Interview with Dr. Tony Golsby-Smith

Davin Greenwell, April 10, 2020 at 1:04 PM
Tony is the founder and CEO of Second Road Pty Ltd. Consulting for more than 20 years, he combines the arts of language, design and creative thinking to help transform corporate cultures through strategic innovation. Tony elaborates on the value of design with this series of questions.

DW: What are you looking forward to most about Design Currency 2010?

TGS: Well firstly i love Vancouver and have some good friends there so that is uppermost in my mind. As for the conference, I am looking forward to talking to eager young designer who want to stretch their wings beyond the traditional cosmetic applications of design. Many designers feel they are marginalised in the halls of commerce and engaged too late in thinking processes. They feel their thinking is not valued by the mainstream of corporations. I am looking forward to stretching their horizons and giving them some hope as well as challenges.

DW: What does the conference theme “Design Currency” mean to you?

TGS: Primarily it refers to relevance. Is Design going to get a seat at the main table or be condemned to the edges of education , enterprise and social significance. Is design just about cosmetics and packaging practised by flakey lightweights or does it have something more to offer? In other words, what is our vision for design and what strategy will we take as an industry to play more of the main game.

DW: If design was currency, who would have the most? Who would have the least?

TGS: Frankly I don’t like this question because it quantifies design like a commodity that someone possesses. Design is about the opposite. It should liberate and give. Design is the gift of grace and ability to human beings. So with that demurral I will add one more direct answer to this question. Professional designers don’t own design thinking. Design thinking is a broader human capability than a professional one. In order for design to become as influential as it suspects it deserves to be, it will need to accept this widening of its boundaries.

DW: What criteria do you use to evaluate design?

TGS: A good design stretches a system or service along three, possibly four co-ordinates. Firstly ethos – ie good designs say something significant and emanate from beliefs and vision. Secondly logos meaning that good designs are elegant and aesthetic but even more – they emanate from deep theory about the structure and shape of ideas. Thirdly pathos – they recover humanism in all things and speak for the people and their experience. The Greeks summarised these as the good, beautiful and true. That works for me.


Dr. Tony Golsby-Smith will be speaking at Design Currency 2010. Learn more about him on the Dr. Tony Golsby-Smith speaker page.

Posted In:Interviews