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With apologies to Garrison Keillor

It’s been a busy week here in Lake Woebegone, my home town. Last Friday I gave a keynote address at High Point University for its conference on design, arts and technology. I was impressed by the campus and the activity I found there. This year’s theme for the conference was “Design Matters.” I came away convinced that High Point University believes it and is acting on its belief. Good for them. I think that may explain why HPU has garnered the recognition it has:

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with more than 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 50 countries and more than 40 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” The university offers 66 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate-degree majors. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at

I’m delighted to finally be introduced to this unassuming gem right here in North Carolina.

The next bit of news came via messages from my business partner Matt Muñoz and my good friend Chris Grams early this morning. It seems Bruce Nussbaum used my response to his blog from late February as the basis for his own new blog.

Bruce Nussbaum is a contributing editor at BusinessWeek and has lead BusinessWeek’s innovation and design coverage for many years. His blog is one of the essential resources for designers and business leaders interested in being relevant in the 21st century. I’m honored to be referenced in his blog.

I was first introduced to Bruce’s work through an interview in Corporate Design Foundation‘s  @Issue magazine [Vol 4; no. 4]. It was beautiful, and just the thing I needed to read at the time. But it was his speech at Parsons a year ago that really moved him into the upper echelon of ‘design thinking’ thinkers for me.

Here’s a tidbit:

Are Designers The Enemy of Design?

In the name of provocation, let me start by saying that DESIGNERS SUCK. I’m sorry. It’s true. DESIGNERS SUCK. There’s a big backlash against design going on today and it’s because designers suck.

So let me tell you why. Designers suck because they are arrogant. The blogs and websites are full of designers shouting how awful it is that now, thanks to Macs, Web 2.0, even YouTube, EVERYONE is a designer. Core 77 recently ran an article on this backlash and so did we on our Innovation & Design site. Designers are saying that Design is everywhere, done by everyone. So Design is debased, eroded, insulted. The subtext, of course, is that Real design can only be done by great star designers.

This is simply not true. Design Democracy is the wave of the future.

Dead on, Bruce. Check out that entire speech.

And that’s the news from Lake Woebegone, where all the customers are strong, all the designers are good-looking, and all the executives are above average.


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