Profession vs. Skills

There are so many design definition discussions going on right now and to be honest all the time. Let’s open up the focus a bit more. How about the definition of engineering, science, creative industry and all this stuff these days? Which kind of value do the old profession names have in times where designers or design consultancies are doing a great job in taking over a lot of the tasks and responsibilities in turn key projects for new product developments, tasks which I normally would clearly define as responsibilities of engineers in the old days? And if an engineer (german engineer I suppose) would read the first pages of Tim Brown’s very insightful book “Change by Design“ where he writes about GWR and Mr.Brunel, perhaps the engineer should ask himself where he had lost this great spirit and why did this spirit went over to the designers and so called design thinkers.

But aren’t we wasting time? All these profession skills claiming discussions will lead to nowhere in the future. Today it is a sort of branding and marketing of each profession’s value to argue service costs. But in time of high frequency, global project based cross-company networks are these words for professions as a code to declare a certain set of skills still valid or a help? Ask two people what they think about the unique skills of a designer and an engineer, ask them who is the creative one and you will find large deviation and no clear target group definition. Imagine letting these two people decide whom to put into a team to generate a consistent set of skills to achieve the project goals. One could say “Yes that’s the skill of a good project leader to include the right ones and to be up to date with actual profession meaning.” But still than what are profession labels for? And imagine that this project leader also needs to argue his decision of team selection in front of decision makers.

During a few discussion people already said that they don’t declare themselves this or that, they just call themselves innovator, which is not a great help either. And besides to our degrees, we spend a lot of time to condense our unique skills down into taglines, written on XING and Linked-In to let people know in seconds who we are. But still HR-people are looking for your degree not your skills.

We have a new bunch of meaning of different kind of work out their and we struggle with old words and try to inflate them. DesignThinking for example. Innovation Management perhaps too. What is the core DNA of  a person and what is the core need of a certain position?

So how will an ideal scenario look like in the future lets say in the year 2030? In a world where we will fight hard for a transition into a low carbon society, with perhaps even more multi hyper threaded matrix team or project networks and structures (if we still call them networks, I don’t know).

Perhaps you can help me to sort things out. So what is their around at the moment in the world of developing something?

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  1. Pingback: Future of design « Ralph Schneider's Blog

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