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President's Comments

Recently I have been thinking a great deal about the concepts of being effective and being efficient. It's one thing to be efficient at what we do, and quite another to be effective. I think that at times I am efficient at performing some tasks that don't really have a high priority, and as a result, I may not be as effective in more important areas. At other times, I find that a very effective project is also completed in the most efficient way. So where is the balance?

I mention this after just completing our Minneapolis conference, "Design Management in the Digital Environment," and after being close to the enhancement and growth of our Web site over the last few months. I have certainly been fortunate to become familiar with many of the new developments in this digital environment, and at the same time, occasionally confounded as well. The speed of this technology sometimes amazes me, particularly in accessing, sending, storing, and processing all forms of information. However, in the broadest sense, at times I wonder if it is really efficient or effective.

I have been with the Institute for 11 years, and this spring through our Web site and all the good work of John Tobin, DMI's Publications Manager, I finally could move around in an environment which represented the totality of the Institute in one place. Over the years I have had this notion of the interrelationships of all the activities of the DMI, but we have never really had a kind of map on which to travel around and to see the relationships. Our Web site provides this. I was amazed at how everything really does relate, and equally impressed at how the site reveals this with such speed.

The last time I was on our Web site, I delighted in typing in some keywords -- package, design, strategy -- and quickly seeing 19 publications listed. I thought to myself: Now this is efficient and effective! It is certainly faster than a card catalog search, and much more convenient. It is also impressive that our members in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Milan, and Oslo can do the same thing, and at the same time. After my elation I still wondered: What does this really mean in terms of the resources of the Institute, and more importantly, for the efficiency and effectiveness of our whole network?

Certainly, our Web site is an important tool, something of which we are proud, and which has produced 20% of the registrations for our recent conferences; but only when this medium reaches completely across the design management community will we be able to say it is truly efficient and effective. Help us broaden our reach by visiting our Web site, giving us feedback, and most importantly, encouraging all of your colleagues to visit.

The annual conference this year will have a new format. The emphasis will be on dialogue and development. To achieve this, there will be more discussion sessions and projects than ever before. Also, more resource materials for further study will be made available. Members will receive their early registration forms about the time they receive this newsletter. The conference is open to all; however, if you are not a member be sure to register early since members typically fill most of the available space.

Earl N. Powell

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This document was last updated July 10, 1996.

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All material Copyright © 1996 by the Design Management Institute. All rights reserved.

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