Seems difficult to imagine that the home of Rhode Island School of Design would come up short in terms of connecting designers to clients and to one another.
But that is exactly what has prompted DesignxRI, another of the groups created by the Rhode Island Foundation’s 2012 Make It Happen Rhode Island initiative, to launch Design Week RI. The idea is to shine a light on the talent that resides and is developed here, as well as identify how design-focused thinking is becoming more and more an important part of any business’ approach.
Through a series of events across 11 days – Sept. 17-27 – DesignxRI hopes to facilitate the connections that lead to new relationships and new business.
Part of the opening weekend of the event is the Business Innovation Factory’s 10th summit. The BIF Summit is a hot ticket by itself. The project brings in speakers to talk about the moments that made a difference in their lives.
That Design Week RI is being kicked off by the BIF Summit is not just fortuitous, it is appropriate. As BIF founder and “chief catalyst,” Saul Kaplan, who formerly led the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, has focused on the role that innovation plays in competitiveness. At the other end of Design Week is the 2014 American Institute of Architects New England Regional Conference, a reminder that our built environment is another design-based advantage of the Ocean State. In fact, any Rhode Island enterprise that is not using design as part of its operations weakens the state’s economic health, just as the many wrongheaded state and municipal regulations do.
It’s been a while in the making, but Design Week RI is another example of what is going right in Rhode Island. •