Past, Present, Future

Without neglecting history or disregarding the lessons learned along the way, design always looks forward. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) embraces this ethos—gaining wisdom from our past as we charge toward the future of our industry and the association. As the interior design profession becomes more complex and multidisciplinary, it is our job to welcome change, adapt, and support our 15,000-plus IIDA members along the way.

In 2016, IIDA expanded its offerings to commercial interior designers, manufacturers, industry leaders, and students in an effort to fill a need for cutting-edge and worthwhile resources, programming, thought leadership, events, publications, and more. The association commissioned vital research about the industry, publishing the second installment in the acclaimed “Designed Leveraged” series, which makes the case for good workplace design with data and statistics, as well as the first-ever IIDA Compensation Survey and the Economic Impact of Interior Design report.

The findings of the IIDA Compensation Survey reveal current wages for interior designers who work for firms and manufacturers in the U.S., and will be available later this year. The Economic Impact of Interior Design report, previewed at the 2016 IIDA Advocacy Symposium, tells a compelling story about the economic and fiscal impact of the industry at the state and national levels—and is a critical tool for advocates who are making the case for interior design licensing to legislators.

IIDA efforts in 2016 also included supporting tomorrow’s design leaders. We saw the growth of our student programming, which included a record number of participants—more than 1,000 students and design professionals—in our dynamic Student Mentoring program last March. A series of inaugural IIDA Student Roundtable discussions, hosted by OFS Brands and held in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York, again brought together design students and practitioners to discuss the preparedness of emerging professionals to take on the ever-changing challenges of the design industry. 

In addition, IIDA also took the lead on vital issues facing interior design. At Industry Roundtable 19, held last January, designers and manufacturers had an open discussion about diversity in the design profession. The resulting executive report, “Design and Diversity: Why Gender, Equity, and Multidisciplinary Thinking are Essential to Business,” offers a deep dive into the issue with analysis, statistics, and best practices. Roundtable participants, emboldened by the lively and engaging conversation, formed the IIDA Diversity Council. Continuing this success, the inaugural Educators Roundtable, hosted by Milliken, brought together a group of prominent design educators and practitioners to discuss interior design education and how to support students to ensure a successful transition into the profession. Finally, the 2nd annual Advocacy Symposium drew more than 100 attendees and offered sessions, speakers, and panels focused on critical advocacy skills, including how to build relationships with decision makers, work with stakeholder groups, and promote grassroots involvement.

These are only a few highlights of the IIDA programming that is laying the groundwork for what’s next for the association in 2017 and the years to come. And, as the association moves forward, so does design. Over the past two decades, IIDA Industry Roundtable conversations have highlighted relevant topics that have reflected the evolution of our industry. At Industry Roundtable 20, to be held Jan. 7-8 in Chicago, distinguished design experts and thought leaders will assess the emerging economic, cultural, social trends, and research that are shaping the next generation of commercial interior design. The forthcoming report, available in March, will detail the timely conversation and offer key insights into how our collective past will not only allow us to navigate, but also define, the future of our industry and IIDA.

This post was originally published in Interiors & Sources.

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