Engage in AIGA’s strategic planning process

AIGA is approaching its centennial in 2014. Now is the perfect time to outline where the organization is headed in its second century. We're looking for input from all members on a new strategic framework for the future, in which AIGA has four areas of focus: design; designers; chapters and members; and organizational stability.

The board has already done some of the heavy lifting on a strategic plan. We refined the mission statement earlier this year: “to advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.” And we defined what AIGA does:

AIGA connects practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons through regional, national and global events and by creating and curating content that:

  • Advocates for a greater understanding of the value of designers and design in government, business, media and the public
  • Enhances professional development
  • Defines global standards and ethical practices
  • Inspires designers and the public
  • Establishes criteria for design education that meets the needs of the profession
  • Makes powerful tools and resources available and accessible
  • Celebrates and enhances the value of design
  • Mobilizes a global design movement

AIGA’s goals are to:

  • Communicate, celebrate and demonstrate the value of design to business, government, media and the public (focus on design)
  • Empower members across the arc of their careers (focus on designers)
  • Engage members and empower chapters to create vital communities and supportive networks (focus on members and chapters)
  • Ensure a well managed, financially sound and responsive professional organization (focus on organizational stability)

We have invested in activities to achieve these goals. The organization’s finances are solid. But there is still work to be done.

AIGA is at a pivot point

In the 20th century, AIGA was seen as the arbiter of design excellence. AIGA conducted and published the results of annual competitions, awarded the AIGA Medal and convened gatherings for inspiration and networking (conferences). It developed standards and ethics for the profession and advocated the value of design with business and the public.

AIGA’s historic activities have been valuable and appropriate to the times, where AIGA alone was often the bellwether of great design. Now, however, the competitive environment has changed dramatically, all to the benefit of designers. Social media and the web have provided much easier access to other designers and to self-published collections of inspiring design. The number of design competitions and conferences has grown exponentially.

AIGA has many important roles in stimulating thinking about design and giving designers voice. At the same time, the growth of chapters provide a whole new tier of events, numbering a thousand a year nationwide.

Younger designers seek participation, engagement and ownership in organizations. This preference encourages the use of social networking and the internet as means of deepening the AIGA experience. Online platforms provide greater and more frequent exposure to individuals in terms of their work and their opinions.

AIGA must evolve

Much as the dimensions of design have changed regularly over the years with changes in social culture and visual communication, the institutional culture of AIGA must change to remain relevant, recognizing shifts in expectations:
AIGA Membership Poster 2012

What will it take to transform AIGA for its second century?

Over the past several years AIGA has involved researchers, experts, members and established design firms in evaluating ways in which AIGA can enter its second century even stronger than it leaves its first. Committed to relevance, leadership and opportunity for both itself and its members, AIGA’s current board is developing a five-year strategic plan for implementing the change that has been envisioned. This work will:

  • Prioritize continuing activities and new initiatives
  • Identify desired outcomes and metrics for success
  • Identify resources required (e.g., staffing, facilities, platforms and networks)
  • Examine financial resources under growth and no-growth scenarios

A draft framework for AIGA’s strategy

The slide show at the top of this page outlines a process for developing and refining AIGA’s strategic plan for 2014-2020. The board has organized the organization’s goals, objectives and activities in a draft framework focusing on the four purposes of its activities, below. This framework offers the opportunity to discuss the relative intent and priority of activities at a higher level. The normal budget process, which will be guided by this discussion, results in developing detailed plans for each activity including proposed outcomes, resources requirements and metrics of performance.

DRAFT of AIGA Strategic Framework August 2013

How you can get involved

We've planned a series of Adobe Connect sessions online over the next two months to begin to share a draft of AIGA's strategic framework (above) and get your input:

Please join AIGA’s executive director, Ric Grefé, and the board for these sessions to discuss, and/or provide comments here.