Design And Innovation Are Sizzling--Companies Are Hiring Like Crazy.

I'm in Austin, TX at the last day of the IDSA annual conference and one thing is very clear--companies are hiring a hoard of designers and there is a shortage of the very best. After talking to recruiters and corporate types, I can safely say that 2006 was a tipping point for design. Companies are committing to building up their own in-house design departments and bringing design in-house as a core competence.

Companies are hiring at all levels--beginning, middle and very senior strategy levels. Three new vice-presidents of design have been announced in thed past three months, at IBM, HP and another big company.

Companies are moving design upstream--using design to shape the corporate strategic vision and brand vision. Many CEOs are demanding that design have a straight connection to their office.

This is very important. After pushing on the door of the business community for years, the doors are being flung open and business is embracing design. Now design has to deliver. At the IDSA conference, this is the big topic. Can D-Schools deliver the skilled students now in demand. And just what skills are now needed by companies?

Tonight I don my tux and help give out awards to the gold winners of 2006. Very exciting.

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