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Ken Erickson

The best innovation always comes with high-level support. This support need not co-opt the democratic, creative, or sustainable spirit of the effort. While some might suggest that government has no business here, it is wise to remember that we, not 'they' are the holders of the government purse and responsible for its agenda. Today was the day when we set a new president in his office. It is up to us to help him steer the direction of innovation, to support it with our brains and our energy and to encourage at least as much effort and expense there as is spent on the military.

Lets not get bogged down by sitting on the side-lines. Lets engage with government as a part of it, help set the agenda, help steer the course. And there is plenty of innovation to be done outside that orbit. But without the strong gravity of government, we will not leverage our energy in a way that will make a big difference.

I've worked in Government. I've worked for the auto industry. And I don't even think we have to orchestrate this in nationalist key. Doing good design is good for the planet, and if it helps the US through the grieving process for the demise of its mis-managed industrial base, then I'm happy, and so will be my colleagues in Chile and China.

Note on Proposal 2: simple bilingual literacy Spanish/English, in government and other communications helps. Tools for multilingual communication are better, still

Access is a critical design need for aging populations and for all of us who will, at some time, experience symptoms similar to those felt by older humans. How often are elderly people (or me, without glasses) able to read the instructions on a medical device, even if they can read English?

This was a very good choice for item 2, indeed.

Marcel Harmon

With regards to Proposal #3: Target 2030 for Carbon Neutral Buildings, I wanted to point out that any policy, legislation, incentives, or other related programs geared to promote sustainable/LEED design/construction should include requirements for evaluation/verification, something that is sorely lacking in the industry as a whole. There are many studies showing that facilities (including green or LEED facilities) often underperform from what was predicted during design (whether that be new construction or retrofits). Whether you call it retrocommissioning, post occupancy evaluations, or built environment ethnographies, there should be regulations, code requirements, etc., in play that require such verification 1 to 2 years after the work is done to verify performance and make the necessary revisions to insure that the energy savings are being met, and the facility, residence, etc., is maximizing the quality of the human experience within the built environment. And such evaluations/verifications, to be completely effective, must include an assessment of the reciprocal relationships between the built environment and its occupants, requiring that anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and potentially other specialists be brought in.

In addition to the verification that energy reduction goals are being met, such requirements for evaluation/verification help establish another level job creation in the building/construction industry (i.e., behavioral related built environment specialists, commissioning agents, etc.). And the payback for such evaluations (from improving facility energy performance as well as occupant productivity/health factors) is usually relatively quick.

Joseph Schwartz

As I stipulated in my endorsement of this policy, this has been a long time coming and considering the state of our economy, could not come at a better time.

The one area that this proposal does not make mention of is that of education. This policy addresses current and near-term concerns (even with its 2030 carbon-neutral goal), but it does not make recommendations for the current and future generations of design students in K-12 schools and college who will be the people who fulfill this policy's promise.

The results of successful fulfillment of this policy may not be felt for many years to come - who will do the work if we don't provide for inspiring interest and training of our children, who will carry on this work after we're gone?

I hope that this policy is adopted quickly and that the interests of educators and students is taken into consideration when developing implementation plans.

Liya Zheng

I think proposal #1 is the key because that could be the platform for all the other proposals to happen, and more. Having a design council will help fuel innovation to solve social issues. As we see in a lot of the service design work being done in Europe, design thinking applied to public and social problems can be very effective. This idea aligns with Obama's vision for empowering bottom up government.

Scott Theisen

I don't want the Government dictating "good" design. Forced grants are a joke and will not enhance the design community.

We need to promote design ourselves, with our clients, colleagues and communities. If we cannot convince them with our work and words, no Government edict nor Council nor National Design day is going to do the trick. Commissioning government reports gave us nonsense like the proper amount of risk a bank should take, and that fluoride is beneficial both in mouths and rat poisons.

This is a mutual exchange, not a bureaucratic decree. We have value, and must get more creative at showing it, proving it and selling it. Forcing taxpayers to spend resources to justify my creativity to an audience who isn't interested is a joke.

There are people out there who believe in good design. Find them, don't force your story to those who don't care. Fascist regimes had (have?) regulations on what is good design and what is not. We have the answers within ourselves. Washington D.C. does not.

Let's not be the auto industry...begging and lobbying for more privileges at the hands of others. We are creatives. Let's get creative on our own.


Regarding Proposal 11 "Increase appropriations for the National Endowment for the Arts to hold a series of Government Design Assemblies in 2010 and launch a National Design Improvement Program by 2011"

You might want to also look at the National Science Foundation's Science of Design Program. Though a bit different, these kinds of programs could be expanded and could provide a way to gather empirical results that can be used to show the value contributed to society by design (and thus help future fund raising efforts.

John Kaliski

I love this with the exception of proposal 7 which regards the triple bottom line criteria for judging projects for the Presidential Design Awards. Not all design is able to be justified by economic criteria nor social criteria and the environmental criteria of today are not the same as they were yesterday. I do think there should be criteria and even the so-called triple bottom line criteria may make sense this year, but more flexibility in terms of determining the criteria on a year by year basis would be preferred on my part to the moralistic tone implicit in this recommendation. Design is more then addressing the economic, social and environmental aspects of life. Design also is about delight, experimentation for the sake of experimentation, and exploration which pushes envelopes that transcend ready performance dimensions. Is it possible still to adjust this recommendation? I would propose, "Revive the Presidential Design Awards, hold them every year, and celebrate the power of design to contribute to American cultural, social, economic and environmental development.

Ann Wright Pitts

I support this initiative to help strengthen and support the great strides in government and corporate design already made. Good examples are revision of the 1040 form, National Park Service, success of Target, Apple, and Starbucks, and websites too numerous to mention. What I don't want to present to the world is design represented by the American auto industry. I think we have an opportunity to capture the sense of American ingenuity and resourcefulness, a legacy recognized internationally, and nurture and institutionalize it with official design and sustainability policies. When the world comes out of this global recession, they could ensure that the US economy and design industry emerge on top.

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