When I first sat down at this table, and even after listening to everyone introduce themselves and their motivations for sitting here as well, I thought the focus would be on design education as it's traditionally taught in school. For instance, how do you teach creativity in a business school context? David began by proposing 5 topics to focus on: climate, context, content, process and output.
Of its own volition, or perhaps in response to Roger Martin's earlier presentation, the conversation in fact morphed into a discussion on communication and how to educate clients, business people, and the general public on the value of design. And how to simply talk with each other to begin with. The issues that arise not just with incongruous language, but with varied experiences and backgrounds as well. We need to teach people how to make connections, how to talk to each other. Visualization is a great tool, and visual-centric and non-visual-centric people can all sit at the same table. Going back to Roger's talk, one of the tools he mentioned for crossing the divide was analogies. I think there's great value in illustrating your points using stories that everyone can understand.
The table also discussed differences in both worlds and the real value you get from multi-disciplinary teams. Melody mentioned how many innovations come not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, from workers in the field who are in the prime position to generate insights. Throwing people with different backgrounds together creates tensions, but also enables powerful opportunities for insights (a more reproducable skill than creativity). Another concern with this sort of 'team creativity' is the difference between shared responsibility and design by committee. Rather than simply voting on features and a sort of 'my idea' vs. 'your idea', isn't it better to incite powerful brainstorms of 'our ideas' and choosing the best from that pool? A safe, open environment where people aren't afraid to put their ideas out (and potentially make fools of themselves) goes a long way to facilitate communication.