The book exists because IIDA supports the belief that design is what happens on the receiving end. As designers, we learn lessons each day that change our approach, and this book offers months’ worth of lessons, all in less than 100 pages. What Clients Want is not only about real and strategic initiatives, but also the unintentional, unplanned results—the serendipity that occurs between designers and a client. And in the end, I think that’s the result we’re all seeking. It’s not a how-to book. It’s a cerebral dive into the minds and concerns of men and women who are passionate about business and design, and believe they must integrate to be successful.
As Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, IIDA executive vice president and CEO stated during the Annual Meeting, “Design is common sense, exquisitely applied by an expert.” Doesn’t that make you wonder how there can be mediocre design in the world? This same sentence can be applied to professional membership associations.
As we continue to identify exactly what our clients want, as well as what our members want, we’ll be drawing on our experience to date. I often remind myself that the first I of IIDA, International, has become a stronger focus for us and a point of differentiation. The world values American design, for all the reasons concluded from What Clients Want, and there is more cross-cultural design than ever before. We have members making a difference in the global arena, and have been pursued by international trade shows to support their education,
roundtable and competition needs with our content expertise. From the Middle East to Milan to Germany to Paris, we’re visible to organizations outside the United States and making a difference.
This year, we created more initiatives to draw attention to the unsung heroes of the industry and the association. Amie Keener, IIDA of the TXOK Chapter was heralded as the first IIDA Member of the Year, and her history of volunteerism sets a high bar for future recipients. Similarly, Milliken helped us present the inaugural recipient of the Educator of the Year Award, SCAD Atlanta’s own Liset Robinson, IIDA, who has made a difference in so many students’ and emerging professionals’ lives.
We also celebrated the new talent entering the industry in the near future with a day-long Student Design Charette at NeoCon, resulting in teams comprised of students from different areas of the country and different schools coming together to create a solution and work as a team to present. Sort of like the real world, right?
No wonder I feel like I’ve hit the ground running—I have! And I’ll keep up the pace as long as we can work together to move the profession forward, because I know so many in the industry are keeping the same pace. But if your summer plans include a beach weekend, take along a copy of What Clients Want. It will reinvigorate you to do more.
IIDA International President Jim Williamson, IIDA, LEED AP is a practicing interior designer and principal at Gensler in its Washington, D.C. office. You can reach IIDA at (312) 467-1950 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.