Iceland’s Design Innovators

This weekend saw the conclusion of Iceland’s annual design event DesignMarch. The four day festival was a celebration of the creative and resourceful individuals who have helped Icelandic design grow from its craft-based roots and into a thoroughly modern, fundamental industry. Much like the nation, Iceland’s design tradition is very young – its term for design, hönnun, only came about in the 1950s. The lack of tradition has proved to be an advantage, however, ensuring freedom, innovation and creativity. This residential building set into the captivating Icelandic landscape was designed by Studio Granda Architects.

One of Iceland’s most famous talents is Björk, whose newest release Biophilia is the world’s “first app album” created in collaboration with Apple. Accompanying each song on the album is an interactive iPad apps made by a leading programmers and designers.

25 Years of Wert&Co.

It’s been twenty-five years and Wert&Co. has held true to our original mission (and our early ads in the beloved, now folded, ID magazine), working “where converging disciplines find their place“ and “where design is integral to business success.” 

In 1995, Google was still three years away from being founded, social media meant classmates.com (although the term had not been coined), and design as a discipline was fairly rooted in its’ classical forms. Wert&Co.’s office had a room for portfolios, a hallway’s worth of paper resumes and interview notes on 4×6 notecards held together by rubber bands and paper clips.

Design’s journey to the C-suite had begun and, although we didn’t know it at the time, the pivotal moments and boom and bust cycles of that era, led to the wider understanding that design leadership should play a central role in business strategy — not just providing useful products and services, but creating experiences that people love. 

Today, the story of the true value and impact of Design and Innovation in business is still being written. 

Our clients and candidates are thinking about the ways people address smart roads and smart cars, the future of consumer experiences within hospitality and travel, the changing landscape of luxury and retail in a new consumer era, governments and elections, modernizing education, the future of media, structural equality in society, privacy and security, and transforming health care for the aged. They are doing this while experimenting with distributed global workforces, automation, and new communication systems at scale.

All in all, it has been quite a journey, and we’re looking forward to the future as Design continues to play an essential role with tangible impact on people’s lives, shaping countries and cultures, with a common purpose to deliver a better world, not only for today but for future generations.

 

High Resolution Interview

Judy was delighted to be featured on the High Resolution video podcast series. Focused on Design Leadership, High Resolution is the passionate endeavor of Bobby Ghoshal and Jared Erondu, showcasing some highly inspired dialogues.

Our conversation ranged from Wert&Co.’s history recruiting creative leadership over the last two decades to some of our behind the scenes insights and tools, and even our favorite children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon and how it can serve as a metaphor for mapping one’s own professional (and personal) journey.

 

SF MOMA

On our recent business trip to the left coast (after a pit stop for the fascinating Renaissance Weekend in Utah), we were finally able to visit the renovated SF MOMA. And while we don’t exit thru the gift shop, well, actually we did. And the bookstore left us with plenty of summer reading inspiration — from A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design (the classic had a new edition out last year — over 1,000 visual examples of humour, irony and playfulness in graphic design and branding over the last few decades) to the Little Book of Hygge (which just might make us look forward to the winter or at least a visit to Copenhagen!).

 

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1995 memory: Wert&Co.’s office had a room for portfolios, a hallway’s worth of paper resumes and interview notes on… https://t.co/dH42IeyMpt

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