In this Information Age, we “trade” in knowledge. Interior designers are hired for what they know, and by extension, what they know how to do. Insights are gained over time through
experience and continuing education, be it online,
attending conferences, networking at trade association
events, or reading industry publications such as
Impacting the entire process, research is the
foundation that helps us gain the information we need
to be successful in our businesses–and, ultimately,
improve the built environment that our clients occupy.
As a professional association, ASID is among the
organizations that recognizes that, for the profession
to advance, it needs to push the limits of what is
known about interior environments and their impact
on the human experience, and disseminate that
knowledge to practitioners, educators, and students.
It’s critical that we continually study who we are,
what our needs are, and how we can learn and
grow. One example is the Interior Design Billings
Index (IDBI), the ASID monthly survey designed to
provide a unique perspective on current and future
business conditions for the interior design industry
nationally and regionally. The study has proven to
be a leading economic indicator. If the IDBI is up
one month, we reliably expect housing construction
to be up by the same amount three months later.
In addition to IDBI updates, the annual Interior
Design Outlook and State of the Industry report
serves as another authoritative status indicator that
we’ve come to rely upon. In last year’s report, ASID
examined the trends affecting interior design–from
the macro, like the push for health and wellness,
sustainability, and resiliency, to technology, urbanization,
and globalization, to 30 different subtrends.
For this year’s Industry Outlook report, which
was released at NeoCon in June, ASID researchers
examined the factors that affect the built environment
from the designer and project perspectives. In other
words, when a designer begins their process, what
are they considering? From global issues such as
the economy and security to culture and values, the
business of design, and the unavoidable crunch on
time, the research explores what shapes the people
and processes that create the world we live in.
There’s also a Changemaker Challenge section
in this year’s report that pushes interior designers to
take a proactive approach to shaping the world in
the way it should or could be, rather than reacting
to the factors around us. New this year, the 2016-17
Interior Design Outlook and State of the Industry
report is free for members.
Beyond the release of the initial report, ASID is
producing a series of subsequent “sector briefs”
I’m incredibly proud of this work–in particular the efforts funded by the
ASID Foundation that seek to identify and fill gaps in understanding about
the impact of design. Over the past five years, the foundation has provided
$622,000 in research grants through the Transform program. Subjects have
included the return on investment of workplace design, ways interior design
can improve health and wellness, and how informed design can improve
learning environments and outcomes.
Research not only informs what we as designers, manufacturers, and
educators do, it inspires us toward new innovations. But the power of identifying
and curating such valuable information does not lie only within the minds of
researchers. It also lies within us, as professionals.
I challenge us all to become thought leaders. Participate in research studies
when you have the opportunity. Conduct your own investigations. Access the
latest information on trends in our industry. And, most importantly, put that
knowledge to work as we impact the human experience.
Sandy Gordon, FASID, LEED AP, is the Chair of the Board of Directors for
the American Society of Interior Designers and Principal of SGI Interiors in
Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about ASID and the just released Industry
Outlook report at ASID.org.
By Sandy Gordon
THE POWER OF
Research is the foundation upon which successful businesses
and healthy environments are built.
what we as