“Good design is better than a good idea”

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Credo for a design school, the example of l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique

Innovation and social responsibility for designers

Over 10 years ago L’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique set up a program to radically transform the traditional curricula of design and applied arts. The aim was to move the focus of the profession towards more global and strategic reflections on the future of companies and society as a whole, as innovation became the key element of development strategies. It was also about breaking with the myth of the solitary designer creating alone. Too many ideas and projects have been aborted, or left in boxes, because of a nihilistic desire to
protect them rather than share them.

Design is a profession that involves sharing techniques and ideas, and combining various disciplines. It is this “transversal management” aspect that needs to be reflected.

Finally, it was a question of taking into account societal evolutions towards more responsibility and ethics on the part of consumers/citizens. While science has no conscience, design, which reflects on uses, is essentially a vector of responsibility and

With this in mind, four Design Labs have been set up, led by research professors who supervise our Masters programs.

. Digital Design Lab or what relationship between man and machine in the age of digital technology and Artificial Intelligence
. Food Design Lab or how to feed ourselves better and feed 10 billion people on the planet
. City Design Lab or how to live together and “make society”
. Care Design Lab or what new relationships should be maintained with our health, well-being, aging, safety, etc.

The Media Design Lab or how to manage information, information overload, data management and usage, cybersecurity, trust and privacy was recently created in 2020.

“Good design is better than a good idea”: from creation to entrepreneurship

DesignLabs are intended to be structured as “research-training-enterprise” ecosystems to provide society (or societies) with new responsibilities in terms of development, wealth generation, progress and ethics. They must become incubators of entrepreneurship. Design schools must empower students to be entrepreneurs of their own ideas and not to accept from the outset and as a matter of course that it is up to others to develop them. Too many end-of-studies projects have come to nothing due to a lack of ambition fueled by a discourse of protecting the creator’s intellectual property, which only stifles an entrepreneurial spirit and removes the designer’s responsibility to act. “Design thinking” is an absurdity if it is not accompanied by “design doing”.

An idea is only worthwhile if it has been tried and tested, if it is confronted with uses and markets, otherwise it is just an idea. “Philosophers only interpret the world, what is important is to transform it” and design must be the driving force behind this transformation. “Good
design is better than a good idea”.

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