Right-brainers rule the future

The idea for this article came from a book that has been sitting forgotten on my credenza for about two years. I mostly listen to audio books and I happened to download this particular book to my smartphone this week, “A Whole New Mind — Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. Pink. As I was listening to the book, it brought to mind a bit of a past column, “Spread Love for Good Design” (June, page 6).

The left hemisphere of our brain is associated with analyzing details, performing mechanical calculations and the more engineering part of our thinking. The right hemisphere is the synthesizer, seeing the big picture and is the creative part of our intellect. This book emphasizes how much in demand creative thinkers — right-brainers — will be and how design will rule the future.

Pink summarizes it this way: “High-concept and high-touch aptitudes are moving from the periphery of our lives to the center.” Design has permeated every aspect of life, and the psychology of consumer patterns and preferences drives product design.

Pink expounds about good design as king across industries in a global way. He quotes Robert Lutz, the former executive at General Motors, as he describes his approach to drive the company: … “more right brain … as being in the art business. Art, entertainment and mobile sculpture, which coincidentally also happens to provide transportation.”

Conversely, Pink provides an example of bad design and its profound consequences: The butterfly ballot from the 2000 presidential election confused thousands of voters due to its poor design, and ultimately changed the course of United States history.

Pink says the demand for high design is exceptionally strong. With the changes the global markets have experienced due to automation, recent influences from Asia and the incredible abundance of products created and consumed, good design becomes the differentiating criteria for consumers’ product choices.

Buyers recognize good design brings added value and associate good design with quality performance. Products that are well designed and also perform well will be in greatest demand. Whether you are an architect, builder or design/build entity, it’s all about good design that performs well.

Not all architects are created equal, and those with a higher level of creativity are going to take leading roles in firms and projects. Through my professional experience, I have struggled to find new design talent with creative juices that meets the growing demand and work volume. Many of my industry colleagues concur that finding candidates for these mature designer positions is one of the toughest challenges an architect’s office faces.

It’s important to cultivate and value good designers. If you are an architectural firm and lucky enough to have team members that are qualified at this level, appreciate what you have. It’s this kind of talent that propels your firm to higher ground. If you are a building entity, make sure to associate yourself with design firms that possess the highest level of creativity to best ensure your future endeavors. If you are a design/build firm, allow your design talent to take the lead. Otherwise, design-focused companies will eat your lunch.

I highly recommend reading this book for its entertaining anecdotes and compelling outlook. If you’ve been around the design industry for some time, you will recognize that Pink’s predictions are very well based. If you’re new to the industry, there’s a wealth of good advice that will change your future.

Luis Jauregui, AIA, has been a member of the local and national chapters of the American Institute of Architects for more than 20 years. He is an active leader within the Homebuilders Association of Austin, Texas. Send email to luis@jaureguiarchitect.com. Read past columns at rdbmagazine.com.