sacred Cows,” seeks to challenge our assumed truths about design and its conventions. The first MAD talk in this series, Technology as Material, looked at technology as a material rather than a tool. This upcoming talk hopes to inspire a critical dialogue about the importance of design.

In its most recent issue, the Harvard Business Review opened an article with this sentence: “There’s a shift underway in large organizations, one that puts design much closer to the center of the enterprise.” For many designers, this is exactly where we think it should be. But as design has moved to the center, responsibility for it has also diffused. The distinction between business strategy and design of the user or customer experience is vanishing. Increasingly, design-centric companies don’t look to designers to deliver design. They expect the whole organization to deliver it. It seems design has become too important to leave to designers. This raises questions: Should design remain in the hands of designers? Or should it be distributed among a collection of agents? How should organizations not overstretch design? How can designers still play a leadership role inside organizations that distribute the responsibility of design? Our speaker, Daniel Stillman, will dive into these questions and share his years of experience working as a designer inside agencies and as a design consultant who helps companies integrated design thinking into their organization.


Daniel Stillman is a design facilitator, designer, and Pratt faculty member. His company, The Design Gym, teaches design thinking methods to people, teams, and companies to help them transform how they work. Prior to The Design Gym, Daniel founded Gothamsmith — a maker of 3D printed metal accessories which have been featured in the Museum of Modern Art and at SXSW. He also worked as a design strategist at Ecco Design and a senior interaction designer at Kaleidoscope, Fjord, and Infusion.