By Louisa Fitzgerald
Without neglecting history or disregarding the lessons learned along the way, design always looks forward. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) embraces this ethos—gaining wisdom from our past as we charge toward
the future of our industry and the association. As the interior design profession
becomes more complex and multidisciplinary, it is our job to welcome
change, adapt, and support our 15,000-plus IIDA members along the way.
In 2016, IIDA expanded its offerings to commercial interior designers,
manufacturers, industry leaders, and students in an effort to fill a need for cutting-edge and worthwhile resources, programming, thought leadership, events,
publications, and more. The association commissioned vital research about
the industry, publishing the second installment in the acclaimed “Designed
Leveraged” series, which makes the case for good workplace design with
data and statistics, as well as the first-ever IIDA Compensation Survey and
the Economic Impact of Interior Design report. The findings of the IIDA
Compensation Survey reveal current wages for interior designers who work
for firms and manufacturers in the U.S., and will be available later this year.
The Economic Impact of Interior Design report, previewed at the 2016 IIDA
Advocacy Symposium, tells a compelling story about the economic and fiscal
impact of the industry at the state and national levels—and is a critical tool for
advocates who are making the case for interior design licensing to legislators.
IIDA efforts in 2016 also included supporting tomorrow’s design leaders.
We saw the growth of our student programming, which included a record
number of participants—more than 1,000 students and design professionals—
in our dynamic Student Mentoring program last March. A series of inaugural
IIDA Student Roundtable discussions, hosted by OFS Brands and held in
Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York, again brought together design
students and practitioners to discuss the preparedness of emerging professionals
to take on the ever-changing challenges of the design industry.
In addition, IIDA also took the lead on vital issues facing interior design. At
Industry Roundtable 19, held last January, designers and manufacturers had an
open discussion about diversity in the design profession. The resulting executive
report, “Design and Diversity: Why Gender, Equity, and Multidisciplinary Thinking
are Essential to Business,” offers a deep dive into the issue with analysis, statistics,
and best practices. Roundtable participants, emboldened by the lively and engaging
conversation, formed the IIDA Diversity Council. Continuing this success, the
inaugural Educators Roundtable, hosted by Milliken, brought together a group
of prominent design educators and practitioners to discuss interior design
education and how to support students to ensure a successful transition into
the profession. Finally, the 2nd annual Advocacy Symposium drew more than
100 attendees and offered sessions, speakers, and panels focused on critical
advocacy skills, including how to build relationships with decision makers, work
with stakeholder groups, and promote grassroots involvement.
These are only a few highlights of the IIDA programming that is laying
the groundwork for what’s next for the association in 2017 and the years
to come. And, as the association moves forward, so does design. Over the
past two decades, IIDA Industry Roundtable conversations have highlighted
relevant topics that have reflected the evolution of our industry. At Industry
Roundtable 20, to be held Jan. 7-8 in Chicago, distinguished design experts
and thought leaders will assess the emerging economic, cultural, social
trends, and research that are shaping the next generation of commercial
interior design. The forthcoming report, available in March, will detail the
timely conversation and offer key insights into how our collective past will not
only allow us to navigate, but also define, the future of our industry and IIDA.
Visit www.iida.org for more information about the Industry Roundtable 20
IIDA predicts next
steps for the group
and the design
industry overall in
2017 … and beyond.