The new MBA is an MFA
August 30, 2001
Love or hate Fast Company, in this interview with @issue, the magazine's founder Alan Webber offers his thoughts about how design is a key element for businesses today.

"We have  a long-standing slogan at Fast Company: The new MBA is an MFA. At the heart of the New Economy is the challenge of design. It's not a narrow definition of design. It's not just organizing type on a page or arranging an  office  interior. It's the design of a business model. It's the way you design the relationship with your collaborators, your network, your customers, your employees. Those are design issues."

Are these beyond the skills of a "designer"? Sure. But it's a design mentality that others can learn from designers.

Webber also talks about how Fast Company's design—which was a radical departure from traditional business magazines—helped communicate content, which also took a different approach.

"The design, look, feel, touch, typography, printing quality, all of those attributes help to communicate  the magazine's values, mission and purpose, and we wanted them to be right from the start."

More importantly, the design shown in a prototype for potential investors helped the magazine get its start-up funding.

"Investors knew we had a clear idea of where we wanted to  go with the look and feel. It's important that design gets "cooked" into the product at the start, whether you're talking about software, office space, or a web design. It's not an afterthought."

While Webber doesn't mention user-focused design explicitly, it suffuses his idea of design:

"A great designer is someone who understands human beings and what they really want, need and will use."

Couldn't say it better myself. ::

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