As we look ahead, world events continue to challenge us on a daily basis in ways that cannot help but impact our profession. A continuing war, a fragile environment, economic uncertainty. How will we respond to these challenges and the many others that affect our daily lives? I would like to believe that we as design professionals, and as a group with the association supporting us, will be ready for the challenges that impact our practice. Knowledge, value and community are the cornerstones of IIDA's strategic plan for the next five years and are the foundation of the value we seek to provide for our members. These goals will inform three key strategies for the coming year as we look out at an ever-changing environment.
The first goal is educational development. We must expand our knowledge base. The IIDA has begun to make available through its Web site the latest in research pertinent to our profession. In September with the launch of IIDA's Knowledge Center, we will also provide a curriculum to structure the professional development of designers in any career track. We need to continue to build this resource into the finest body of knowledge for our profession. By sharing this information with fellow designers, we raise the professional standard for the entire community. We as an association must look to invest in the future of design education and continue to support the great work of FIDER and NCIDQ, while challenging them to continue to raise the standards for interior design education.
A second objective is accepting our international responsibility. IIDA is significantly different from other design associations in that, by its very title, it embraces the international design community. We live and work in a global environment. Many of us are working in different parts of the world, and this will only continue to expand. The IIDA has a responsibility to lead the profession into better ways of working with our fellow designers in other countries. Our current international chapters in Mexico, Japan and Portugal are just the beginning. We must reach out to other countries and embrace the international design community by providing a connection to shared information and knowledge.
A third and crucial goal will be taking a hard look at IIDA's membership and diversity. Our association has a membership of approximately 10,000 design professionals — leaders and innovators in the field of design, the peer group with whom you want to be aligned. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. The association must grow in order to carry on the very worthwhile programs and initiatives that we have begun. Having lived and worked in New York City for the past 23 years, I can appreciate the value of ethnic diversity. Diversity, though, is not always apparent in the interior design field, nor in the leadership of the key associations. We must make a concerted effort to attract designers of diverse backgrounds if we want to remain relevant within the increasingly global communities within which we work.
In the coming year, IIDA will re-focus our educational efforts, bring renewed commitment to our international responsibility, and increase our efforts in membership and ethnic diversity. What will our profession be like next year, in five years and 10 years from now? How will we meet the challenges ahead? The answers to these questions can be found by working together and building the future of our profession. Come along, embrace the challenges, and help build IIDA into an indispensable organization for the future of the profession.
IIDA president John Lijewski, FIIDA is a principal at Perkins & Will, New York. IIDA is headquartered in space 13-122 at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, and can be reached at (888) 799-IIDA; www.iida.org.